Obituary: Arthur Miller

Article excerpt

IT COULD have all turned out so differently for Arthur Miller.

Born in 1915 in New York City, his father ran a small coat-manufacturing business which failed during the Depression. Times were hard so in 1932, after graduating from high school, Miller went to work in an auto-parts warehouse.

But he had a dream he refused to give up on and, two years later, he enrolled in the University of Michigan.

Before graduating in 1938, he won two Avery Hopwood awards for play-writing.

Miller's career was marked by early success. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Death of a Salesman in 1949, when he was just 33 years old. The play, which took Miller only six weeks to write, earned rave reviews when it opened on Broadway directed by Eli a Kazan.

The story of Willy Loman, a man destroyed by his own stubborn belief in the glory of American capitalism and the redemptive power of success, was made into a movie and staged all over the world.

``I couldn't have predicted that a work like Death of a Salesman would take on the proportions it has, '' Miller said in 1988.

``Originally it was a literal play about a literal salesman, but it has become a bit of a myth, not only here but in many other parts of the world. …