Death of a playwright: Arthur Miller 1915-2005

Xan Brooks in The Guardian:

MillerredArthur Miller, a giant of American drama for nearly 60 years, is dead. According to reports, the 89-year-old playwright passed away at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. He had been suffering from cancer, pneumonia and a heart condition.

The son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, Miller’s comfortable middle-class New York childhood was shattered when his father lost his fortune during the Great Depression. The experience would later form the basis of his breakthrough play, 1949’s Death of a Salesman, a savage assault on the American dream. “He had the wrong dreams,” Biff says of his father, the hapless, desperate Willy Loman. “All, all wrong.”

More here.

And the New York Times has this by Marilyn Berger (and a bunch of other stuff):

…his reputation rests on a handful of his best-known plays, the dramas of guilt and betrayal and redemption that continue to be revived frequently at theaters all over the world. These dramas of social conscience were drawn from life and informed by the Great Depression, the event that he believed had had a more profound impact on the nation than any other in American history, except possibly the Civil War.

“In play after play,” the drama critic Mel Gussow wrote in The New York Times, “he holds man responsible for his and for his neighbor’s actions.”

More here.

And Harold Pinter had this to say at BBC News:

He had a wonderful kind of velocity about him. He was as tough as a rock, really. He looked like a bit of a rock too. That was one of the other things that made him remarkable – his actual physical presence was quite formidable.

This certainly embodied itself when we both went to Turkey together for this memorable trip in which we were nearly arrested and there was a military decree out for our arrest in Istanbul.

We just managed to get away by the skin of our teeth. They didn’t like us at all over there because we were very independent and he was a landmark, he was a leader, and I was extremely attached to him.

I’m pretty convinced he was writing until the day of his death. He was born with the pen in his hand.

More here.