Famous Biographies: Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller may have been wrongfully imprisoned for being a communist, written some incredibly famous plays, and had a writing career that spanned nearly seventy years, but seriously, we can't get over the fact that this guy had a secret affair with Marilyn Monroe. Granted, he really only kept it secret for all of about five minutes, but even so.

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Transcript

00:24

Jewish immigrants from Poland Millers were quite wealthy until the stock [Millers stood in cue of people]

00:29

market crash of 1929 Arthur's father had invested everything in the market and

00:34

talk about a bad move after the crash the whole family was forced to move to

00:37

Brooklyn Miller worked for two years to save money for college and eventually

00:42

enrolled at the university of michigan in 1934 it was there that he began his [Arthur appears at University building]

00:47

writing career and in 1940 he began his marital career he married his college

00:53

sweetheart mary Slattery but married life didn't soften RT he was an

00:58

unabashedly leftist no he never joined the Communist Party and if history has

01:03

taught us anything it's that it wasn't a great idea to lean too far left during [Dalton Trumbo looking at Hollywood sign]

01:07

this time period especially if you worked in film or entertainment while

01:11

Miller's politics would soon come to the spotlight but not until he got his big [Arthur giving speech on stage]

01:15

break in 1947 Miller's play all my sons became a huge hit

01:21

winning the Tony and changing Miller's life but the best was yet to come

01:26

Miller followed it up with death of a salesman the story of one mr. Willy

01:31

Loman the play was a disillusioned look the flip side of the American Dream and

01:36

won the Tony the Pulitzer and the Drama Critics Circle Award and sort of the [Arthur receiving trophies on stage]

01:41

Triple Crown of place i'm not saying it was all because of his main character

01:45

but well you know how can you not like this base

01:48

well around this time Miller began having an affair with Marilyn Monroe yep [Arthur with Marilyn Monroe]

01:52

the Maryland majandra just a little suggestion when choosing a mistress to

01:57

keep on the dl maybe pick an orthodontist assistant or anybody other

02:01

than the most famous woman in America well in 1953 Miller put out a

02:06

little play called the crucible the play was set during the Salem witch trials [Crucible play appears]

02:10

but it was pretty obvious what Miller was really getting at the house

02:14

committee on un-american Activities led by Senator Joseph McCarthy was going on

02:20

a similar witch hunt against Americans with suspected communist sympathies

02:25

remember when I said Arthur Miller was left distal yeah that in his obvious

02:29

allegory didn't exactly do him any favors withhold joe mccarthy Miller was

02:34

called to testify for McCarthy and provide names of other communist [Miller testifying in court]

02:37

sympathizers but he refused and was held in contempt of congress until the

02:42

conviction was overturned the following year so slightly better outcome for him [Arthur appears in jail]

02:47

than his crucial characters well at same time Miller's personal life was also

02:51

heating up he divorced Mary Slattery and married [Arthur with Mary]

02:54

Marilyn Monroe in 1956 unroasted by Miller during his dealings with

02:59

government but well they ended up divorcing in 1961 yes Miller wasn't a [Marilyn visiting Arthur in jail cell]

03:03

girl's best friend well in 1964 Miller wrote after the fall

03:07

which started character with a slightly suspicious resemblance to Marilyn Monroe [Marilyn wearing a fake mustache]

03:11

critics slammed him accusing him of exploiting her recent death but Miller

03:16

insisted the resemblance was coincidental [Arthur sitting at a desk]

03:18

well his crew died down after the fifties but he continued to write and

03:22

remarried once more this time to photographer Inga Morath Arthur Miller

03:26

prolific in writing and in weddings although Miller's plays never achieve [Arthur marrying Inge]

03:31

the same level of success is his earlier work he never stopped writing releasing

03:35

a play just a few months before his death on february 10th 2005 well in his

03:41

later years Miller bemoaned the increasingly commercial aspects of

03:44

modern theatre like there's too much money in theater really he felt that big [Arthur standing in a theater]

03:49

budget feel good plays were pushing out social commentary at a time when it was

03:54

still very much needed but I doubt we'll be seeing plays like the crucial again

03:59

for quite some time and on a completely unrelated note I'm off to go watch mamma [Man stood on Broadway]

04:04

mia on Broadway what? if you can't beat them join

04:09

them