Miller, Arthur Asher

▪ 2006
 American playwright (b. Oct. 17, 1915, New York, N.Y.—d. Feb. 10, 2005, Roxbury, Conn.), combined social awareness with a searching concern for his characters' inner lives. He was widely recognized as one of the most important playwrights of the mid-20th century, and Willy Loman, the tragic figure at the centre of Miller's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, Death of a Salesman (1949; filmed 1951), gained iconic status far beyond the English-language theatre as a symbol of a common man destroyed by the failure of the American dream and the false values at the heart of the society in which he lives. The dilemma of ordinary men struggling with moral values was central to several of Miller's other works, including his first major play, All My Sons (1947; filmed 1948), and A View from the Bridge (1955; revised 1956), The Price (1968), The Ride down Mount Morgan (1992), and the darkly comic Resurrection Blues (2002). The Crucible (1953; filmed 1996), based on the 1692 Salem witch trials, was widely interpreted as a parable criticizing the investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In 1956 Miller was called before HUAC, but he refused to testify. He was blacklisted and convicted of contempt of Congress, a conviction that was overturned on appeal. Miller's highly publicized five-year marriage (1956–61) to motion picture star Marilyn Monroe figured in two of his plays, After the Fall (1964) and Finishing the Picture (2004), the latter a thinly disguised look at the filming of Monroe's last completed movie, The Misfits (1961), for which Miller wrote the original screenplay. I Don't Need You Any More, a collection of Miller's short stories, appeared in 1967, followed by collections of essays in 1977 and 2000. His autobiography, Timebends, was published in 1987.

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Universalium. 2010.

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