Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wake up and smell the coffee

Eugene O'Neill, America's greatest dramatist, died on this day in 1953. His last words were: "Born in a hotel room – and, God damn it – died in a hotel room."

O'Neill won a Nobel Prize and four Pulitzers. He was, indeed, born in a hotel room, in New York City (the site is now -- what else? -- a Starbucks), the son of an Irish-American actor famous for a stage version of The Count of Monte Cristo.

As well as suffering from a malady similar to Parkinson's disease, O'Neill was an alcoholic for most of his life.

"None of us can help the things life has done to us," O'Neill wrote in Long Day's Journey Into Night. "Everything comes between you and what you'd like to be…and you have lost your true sense forever."

O'Neill wrote an epitaph, not for himself but for his dog. To read it, visit