Death of a Salesman and Goucher College: Mildred Dunnock's First Staring Role on Broadway and in a Hollywood Film
As you read Selden's application of Structuralism to Miller's Death of a Salesman, it's useful to remember that actual people played the parts which figured forth those deep structuring rules. Opposite Lee J. Cobb's "Willy" in the role of Linda on opening night was Mildred Dunnock, who was born in Baltimore in 1901 and graduated from Goucher College in 1922. She was a teacher for several years before landing bit parts in films. Her first major role in Miller's hit Broadway play led to her playing the role in the movie which was made in 1951. She went on to star in, and then to play supporting roles in, dozens of films and made for television dramas, working with directors like Alfred Hitchcock (The Trouble with Harry), John Ford (7 Women), and Elia Kazan (in Tennesee Williams' Baby Doll and John Steinbeck's Viva Zapata!). Her last role, at the age of 86, was in The Pickup Artist staring Robert Downey Jr. and Molly Ringwald. The Dunnock Theater in Meyerhoff is named for her.