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February 12, 2005 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-12

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... PAGE 2

ale frtlc it. t ild

One-hundredfourteen years ofedtorial freedom

Saturday, February 12, 2005

www.michigandaily.com Ann Arbor, Michigan 2005 The Michigan Daily



urana sage
Acclaimed alum dies at 89

By Jennifer M. Misthal
Daily Staff Reporter

Arthur Miller, one of the University's most distin-
guished alumni and a leading force in American theater,
died in his Roxbury, Conn., home Thursday night at age
89. The Associated Press reported heart failure as the
cause of his death.
The prolific playwright was born Oct. 17, 1915 to a
prominent Polish-Jewish family in Harlem. He is best
known for writing "All My Sons," "Death of a Sales-
man" - which earned him a Pulitzer Prize- and "The
Before he made his Broadway premiere in 1944, he

developed his writing skills as a University student from
1934 to 1938.
He found the University alluring because of its Hop-
wood Awards, creative-writing prizes given to students
with a cash reward. The awards were established in 1931
in memory of dramatist Avery Hopwood.
"This place seemed, because of the Hopwood Award,
to be taking writing seriously," Miller said during a visit
to Ann Arbor last April.
When financial constraints kept him in Ann Arbor
one spring break, Miller found himself with enough free
time to write a play, he recalled in his 1987 autobiogra-
phy, "Timebends."
See ALUM, Page 3
from 'U' to
By Evan McGarvey
and Adam Rottenberg
Daily Arts Editors-

Miller, who gained national renown for his
twin plays criticizing McCarthy-era America,
"The Crucible" and "Death of a Salesman," died
Thursday. These works exposed the tenuous bonds
between government and private life. His career
spanned six decades, and he reached an unparal-
leled level of fame among American playwrights.
His role in the House of Un-American Activi-
ties Committee hearings brought a new face to
Cold War paranoia. Additionally, Miller became
entrenched in the public consciousness through
his much-publicized and tumultuous marriage to
Marilyn Monroe.
Miller lived a relatively secure childhood in
Harlem, N.Y. However, the Great Depression crip-
pled his father's coat business and forced the fam-
ily to move from Harlem to Brooklyn in 1929.
After dropping out of City College of New York
in 1932, Miller attended the University and began
his writing career. He found success early in Ann
Arbor, winning two Hopwood awards for drama
in 1936. He developed an affinity for the works
of the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen early in
his writing career. Ibsen's shift in focus from the
traditional aristocratic dramatic settings toward
domestic, intimate locations reverberated through
Miller's own work: One of his most successful

Playwright Arthur Miller died Thursday night at the age of 89. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's most
famous fictional creation, Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman," came to symbolize the American Dream gone
awry. (Courtesy of Bentley Historical Library)

Actress Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller
embrace at his Connecticut home on their wedding day,
June 29, 1956. (AP PHOTO)

to reserve
Mil er s
By Karl Stampsl
Daily Staff Reporter
With a single postcard, Arthur Miller
ensured his legacy at, the University would
endure. Penned by Miller in 2000, the post-
card granted his alma mater the rights to name
a theater after him which, when completed,
will be the only theater in the world bearing
Miller's name.
Since 1997, University administrators
wished to commemorate Miller's love for the
stage by constructing a theater in his honor.

'U' students remember
playwright, mourn loss

By Jameel Naqvi
and Melissa Runstrom
Daily Staff Reporters
Arthur Miller's legacy lives on through
his impact on the University community.
His life and work influenced many involved
in theater at his alma mater.
"We mourn the death of Arthur Miller,
one of the nation's most celebrated play-
wrights and a loyal alumnus whose affec-
tion for the University endured for his
lifetime," University President Mary Sue
Coleman said yesterday.
"Arthur Miller expressed his genius in an
exquisite ability to communicate the beau-
ty and the sadness of ordinary people and
everyday life. We are proud that Michigan
played a part in his life and grateful for the
many ways this extraordinary man shared
himself with us."
Miller's death was felt acutely by aca-
demirc who -,tndie~d and tmiaht his work.

a parable set in 17th-century Salem, Mass.
- is not confined to the virulent anti-Com-
munist historical context in which it was
written. Bornstein recounted a visit Miller
made to China, where his audience was
shocked to learn "The Crucible" was not
about life under a Communist dictatorship.
"He transcended time," he said. "He
could create these ... characters that people
could identify with."
The best known of these characters is Willy
Loman, the down-on-his-luck salesman from
Miller's Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
"Willy Loman is one of the great char-
acters of American literature," Bornstein
said. "I think ... 'Death of a Salesman' just
spoke to our society and spoke to the lone-
liness you can have in life."
Bornstein used to teach Miller's most
famous play, but in recent years he has
taught "Incident in Vichy" - Miller's only
play that directly addresses Jewish con-
cerne - a nsDrt nf his course n ioewih-




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