The theater legend, who wrote Death of a Salesman and was once married to Marilyn Monroe, succumbs at his home in Connecticut

By People Staff
Updated February 11, 2005 11:00 AM

Renowned playwright Arthur Miller has died at the age of 89.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, perhaps most famous for his classic American drama Death of a Salesman, and whose fame was further catapulted by his marriage to Marilyn Monroe, succumbed Thursday night, his assistant, Julia Bolus, told the Associated Press.

Miller, who was battling cancer and pneumonia, reportedly died of congestive heart failure. He had been receiving hospice care in New York but earlier this week, Miller asked to be taken by ambulance to his longtime home in Roxbury, Conn., where he passed away. Prior to his death, family and friends had gathered at the bedside of the ailing theater legend, the New York Post reported.

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. His other works included The Crucible, A View from the Bridge and After the Fall, which was viewed, in part, as a fictionalized account of his tumultuous marriage to Monroe.

Prior to his marriage to the actress in 1956 (they divorced in 1961), Miller was wed for 16 years to Mary Grace Slattery, with whom he had two children, Jane Ellen and Robert. He was then married to Inge Morath for 40 years, until her death in 2002. The couple had one child, Rebecca.

In a 1992 interview with a French newspaper, he called Monroe “highly self-destructive” and said that during their union, “all my energy and attention were devoted to trying to help her solve her problems. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much success.”

Reminiscing about Monroe in his 1987 autobiography, Timebends: A Life, Miller wrote: “To have survived, she would have had to be either more cynical or even further from reality than she was. Instead, she was a poet on a street corner trying to recite to a crowd pulling at her clothes.”

Over his career, Miller received Tony Awards for All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949) and The Crucible (1953). He also received a lifetime achievement Tony in 1999. During his acceptance speech, Miller, who had become disillusioned by the politics of Broadway, said: “I hope that a new dimension and fresh resolve will inspire the powers that be to welcome fiercely ambitious playwrights.”

During the 1970s and ’80s, Miller fell out of favor with the critics. But his popularity soared again in the late ’90s with acclaimed revivals of A View from the Bridge, Death of a Salesman, The Price and The Crucible. All four plays were nominated for Tony Awards, with the first two winning. His latest play, Finishing the Picture, about his experiences with Monroe on the set of their ill-fated movie The Misfits, premiered in Chicago last fall to mixed reviews.

By Miller’s side before his death were his daughter, Rebecca, an actress who is married to actor Daniel Day-Lewis; his grandchildren; and his 34-year-old girlfriend, the painter Agnes Barley.