Arthur Miller's Marriage To Marilyn Monroe Was Even Darker Than We Realized

As it turns out, a playwright's life can be far more scandalous than you'd think — just look at Arthur Miller. Before he bagged a Pulitzer Prize, several Tony Awards, and an Academy Award nomination for his plays and scripts, and long before his famed McCarthyism allegory The Crucible became de facto high-school-English-class curricula, he was a regular guy with a dark personal life that got turned completely on its head. And, of course, this dark personal life included Marilyn Monroe. The scariest part was that until 2005, he managed to keep it all quiet...

A sophisticated upbringing

It was no surprise that Miller was able to control the narrative around himself. He'd been born into a wealthy and sophisticated family, with a father who owned a profitable coat-making business and a mom who was an educator. But by the time he was 15, trouble was stirring — for the Millers and the rest of the country.

Working for survival

Like most folks at the time, the stock market crash of 1929 had devastated his parents' wealth. It was the first of many struggles for Miller, and as his family moved out of their Manhattan home into Brooklyn, where the living was cheap, he had to keep his nose to the grindstone. If his family was going to regain their financial standing, they all had to step up — the young Miller included.

He was determined to thrive

Miller worked odd jobs throughout high school, but his long working hours didn't stop him from pursuing his studies. He inherited his mother's love of books, and knew he wanted to incorporate this love into his profession. Luckily, the bad economy hadn't tampered with the then-affordable costs of higher education, so Miller was able to save enough money to go to college. He already knew what he wanted to do.

His surprising mistake

He applied and got into the University of Michigan, where he first chose to study journalism. However, after winning the Avery Hopwood Award for a play he wrote, No Villain, he realized he had a future in playwriting. With that, he made a fateful life decision: He changed his major and joined the League of American Writers... which would prove to be a mistake.