Creator / Eugene O'Neill

Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953), was in his lifetime, and probably still is, America's most famous playwright.

Appropriately enough O'Neill was born on Broadway, the child of Irish immigrants, his father an actor. He went to boarding school and then to Princeton, but he dropped out of college after a year, one story holding that he was kicked out for throwing a bottle in Professor Woodrow Wilson's window. O'Neill then worked as a merchant sailor, where the alcoholism and depression that made his plays so cheerful first developed.

His life got even more cheerful when he contracted tuberculosis, which led to him leaving the merchant sailor life and starting a literary career. His first published play, Beyond the Horizon, won the Pulitzer Prize and immediately made him famous in the theater world. He won the Pulitzer Prize four times in his career, including posthumously for Long Day's Journey Into Night, a play that O'Neill insisted not be staged until after his death due to its highly autobiographical story. He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

O'Neill's personal life was just as depressing as his plays. His brother drank himself to death. His second wife became a drug addict. His oldest son was an alcoholic who killed himself in 1950. His younger son was a heroin addict who killed himself in 1977. And he disowned his only daughter, Oona O'Neill, after 18-year-old Oona married 54-year-old Charlie Chaplin in 1943.

His great-grandaughter is Oona Chaplin. O'Neill is a character in the 1981 film Reds, where he's portrayed by Jack Nicholson.


Eugene O'Neill plays on the wiki:


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