Eugene O'Neill

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For other uses, see Eugene O'Neill (disambiguation). Eugene O'Neill_sentence_0

Eugene O'Neill_table_infobox_0

Eugene O'NeillEugene O'Neill_header_cell_0_0_0
BornEugene O'Neill_header_cell_0_1_0 Eugene Gladstone O'Neill

(1888-10-16)October 16, 1888 New York City, U.S.Eugene O'Neill_cell_0_1_1

DiedEugene O'Neill_header_cell_0_2_0 November 27, 1953(1953-11-27) (aged 65)

Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.Eugene O'Neill_cell_0_2_1

OccupationEugene O'Neill_header_cell_0_3_0 PlaywrightEugene O'Neill_cell_0_3_1
NationalityEugene O'Neill_header_cell_0_4_0 United StatesEugene O'Neill_cell_0_4_1
Notable awardsEugene O'Neill_header_cell_0_5_0 Nobel Prize in Literature (1936)

Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1920, 1922, 1928, 1957)Eugene O'Neill_cell_0_5_1

SpouseEugene O'Neill_header_cell_0_6_0 Kathleen Jenkins

​ ​(m. 1909; div. 1912)​

Agnes Boulton ​ ​(m. 1918; div. 1929)​

Carlotta Monterey

​ ​(m. 1929)​Eugene O'Neill_cell_0_6_1

ChildrenEugene O'Neill_header_cell_0_7_0 Eugene O'Neill_cell_0_7_1
RelativesEugene O'Neill_header_cell_0_8_0 Eugene O'Neill_cell_0_8_1
SignatureEugene O'Neill_header_cell_0_9_0 Eugene O'Neill_cell_0_9_1

Eugene Gladstone O'Neill (October 16, 1888 – November 27, 1953) was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in literature. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_1

His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into U.S. drama techniques of realism earlier associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwright August Strindberg. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_2

The tragedy Long Day's Journey into Night is often numbered on the short list of the finest U.S. plays in the 20th century, alongside Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_3

O'Neill's plays were among the first to include speeches in American English vernacular and involve characters on the fringes of society. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_4

They struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations, but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_5

Of his very few comedies, only one is well-known (Ah, Wilderness!). Eugene O'Neill_sentence_6

Nearly all of his other plays involve some degree of tragedy and personal pessimism. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_7

Early life Eugene O'Neill_section_0

O'Neill was born in a hotel, the Barrett House, at Broadway and 43rd Street, on what was then Longacre Square (now Times Square). Eugene O'Neill_sentence_8

A commemorative plaque was first dedicated there in 1957. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_9

The site is now occupied by 1500 Broadway, which houses offices, shops and the ABC Studios. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_10

He was the son of Irish immigrant actor James O'Neill and Mary Ellen Quinlan, who was also of Irish descent. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_11

His father suffered from alcoholism; his mother from an addiction to morphine, prescribed to relieve the pains of the difficult birth of her third son, Eugene. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_12

Because his father was often on tour with a theatrical company, accompanied by Eugene's mother, in 1895 O'Neill was sent to St. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_13 Aloysius Academy for Boys, a Catholic boarding school in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_14

In 1900, he became a day student at the De La Salle Institute on 59th Street in (Manhattan). Eugene O'Neill_sentence_15

The O'Neill family reunited for summers at the Monte Cristo Cottage in New London, Connecticut. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_16

He also briefly attended Betts Academy in Stamford. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_17

He attended Princeton University for one year. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_18

Accounts vary as to why he left. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_19

He may have been dropped for attending too few classes, been suspended for "conduct code violations," or "for breaking a window", or according to a more concrete but possibly apocryphal account, because he threw "a beer bottle into the window of Professor Woodrow Wilson", the future president of the United States. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_20

O'Neill spent several years at sea, during which he suffered from depression and alcoholism. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_21

Despite this, he had a deep love for the sea and it became a prominent theme in many of his plays, several of which are set on board ships like those on which he worked. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_22

O'Neill joined the Marine Transport Workers Union of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which was fighting for improved living conditions for the working class using quick 'on the job' direct action. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_23

O'Neill's parents and elder brother Jamie (who drank himself to death at the age of 45) died within three years of one another, not long after he had begun to make his mark in the theater. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_24

Career Eugene O'Neill_section_1

After his experience in 1912–13 at a sanatorium where he was recovering from tuberculosis, he decided to devote himself full-time to writing plays (the events immediately prior to going to the sanatorium are dramatized in his masterpiece, Long Day's Journey into Night). Eugene O'Neill_sentence_25

O'Neill had previously been employed by the New London Telegraph, writing poetry as well as reporting. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_26

In the fall of 1914, he entered Harvard University to attend a course in dramatic technique given by Professor George Baker. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_27

He left after one year. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_28

During the 1910s O'Neill was a regular on the Greenwich Village literary scene, where he also befriended many radicals, most notably Communist Labor Party of America founder John Reed. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_29

