Arthur Kennedy, who created the role of Biff in Death of a Salesman, was also one of the leading character actors in American film from the late 1940s through to the early 1960s.
Born on 17 February 1914 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Kennedy studied drama at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, and his first professional acting job was with the Globe Theatre Company, which toured the Midwest offering abbreviated versions of Shakespearian plays. This led to his first appearance on Broadway, in Richard II starring Maurice Evans, in 1937. Several more significant roles on Broadway established his reputation before moving to Los Angeles where he was spotted by James Cagney, and his movie career began. The Warner Bros. studio put him in supporting roles in several prestigious movies, including High Sierra (1941) and They Died with Their Boots On (1941) starring Errol Flynn. He played in many films as a supporting actor and was twice nominated for an Academy Award. One of his last films was Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
Throughout the 1940s and 1950s Kennedy continued to play on Broadway, forging an alliance with Arthur Miller and playing Chris Keller in All My Sons (1947) and John Proctor in The Crucible (1953). In 1968 he appeared in Miller’s The Price.
Arthur Kennedy died in 1989.