To read some of the pop media, you’d think that the only significant thing Arthur Miller did (apart from writing a few plays) was to have been the husband of Marilyn Monroe. But he was unhappily married to Marilyn only for five years — and was happily married to a wonderful photographer, Inge Morath, for decades. (She died in 2002.) Here’s her Magnum portrait.
For many commentators, though, Inge was just a footnote. Oddly, I couldn’t find any portrait of Miller that was taken by her, but Google Images did find a few charming pictures of the two of them together — for example this:
The nicest valedictory essay on Miller was a beautiful piece by the Literary Editor of The Times, Erica Wagner. Miller’s America, she writes, was “a place of freedom and a place of orthodoxy. Miller’s life, and his work, seemed to contain it all. His later plays never brought him the acclaim of his earlier work, but that matters only in the present moment, the moment of newspapers and critics. The moment of history, the moment of literature, is longer, and lasts. What is of worth will be remembered, and what Arthur Miller brought not only to America but to all the literate world — both his passion and his polemic — will always be remembered.
In the East London school where my husband teaches, the students who read Death of a Salesman weep as much as I did when I first saw it, and as did that Chinese woman in a rehearsal studio in Beijing. Call the 20th century Miller’s century: a time and a man to trouble us, to inspire us, to call us to question each other and ourselves.”
I had a vague memory of reading a piece (Google found it, naturally) about how Miller and Morath were once invited to dine with Fidel Castro in Cuba. When they arrived, a security guard forced Inge to hand over the Leica that she always carried. She reluctantly complied and then had to watch as the goon casually let it fall onto the stone floor. That’s the kind of story a photographer never forgets!