Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature.
O'Neill was born in a Broadway hotel room in New York City on October 16, 1888. O'Neill's father, James O'Neill, was one of Nineteenth Century America's most popular actors. Due to his father's profession, O'Neill was sent to a Catholic boarding school where he found his only solace in books. O'Neill spent his summers in New London, Connecticut.
In 1906 he entered Princeton but was soon expelled.Accounts vary as to why he left. He may have been dropped for attending too few classes, been suspended for "conduct code violations", or "for breaking a window," or according to a more concrete but possibly apocryphal account, because he threw "a beer bottle into the window of Professor Woodrow Wilson," future president of the United States)
He spent several years at sea, during which he suffered from depression and alcoholism. O'Neill's parents and elder brother Jamie (who drank himself to death at the age of 45) died within three years of one another, not long after he had begun to make his mark in the theater. Despite his depression he had a deep love for the sea, and it became a prominent theme in many of his plays, several of which are set onboard ships like the ones that he worked on.
He married in 1909 but divorced within three years, however he did have a son during the time he was married. By 1912, O'Neill had held a multitude of odd jobs, including one as a gold prospector in Honduras. He had also become a regular at New York City's flophouses and dingy saloons. That same year he became ill with tuberculosis and was inspired to become a playwright while reading during his recovery.
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