Friday, February 11, 2005

R.I.P. Arthur Miller (1915-2005)

Arthur Miller, Legendary American Playwright, Is Dead at 89

February 11, 2005

Arthur Miller, one of the great American playwrights, whose work exposed the flaws in the fabric of the American dream, died Thursday night at his home in Roxbury, Conn. He was 89. The cause was congestive heart failure, said Julia Bolus, his assistant.

The author of "Death of a Salesman," a landmark of 20th-century drama, Mr. Miller grappled with the weightiest matters of social conscience in his plays. They often reflected or reinterpreted the stormy and very public elements of his own life, including his brief and rocky marriage to Marilyn Monroe and his staunch refusal to cooperate with the red-baiting House Committee on Un-American Activities.

"Death of a Salesman," which opened on Broadway in 1949, established Mr. Miller as a giant of the American theater when he was only 33 years old. It won the triple crown of theatrical artistry that year: the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Tony Award.


This country needs more voices like Miller's--people who are unafraid to probe beneath the shiny veneer of contemporary life and expose the lies and hypocrisy, the half-truths we tell ourselves to get through the day. Who has not looked in the mirror and questioned his own existence? Who has not wondered about his or her place in the world, whether he or she will be remembered or forgotten? "Death of Salesman" reached down into the souls of every American and laid bare our inadequacies, our fears, our desires.

He was a huge talent. He was uniquely American. He will be missed.

"After all the highways, and the trains, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive."
--Willy Loman

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