Eugene O’Neill – 1888-1953
O’Neill was the son of an actor and a frail, opium-addicted mother. His unstable but emotionally rich upbringing would prove a rich source of dramatic material when he started to write for the stage, beginning with an early masterpiece of 1916, Bound East for Cardiff. By the time of his death in 1953, O’Neill had created some of the greatest plays of the 20th century, including Beyond the Horizon (1920), Anna Christie (1922), Strange Interlude (1928), Ah! Wilderness (1933), The Iceman Cometh (1946), and epic Long Day’s Journey into Night (produced posthumously 1956). His work is characterized by a lyrical, intensely personal vision that is nevertheless universal in application, dealing with remorse, forgiveness, betrayal, and faith. O’Neill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936.