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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February, 2005, 17:28 GMT
American playwright Miller dies
Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller was one of the most influential playwrights of his time
Playwright Arthur Miller, the creator of The Crucible and Death of a Salesman, has died at the age of 89.

Miller died on Thursday evening, having battled with cancer, pneumonia and a heart condition.

He was one of the most significant American writers of the 20th Century, whose fame was further magnified by his short-lived marriage to Marilyn Monroe.

His play The Crucible was inspired by the hysteria of the McCarthy witch hunts which he became embroiled in.

'Rare integrity'

"Mr Miller passed away at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, last night at 9.17pm of heart failure," said Julia Bolus, the playwright's assistant.

He was also a highly dignified and an extraordinarily formidable man, an independent man
Harold Pinter

British playwright Harold Pinter said he was a "wonderful chap" and he was "absolutely flabbergasted" at the news of his death.

"He was a great playwright and a great man - and a great friend of mine," he said. "His plays are among the finest works that have been produced in the 20th Century," Pinter told BBC News 24.

"But he was also a highly dignified and an extraordinarily formidable man, an independent man. He was so honest and a man of rare integrity in his writing."

Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe
Miller and Monroe had a short-lived marriage

New York-born Miller was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Death of a Salesman in 1949 at the age of just 33.

Although already considered one of the foremost literary giants of his era he was catapulted into the pop culture sphere following his marriage to actress Monroe.

The tempestuous marriage lasted just five years.

His contribution to American theatre is unmatched by any of his contemporaries
Brian C, Normal, IL, US

Miller found himself caught up in McCarthy anti-communist witch hunts.

When he testified in front of a congressional committee in 1956 he refused to reveal any names and so was held in contempt. The decision was overturned two years later.

The trials inspired The Crucible, set during the Salem trials of the 1690s which led to suspected witches being killed amid mass hysteria.

Among Miller's other plays were A View from the Bridge and later works were The Ride Down Mount Morgan and The Last Yankee.

The main character in Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, became a symbol of the struggle of the "little man" to realise the American Dream.

The play is still widely performed today, while the TV movie version picked up numerous awards for its star Dustin Hoffman.

Watch clips from Arthur Miller's plays


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