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Saturday, February 12, 2005

le morte d'arthur

Old French -by the way- just like old english (up to a certain extent) basically sucked... Death being a feminine word in French (Mort - la Mort... feminine like all four "horsemen" of the apocalypse are in most latin-rooted languages... Mayhaps they should be dubbed the "four horsewomen" after all... hmm?) it should have never been preceded by "le" but by "la"... and never required an extra "e" either... But I digress... big time... *LOL*

The Arthur in question here is not King Arthur at all (sometimes referred to as Artus... old stuff, again...) but the King of playwrights whose Guinevere was, all too briefly, Marilyn herself...

Not sure what his take on her mysterious death was - a Kennedys cover-up... or not?

Mayhaps he knew the truth about it (unlike dumbass DiMaggio... lol) but chose to keep mum about it - which in turn explains his longevity...

However, we all gotta go sooner or later, and it was his turn now - Arthur Miller.

Had to make mention of it, since I did of another scribe's demise recently, and he was not a King's namesake... merely mine! (lol)

Fair is fair - and we are all equal before the grim reaper, after all...

"Death of a salesman" was bound to be a prophetic title at some point, eventually...

U.S. playwright Arthur Miller dies
Last Updated Fri, 11 Feb 2005 17:19:11 EST
CBC Arts
ROXBURY, CONN. - American playwright Arthur Miller, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Death of a Salesman, has died at age 89.

Miller was at home in Connecticut when he died of congestive heart failure Thursday evening, his assistant Julia Bolus said Friday.

In addition to a heart condition, Miller was battling cancer and pneumonia, the playwright's sister, actress Joan Copeland, told the New York Post this week. She said he had been receiving medical care at her New York apartment but asked to return to his own home.

In an interview from New York, playwright Neil Simon called Miller's Salesman "a magnificent play that will be around as long as Shakespeare's plays."

"He not only was a great playwright but he went time and time again to meet writers in all countries in the world: in Russia, Belgium, Germany, England," Simon told CBC News Friday. "He spread not only his own words but his own thoughts and shared with writers in other countries so that we can have a bond with each other."

According to theatre producer David Richenthal, as recent as this week, he and Miller were working on the upcoming London revival of Salesman, which will go on as planned. Actor Brian Dennehy, who starred in a New York revival of the play in 1999, will reprise his role in the London production. However, not having Miller there will put "a pall over it," he told the Associated Press.

"We wished he would be there with us, although the last few months we knew it probably wouldn't happen," Dennehy said. "It's a kind of shattering awareness that he's not going to be there, but his work will be there, thank God."

Inspired by real life

Born in New York on Oct. 17, 1915, Miller was considered the country's greatest living playwright. He was strongly influenced by his father, a clothing manufacturer and shopkeeper who was hard hit by the Depression. Miller's works often centred on the themes of family, responsibility and morality.

After working in a warehouse to pay for tuition, Miller studied at the University of Michigan, where he and Tennessee Williams won awards for playwriting. After graduation, he moved to New York, worked as a radio scriptwriter and married his first wife, Mary Slattery.

He had relatively early success as a playwright during the 1940s. In 1949, the 33-year-old Miller won the Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award for best play and a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Death of a Salesman.

Directed by Elia Kazan, the play – which had taken Miller only six weeks to write – opened on Broadway in February 1949. The story of Willy Loman, a lowly salesman destroyed by his dogmatic belief in the American Dream, resonated strongly with audiences both at home and abroad. It was first adapted for film in 1951.

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

In addition to Salesman, his plays include The Crucible, All My Sons, A View From the Bridge, Incident at Vichy, After the Fall and Broken Glass. Adaptations of his plays for TV and film included 1961's The Misfits, which starred his second wife Marilyn Monroe.

After divorcing his college sweetheart Slattery, the gruff Miller married the sex symbol Monroe in a civil wedding ceremony in White Plains, NY, on June 29, 1956, a move that catapulted the playwright to even more fame – publicity he said he never wanted.

Monroe was "highly self-destructive," Miller told a French newspaper in 1992, adding that during their five-year marriage, "all my energy and attention were devoted to trying to help her solve her problems. Unfortunately, I didn't have much success."

Miller married his third wife, photographer Inge Morath in 1962, the same year Monroe committed suicide. Morath died in 2002.

Peaks and valleys over six decades in theatre

Though a mainstay of the American theatre scene for the past six decades, Miller fell out of favour in the 1960s through to the early 1980s. He published his autobiography, Timebends: A Life, in 1987.

At a speaking engagment in the mid-1990s, Miller described the poor atmosphere facing playwrights in the U.S.

"Time was, you had some crazy people who really believed that it was important to put a certain play on the stage and would mortgage their mother's house to finance this thing and were desperate to express themselves that way. Some of them were really disreputable people but they had this itch. Well, I don't see those people anymore," he said.

However, Miller became popular once again after several revivals of his work had acclaimed runs, including the 1999 production of Salesman starring Dennehy. It won two Tony Awards, best revival and best actor for Dennehy, and Miller was presented with a lifetime achievement award.

"Just being around to receive it is a pleasure," he joked in his acceptance speech, in which he also expressed hope for writers.

"I hope that a new dimension and fresh resolve will inspire the powers that be to welcome fiercely ambitious playwrights," Miller said. "And that the time will come again when they will find a welcome for their big, world-challenging plays, somewhere west of London and somewhere east of the Hudson River."
Unlike King Arthur, of course, no one will be expecting the return of this Arthur any time soon...

King Arthur's legend was, by the way, largely a rip-off of the King of Kings' attributes - gee... what were those peasants thinking...?!? Only Jesus can return that way... Aren't we forgetting whose Holy Grail it is here, uh? Who It rightfully belongs to - hmm?

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