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Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O’Neill, one of the great American playwrights, was born on October 16, 1888 in New York City to parents Ella Quinlan and James O’Neill.

Winner of numerous Pulitzer prizes and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, O’Neill spent much of his early life at Monte Cristo Cottage, the family’s summer home on Pequot Avenue in New London, CT.

O’Neill also spent considerable time in Massachusetts, taking a playwriting course at Harvard in 1914, then forming a troupe on Cape Cod called the Provincetown Players, which produced his play Bound East for Cardiff, in 1916.

In 1928, according to author Susan Wilson, O’Neill’s play, Strange Interlude, was banned in Boston, but played to a sell-out audience in Quincy.

O’Neill lived in California for many years, but moved back to Marblehead, MA in 1948, by which time he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. He moved to Boston to be close to his physician, staying at the Hotel Shelton on Bay State Road, which is today a Boston University dormitory. He died on November 27, 1953, at the Hotel Shelton.

He is buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plains, a neighborhood of Boston.

For details on Irish-American heritage in Massachusetts, visit

For information on cultural activities in Massachusetts, visit


Literary Trail of Greater Boston by Susan Wilson for the Boston History Collaborative.

Eugene O'Neill Review

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