Eugene O'Neill

Personal Information
Born in 1888, Eugene O'Neill was the son of James O'Neill, one of America's most popular actors from the 1880s until World War I. In 1909, he set out on a gold-prospecting voyage to Honduras--only to be sent home six months later with a tropical fever. During the period that followed, he spent time working as a stage manager, an actor, and a reporter. It was here that he came in contact with the sailors, dock workers and outcasts that would populate his plays, the kind of characters the American theatre had heretofore passed over in silence. During this time he contracted tuberculosis and was sent to a sanatorium for six months. It was during this time that O'Neill began to read not only the classic dramatists, but also Ibsen, Wedekind and Strindberg- -"especially Strindberg" he would later confess. He then turned his hand to playwriting, quickly churning out eleven one-act plays and two full- lengths, not to mention a bit of poetry. In 1916, O'Neill met the group who founded the Provincetown Players. Shortly thereafter, the group produced O'Neill's one-act play Bound East for Cardiff . Other short pieces followed at the playhouse on MacDougal Street in New York City, and soon O'Neill's plays became the mainstay of this experimental group. Beyond the Horizon was produced on Broadway in 1920 earning him his first Pulitzer Prize. He received countless productions both in the United States and abroad. His many plays of the 1920’s include The Emperor Jones (1921), The Hairy Ape (1923), Anna Christie (1922, Pulitzer Prize), Desire Under the Elms (1925), The Great God Brown (1926), and Strange Interlude (1928, Pulitzer Prize). In 1936 he was awarded the Nobel Prize--a feat that no other American playwright had been able to accomplish. O’Neill developed a profound artistic honesty which would result in several genuine masterpieces of the modern theatre including A Touch of the Poet (1935- 1942), More Stately Mansions (1935- 1941), The Iceman Cometh (1939), A Long Day's Journey into Night (1939-41) and A Moon for the Misbegotten (1943). Most of these were not published or produced during O'Neill's lifetime. Then, in 1956, three years after the playwright's death, a successful revival of The Iceman Cometh and the first Broadway production of A Long Day's Journey into Night, returned Eugene O'Neill once again to his rightful place at the forefront of American Drama. Today, he is recognized not only as the first great American dramatist, but, as one of the great dramatists of all time.
Playwrights' Sidewalk: Eugene O'Neill has a star on the Playwrights' Sidewalk.
Award Production Function
1 NOMINATED 2022 Drama League Award, Outstanding Revival of a Play Long Day's Journey Into Night Playwright
2 NOMINATED 2022 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Revival of a Play A Touch of the Poet Playwright
3 NOMINATED 2010 Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Revival The Emperor Jones Playwright
4 NOMINATED 2010 Drama League Award, Outstanding Revival of a Play The Emperor Jones Playwright
5 NOMINATED 2007 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Revival of a Play The Hairy Ape Playwright