Eugene O’Neill

(1888–1953)

Eugene O’Neill

Anecdote...

O’Neill always strongly objected to cutting any of his plays. When director and playwright Russel Crouse asked him to shorten the script of Ah, Wilderness! he was very reluctant. The following day he telephoned Crouse to tell him that he had cut fifteen minutes. Surprised and pleased, Crouse said, “I’ll be right over to get the changes.”

“Oh, there aren’t any changes to the text,” O’Neill explained, “but you know we have been playing this thing in four acts. I’ve decided to cut out the third intermission.”

Biographical Note: 

Eugene O’Neill was a U.S. dramatist. Brought up in the theater by his actor father. An attack of tuberculosis in 1913 turned him toward writing plays. His first full-length play, Beyond the Horizon (1920), won a Pulitzer prize. Anna Christie (1922) and Mourning Becomes Electra (1931) were further successes. In 1936 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Ill health and alcoholism dogged his later years, which nonetheless saw the creation of some of his greatest works, such as The Iceman Cometh (1946) and the autobiographical Long Day’s Journey into Night (written in 1940-41, but not performed until 1956).