O'Neill also had a brief romantic relationship with Reed's wife, writer Louise Bryant. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_30

O'Neill was portrayed by Jack Nicholson in the 1981 film Reds, about the life of John Reed; Louise Bryant was portrayed by Diane Keaton. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_31

His involvement with the Provincetown Players began in mid-1916. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_32

Terry Carlin reported that O'Neill arrived for the summer in Provincetown with "a trunk full of plays. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_33

", but this was an exaggeration. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_34

Susan Glaspell describes a reading of Bound East for Cardiff that took place in the living room of Glaspell and her husband George Cram Cook's home on Commercial Street, adjacent to the wharf (pictured) that was used by the Players for their theater: "So Gene took Bound East for Cardiff out of his trunk, and Freddie Burt read it to us, Gene staying out in the dining-room while reading went on. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_35

He was not left alone in the dining-room when the reading had finished." Eugene O'Neill_sentence_36

The Provincetown Players performed many of O'Neill's early works in their theaters both in Provincetown and on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_37

Some of these early plays, such as The Emperor Jones, began downtown and then moved to Broadway. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_38

In an early one-act play, The Web. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_39

written in 1913, O'Neill first explored the darker themes that he later thrived on. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_40

Here he focused on the brothel world and the lives of prostitutes, which also play a role in some fourteen of his later plays. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_41

In particular, he memorably included the birth of an infant into the world of prostitution. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_42

At the time, such themes constituted a huge innovation, as these sides of life had never before been presented with such success. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_43

O'Neill's first published play, Beyond the Horizon, opened on Broadway in 1920 to great acclaim, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_44

His first major hit was The Emperor Jones, which ran on Broadway in 1920 and obliquely commented on the U.S. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_45 occupation of Haiti that was a topic of debate in that year's presidential election. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_46

His best-known plays include Anna Christie (Pulitzer Prize 1922), Desire Under the Elms (1924), Strange Interlude (Pulitzer Prize 1928), Mourning Becomes Electra (1931), and his only well-known comedy, Ah, Wilderness! Eugene O'Neill_sentence_47 , a wistful re-imagining of his youth as he wished it had been. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_48

In 1936 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature after he had been nominated that year by Henrik Schück, member of the Swedish Academy. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_49

After a ten-year pause, O'Neill's now-renowned play The Iceman Cometh was produced in 1946. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_50

The following year's A Moon for the Misbegotten failed, and it was decades before coming to be considered as among his best works. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_51

He was also part of the modern movement to partially revive the classical heroic mask from ancient Greek theatre and Japanese Noh theatre in some of his plays, such as The Great God Brown and Lazarus Laughed. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_52

Family life Eugene O'Neill_section_2

O'Neill was married to Kathleen Jenkins from October 2, 1909 to 1912, during which time they had one son, Eugene O'Neill, Jr. (1910–1950). Eugene O'Neill_sentence_53

In 1917, O'Neill met Agnes Boulton, a successful writer of commercial fiction, and they married on April 12, 1918. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_54

They lived in a home owned by her parents in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, after their marriage. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_55

The years of their marriage—during which the couple lived in Connecticut and Bermuda and had two children, Shane and Oona—are described vividly in her 1958 memoir Part of a Long Story. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_56

They divorced in 1929, after O'Neill abandoned Boulton and the children for the actress Carlotta Monterey (born San Francisco, California, December 28, 1888; died Westwood, New Jersey, November 18, 1970). Eugene O'Neill_sentence_57

O'Neill and Carlotta married less than a month after he officially divorced his previous wife. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_58

In 1929, O'Neill and Monterey moved to the Loire Valley in central France, where they lived in the Château du Plessis in Saint-Antoine-du-Rocher, Indre-et-Loire. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_59

During the early 1930s they returned to the United States and lived in Sea Island, Georgia, at a house called . Eugene O'Neill_sentence_60

He moved to Danville, California in 1937 and lived there until 1944. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_61

His house there, Tao House, is today the Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_62

In their first years together, Monterey organized O'Neill's life, enabling him to devote himself to writing. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_63

She later became addicted to potassium bromide, and the marriage deteriorated, resulting in a number of separations, although they never divorced. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_64

In 1943, O'Neill disowned his daughter Oona for marrying the English actor, director, and producer Charlie Chaplin when she was 18 and Chaplin was 54. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_65

He never saw Oona again. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_66

He also had distant relationships with his sons. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_67

Eugene O'Neill Jr., a Yale classicist, suffered from alcoholism and committed suicide in 1950 at the age of 40. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_68

Shane O'Neill became a heroin addict and moved into the family home in Bermuda, Spithead, with his new wife, where he supported himself by selling off the furnishings. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_69

He was disowned by his father before also committing suicide (by jumping out of a window) a number of years later. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_70

Oona ultimately inherited Spithead and the connected estate (subsequently known as the Chaplin Estate). Eugene O'Neill_sentence_71

