On This Day

Eugene O'Neill

Playwright Eugene O'Neill

Profession: Playwright

United States of America

Why Famous: Eugene O'Neill was the first American playwright to introduce a new realism to American theatre, influenced by such European playwrights as Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg. His works were also the first to include characters on the edges of American society and to use American vernacular language in his work.

O'Neill's most important work is one of his last, the posthumously published "Long Day's Journey into Night" (1956) and like many of his plays largely autobiographical. Born into the theatre, O'Neill's father was the famous travelling actor James O'Neill and the family travelled with him. His family history was tragic, his father was alcoholic, his mother became addicted to opium after being prescribed it after his birth. His older brother also drank himself to death. O'Neill himself also suffered from alcoholism and depression

O'Neill's first published Play "Beyond the Horizon" won the Pulitzer Prize in 1920. In all, O'Neill was awarded four Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other American dramatist. In 1936 he became first American playwright to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Born: October 16, 1888
Birthplace: NYC, New York, USA

Generation: Lost Generation
Star Sign: Libra

Died: November 27, 1953 (aged 65)
Cause of Death: Cerebellar cortical atrophy

Married Life

  • 1909-10-02 American Playwright Eugene O'Neill (20) marries 1st wife Kathleen Jenkins
  • 1918-04-12 American Playwright Eugene O'Neill marries second wife novelist Agnes Boulton
  • 1929-07-03 American Playwright Eugene O'Neill divorces second wife novelist Agnes Boulton after 11 years of marriage
  • 1929-07-22 American Playwright Eugene O'Neill (40) marries 3rd wife actress Carlotta Monterey (40)

Historical Events

  • 1916-11-16 Eugene O'Neill's "Bound East for Cardiff" premieres in NYC
  • 1917-10-31 Eugene O'Neill's play "In the Zone" premieres in NYC
  • 1918-12-20 Eugene O'Neill's "Moon of the Caribees" premieres in NYC
  • 1920-06-02 Pulitzer prize awarded to Eugene O'Neill (Beyond the Horizon)
  • 1920-11-01 Eugene O'Neill's "Emperor Jones" premieres in NYC
  • 1921-01-04 Eugene O'Neill's "Diff'rent" premieres in NYC
  • 1921-11-02 Eugene O'Neill's play "Anna Christie" premieres in NYC
  • 1922-03-09 Eugene O'Neill's "Hairy Ape" premieres in NYC
  • 1922-05-21 Pulitzer prize awarded to Eugene O'Neill for his play "Anna Christie"
  • 1924-03-17 Eugene O'Neill's "Welded" premieres in NYC
  • 1925-11-24 Eugene O'Neill Theater (Coronet, Forrest) opens at 230 W 49th St NYC
  • 1926-01-23 Eugene O'Neill's "Great God Brown" premieres in NYC
  • 1928-01-09 Eugene O'Neill's "Marco Millions" premieres in NYC
  • 1928-01-30 Eugene O'Neill's "Strange Interlude" premieres in NYC
  • 1928-04-09 Eugene O'Neill's "Lazarus Laughed" premieres in Pasadena
  • 1929-02-11 Eugene O'Neill's "Dynamo" premieres in NYC
  • 1931-10-26 Eugene O'Neill's play cycle "Mourning Becomes Electra" premieres in NYC
  • 1933-10-02 Eugene O'Neill's comedy "Ah, Wilderness" premieres in NYC
  • 1934-01-18 Eugene O'Neill's "Days Without End" premieres in NYC
  • 1936-11-12 Nobel for literature awarded to Eugene O'Neill
  • 1946-10-09 Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh" premieres in NYC
  • 1947-05-02 Eugene O'Neill's "Moon for the Misbegotten" premieres in NYC
  • 1956-11-08 NYT critic Brooks Atkinson writes of Eugene O'Neill's latest play 'With the production of 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' at the Helen Hayes last evening, the American theater acquires size and stature."

Biographies and Sources

Famous Playwrights