Death of a Salesman
DVD cover
GenreTragedy
Written byArthur Miller
Story byArthur Miller (playwright)
Directed byJames B. Clark
Alex Segal
StarringLee J. Cobb
Mildred Dunnock
James Farentino
George Segal
Music byRobert Drasnin
Country of originUnited States
Production
ProducersDaniel Melnick
David Susskind
Marvin J. Chomsky (associate producer)
Running time100 minutes
Production companyCBS
Original release
NetworkCBS
ReleaseMay 8, 1966 (1966-05-08)

Death of a Salesman is a 1966 American made-for-television film adaptation of the 1949 play of the same name by Arthur Miller. It was directed by Alex Segal and adapted for television by Miller. It received numerous nominations for awards, and won several of them, including three Primetime Emmy Awards, a Directors Guild of America Award and a Peabody Award. It was nominated in a total of 11 Emmy categories at the 19th Primetime Emmy Awards in 1967. Lee J. Cobb reprised his role as Willy Loman and Mildred Dunnock reprised her role as Linda Loman from the original 1949 stage production.

Playbill markets this version of the play as an "abbreviated" one.[1] Although the performance is abridged, it was adapted for television by Miller himself, meaning that not much substance was lost in the changes.[2] The production was filmed after several weeks of rehearsals.[3]

It was a 1966 CBS television adaptation,[4] which included Gene Wilder, James Farentino, Bernie Kopell and George Segal. Cobb was nominated for an Primetime Emmy Award for the performance. Mildred Dunnock, who had co-starred in both the original stage version and the 1951 film version, again repeated her role as Linda, Willy's devoted wife, and earned an Emmy nomination. In addition to being Emmy-nominated, Cobb and Dunnock were nominated for a Grammy Award at the 1967 ceremony in the category of Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording. This movie is one of several adaptations of the play and was contemporaneous with a May 1966 BBC version starring Rod Steiger and produced by Alan Cooke.[5][6]

The production marked the acclaimed reunion of the leading actor and actress from the original 1949 broadway cast.[1][2] The performance also marks a strong dramatic turn for George Segal who is known for his comic work, while a young Gene Wilder presents a comic but sensitive performance as Bernard.[2]

Cast

Main Cast
Supporting Cast

Reception

New York Times television critic Jack Gould praised the production as an "evening of exalted theater," and described it as "a revelation of Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' that will stand as the supreme understanding of the tragedy of Willy Loman."[7] Joan Crosby of The Pittsburgh Press praised all members of the Loman family for their performances and described the performance as "An evening of high drama, not to be missed".[8] United Press International critic Rick Du Brow noted that the first television adaptation earned a place in history: "it promptly took its place among the most unforgettable productions in the history of the video medium."[9] Du Brow praised Cobb's performance as great, Dunnock as a "bastion of strength decency and human understanding," Segal as "superb" and Farentino as "outstanding".[9] Associated Press correspondent Cynthia Lowry described the show as a powerful depiction of "tense, sometimes painful drama" told mostly by flashbacks from happier times.[10] Lowry described Cobb's distraught performance as "overwhelming", Dunnock's portrayal of the "loving, patient and blindly loyal wife" equally powerful and the performances of both sons as sensitive.[10][9]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
1967
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television Alex Segal Won [11]
Grammy Awards Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording Lee J. Cobb and Mildred Dunnock Nominated [12]
Peabody Awards Personal Award Tom H. John[a] Won [13]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Dramatic Program David Susskind and Daniel Melnick Won [14]
Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama Lee J. Cobb Nominated
Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Drama Mildred Dunnock Nominated
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama Alex Segal Won
Individual Achievements in Art Direction and Allied Crafts – Art Direction Earl Carlson and Tom John Won
Individual Achievements in Electronic Production – Electronic Cameramen Robert Dunn, Gorman Erickson, Fred Gough,
Jack Jennings, and Dick Nelson
Nominated
Individual Achievements in Electronic Production – Lighting Directors Leard Davis Nominated
Individual Achievements in Electronic Production – Technical Directors A.J. Cunningham Nominated
Individual Achievements in Electronic Production – Video Tape Editing James E. Brady Nominated
Special Classifications of Individual Achievements Arthur Miller Won

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Also for Color Me Barbra and The Strollin' Twenties.

References

  1. ^ a b "Death of a Salesman starring Lee J. Cobb and Mildred Dunnock DVD". Playbill. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Death of a Salesman (1966)". Amazon. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  3. ^ Lowry, Cynthia. "'Death of a Salesman' makes Sunday a Night to Anticipate". The Victoria Advocate. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  4. ^ Drew, Michael H. (December 4, 1966). "TV Tackles Tennessee". Milwaukee Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Baxter, Brian (July 10, 2002). "Rod Steiger". The Guardian. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
  6. ^ "Death of a Salesman". AbeBooks Inc. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
  7. ^ Gould, Jack (May 9, 1966). "TV: 'Death of a Salesman'; New Interpretation Tops Stage Version-- Miss Dunnock and Cobb Repeat Roles". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  8. ^ Crosby, Joan (April 2, 1967). "Television Scout: Cobb Soars as 'Salesman' in Miller Drama". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c Du Brow, Rick (May 9, 1966). "'Death of a Salesman' is Great TV Hit As Expected". Williamson Daily News. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Lowry, Cynthia (May 8, 1966). "TV Adapts 'Death of a Salesman'". The Miami News. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  11. ^ "19th DGA Awards". Directors Guild of America Awards. Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  12. ^ "9th Annual GRAMMY Awards". Grammy Awards. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  13. ^ "Personal Award: Tom John for "Death of a Salesman," "Color Me Barbra," and "The Strollin' Twenties"". Peabody Awards. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  14. ^ "Death of a Salesman". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 12, 2023.