Study Guide

Arthur Miller Marilyn Monroe & McCarthyism

Marilyn Monroe & McCarthyism

In 1956, Miller divorced the mother of his two children, Mary Slattery, and married Marilyn Monroe. 

As crummy as that is, how many people can say that their spouse left them for Marilyn Monroe? That's a dinner party story if we've ever heard one. 

The marriage thrust Miller into the public eye. Monroe was one of the most famous actresses in America and her love life was tabloid fodder. Shortly after their marriage, Miller was called before HUAC, an event that could've ruined both his and Monroe's careers.

Members of the entertainment industry had behaved in strikingly different ways when called to testify before the committee. Some refused to answer questions and were blacklisted. Others, like Walt Disney, complied and named others they suspected of Communist leanings. 

Rumor has it he threw Goofy under the bus.

Miller was adamantly opposed to the hearings and appalled by those who cooperated. In 1952, his Marilyn-dumping friend (and former Communist) Elia Kazan named eight other artists to the committee. The two did not speak for a decade, and their friendship never fully recovered.

For any interested parties, you can actually watch the Miller-Kazan feud play out on the big screen. Before their break over HUAC, the two planned to collaborate on a film whose working title was The Hook. Kazan would direct, Miller would write the screenplay, and together they would produce a film that exposed corruption among the organized labor on Brooklyn's docks. 

We bet another one of Miller's ex-wives would drink to that.