Eugene (Gladstone) O'Neill (October 16, 1888 - November 27, 1953) was an American playwright best known for explorations into the darker aspects of the human condition. Frequently, his plays show people on the outer edges of society or begin in a situation of ennui and despair and move dramatically downwards to a grim finish.
While he was born in a New York City hotel, his family and his early life were intimately connected to New London, Connecticut. They had owned property in New London since before his birth, and he would have summered there with them virtually from his first memory until they made it the family home. As an adult, he was employed by the New London Telegraph and wrote his first 7 or 8 plays, two of them full-length while living there. (Connecticut College there maintains a major O'Neill archive, and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, with its major facilities there and in the adjacent town of Waterford, fosters the development of new plays under the aegis of his name.)
In 1929 he moved to the Loire Valley in France where he lived in the Chateau du Plessis in St. Antoine-du-Rocher, Indre et Loire.
Best known plays include: Desire Under the Elms (1924), Mourning Becomes Electra (1931), and The Iceman Cometh (1946). He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1920 for Beyond the Horizon and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, making him the first US dramatist to do so. His autobiographical, and to an extent, darkest play, Long Day's Journey into Night was published posthumously in 1956. He left several unpublished plays. His Will stipulated that these were not to be produced until 25 years after his death.
He was married three times. His daughter Oona married Charlie Chaplin on June 16, 1943. Oona was 17; Chaplin was 54. Despite the tremendous gap in their ages, the marriage was a happy one, producing eight children.