In 1950 O'Neill joined The Lambs, the famed theater club. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_72

Eugene O'Neill_table_general_1

ChildEugene O'Neill_header_cell_1_0_0 Date of birthEugene O'Neill_header_cell_1_0_1 Date of deathEugene O'Neill_header_cell_1_0_2
Eugene O'Neill Jr.Eugene O'Neill_cell_1_1_0 5/5/1910Eugene O'Neill_cell_1_1_1 9/25/1950Eugene O'Neill_cell_1_1_2
Shane O'NeillEugene O'Neill_cell_1_2_0 10/30/1919Eugene O'Neill_cell_1_2_1 6/23/1977Eugene O'Neill_cell_1_2_2
Oona O'NeillEugene O'Neill_cell_1_3_0 5/14/1925Eugene O'Neill_cell_1_3_1 9/27/1991Eugene O'Neill_cell_1_3_2

Illness and death Eugene O'Neill_section_3

After suffering from multiple health problems (including depression and alcoholism) over many years, O'Neill ultimately faced a severe Parkinsons-like tremor in his hands which made it impossible for him to write during the last 10 years of his life; he had tried using dictation but found himself unable to compose in that way. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_73

While at Tao House, O'Neill had intended to write a cycle of 11 plays chronicling an American family since the 1800s. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_74

Only two of these, A Touch of the Poet and More Stately Mansions, were ever completed. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_75

As his health worsened, O'Neill lost inspiration for the project and wrote three largely autobiographical plays, The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey into Night, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_76

He managed to complete Moon for the Misbegotten in 1943, just before leaving Tao House and losing his ability to write. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_77

Drafts of many other uncompleted plays were destroyed by Carlotta at Eugene's request. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_78

O'Neill died in Room 401 of the Sheraton Hotel (now Boston University's Kilachand Hall) on Bay State Road in Boston, on November 27, 1953, at the age of 65. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_79

As he was dying, he whispered his last words: "I knew it. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_80

I knew it. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_81

Born in a hotel room and died in a hotel room." Eugene O'Neill_sentence_82

Dr. Harry Kozol, the prosecution's lead expert in the Patty Hearst trial, treated O'Neill during these last years of illness. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_83

He also was present for O'Neill's death and announced the fact to the public. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_84

O'Neill is interred in the Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_85

In 1956 Carlotta arranged for his autobiographical play Long Day's Journey into Night to be published, although his written instructions had stipulated that it not be made public until 25 years after his death. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_86

It was produced on stage to tremendous critical acclaim and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_87

This last play is widely considered to be his finest. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_88

Other posthumously-published works include A Touch of the Poet (1958) and More Stately Mansions (1967). Eugene O'Neill_sentence_89

In 1967, the United States Postal Service honored O'Neill with a Prominent Americans series (1965–1978) $1 postage stamp. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_90

Only in 2000 was it discovered that he died of cerebellar cortical atrophy, a rare form of brain deterioration unrelated to either alcohol use or Parkinson's disease. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_91

Legacy Eugene O'Neill_section_4

In Warren Beatty's 1981 film Reds, O'Neill is portrayed by Jack Nicholson, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_92

George C. White founded the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Connecticut in 1964. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_93

Eugene O'Neill is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_94

O'Neill is referenced by Upton Sinclair in The Cup of Fury (1956), by J.K. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_95 Simmons' character in Whiplash (2014), and by Tony Stark in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), specifically Long Day's Journey into Night. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_96

O’Neill is referred to in Moss Hart’s 1959 book Act One, later a Broadway play. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_97

Museums and collections Eugene O'Neill_section_5

O'Neill's home in New London, Monte Cristo Cottage, was made a National Historic Landmark in 1971. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_98

His home in Danville, California, near San Francisco, was preserved as the Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site in 1976. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_99

Connecticut College maintains the Louis Sheaffer Collection, consisting of material collected by the O'Neill biographer. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_100

The principal collection of O'Neill papers is at Yale University. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_101

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut fosters the development of new plays under his name. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_102

There is also a theatre in New York City named after him located at 230 West 49th Street in midtown-Manhattan. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_103

The Eugene O'Neill Theatre has housed musicals and plays such as Yentl, Annie, Grease, M. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_104 Butterfly, Spring Awakening, and The Book of Mormon. Eugene O'Neill_sentence_105

Work Eugene O'Neill_section_6

See also: :Category:Plays by Eugene O'Neill Eugene O'Neill_sentence_106

Other works Eugene O'Neill_section_7

Eugene O'Neill_unordered_list_0

  • Tomorrow, 1917. A Small Story published in The Seven Arts, Vol. II, No. 8 in June 1917.Eugene O'Neill_item_0_0
  • The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog, 1940. Written to comfort Carlotta as their "child" Blemie was approaching his death in December 1940.Eugene O'Neill_item_0_1

See also Eugene O'Neill_section_8

Eugene O'Neill_unordered_list_1


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene O'Neill.