Joan Copeland (1922 - 2022)

A photo of Joan Copeland
Joan (Miller) Copeland
1922 - 2022
June 1, 1922
Brooklyn, New York United States
January 4, 2022
New York, New York United States
Other Names
Joan Maxime (Miller) Kupchik
Joan Copeland was born on June 1, 1922 in Brooklyn, New York United States. Her maiden name is Miller and she married into the Copeland family. She died on January 4, 2022 in New York, New York United States at age 99.
1 Follower
Updated: January 19, 2022
Joan Copeland was a younger sister to a famous playwright, Arthur Miller. She was a very good character actress and fun to watch in movies and theatre and on television.
Show & Tell Her Story
Share your memories, stories, and photos so that Joan is always remembered.
Update biography

Joan's biography

This collaborative biography is for you to show & tell Joan's life so that she is always remembered. What's this?

Joan Copeland
Most commonly known as
Joan (Miller) Copeland
Full name
Joan Maxime (Miller) Kupchik
Other names or aliases
Unknown. Did Joan move a lot? Where was her last known location?
Last known residence
Joan Copeland was born on in Brooklyn, New York United States
Joan Copeland died on in New York, New York United States
There is no cause of death listed for Joan.
Cause of death
Do you know the final resting place - gravesite in a cemetery or location of cremation - of Joan Copeland?
Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

What is Joan's ethnicity and where did her parents, grandparents & great-grandparents come from?

Nationality & Locations

Joan Copeland Biography Born June 1, 1922 in New York City, New York, USA Died January 4, 2022 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA Birth Name Joan Maxine Miller Mini Bio (1) Joan Copeland, the sister of famed playwright Arthur Miller, is a renowned actress in her own right. She made her name on Broadway, debuting there in 1945 to begin a career that lasted more than 60 years. She also had a long career on television, where she appeared in a number of that medium's most popular soap operas. She played scheming villain Andrea Whiting in Search for Tomorrow (1951), and also appeared in Love of Life (1951) and The Edge of Night (1956), among others. She occasionally worked in films, but made fewer than 20 of them in her career, preferring the stage and television, where she made her debut in 1950. Family (1) Spouse George Joseph Kupchik (1 September 1943 - 26 July 1989) (his death) (1 child) Trivia (11) Daughter of Augusta Miller and Isidore Miller. Younger sister of Kermit Miller and Arthur Miller. Sister-in-law of Inge Morath. Aunt of Jane Miller, Rebecca Miller, and Robert A. Miller. Former sister-in-law of Mary Slattery and Marilyn Monroe. The recipient of numerous stage awards in her later career, she won the Drama Desk Award for her stage work in "The American Clock" (1980) (which was written by her brother); the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1983), and the Obie Award for "The American Plan" (1990). Has graced a number of daytime soap operas over time, including Search for Tomorrow (1951), Love of Life (1951) (in which she played twins), The Edge of Night (1956), One Life to Live (1968), How to Survive a Marriage (1974) and As the World Turns (1956). Her father was a woman's clothes manufacturer and her mother was a schoolteacher/housewife. Her father and his family immigrated from Radomysl Wielki, Galicia (then part of Austria-Hungary; now Poland). Her mother's family immigrated from Austria. Prominent actress of the Broadway stage for over six decades. She made her debut in "Romeo and Juliet" in 1945 and played Desdemona in "Othello" the following year. She and her former sister-in-law Marilyn Monroe were both born on June 1: in 1922 and 1926 respectively. Replaced Polly Bergen in the musical stage production of "Camille Claudel" at the Goodspeed. [July 2007] Graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York. Her husband George Kupchik was a bacteriologist. One of the first members of The Actors Studio. Served as Katharine Hepburn's standby as Coco Chanel in the musical Coco, which ran for more than 320 performances from 1969-70.


Did Joan finish grade school, get a GED, go to high school, get a college degree or masters? What schools or universities did Joan attend?


Was Joan a religious woman?


Was Joan baptized?


Joan Copeland, the Broadway, film and TV actress and sister of playwright Arthur Miller whose career spanned more than six decades, died Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 99. Copeland died peacefully in her sleep at 5:47 a.m. at her home on the Upper West Side, her son Erik Kupchik and his wife Geralen Silberg-Kupchik told the Daily News. “She lived an amazing life,” Silberg-Kupchik said. “In addition to her brilliant career, she was a wonderful mother. And we’re going to miss her very much.” Actress Joan Copeland attends the opening of "Picturing Marilyn" at Milk Gallery on Nov. 9, 2011, in New York City. Copeland, who was Marilyn Monroe’s sister-in-law for five years, was best known for her work on Broadway, starring in the 1976 revival of “Pal Joey” and delivering a Drama Desk Award-winning performance in 1980′s “The American Clock.” That star turn came in a unique role: She played her own mother, and her brother was the playwright. “Arthur didn’t write the part for me but it’s one of the few roles I didn’t have to audition for my brother,” Copeland told the Southampton Press in 2012. “I’ve had to audition for several of his plays and he always treated me as an actress, not a sister.” Copeland only starred in one more of Miller’s plays to make it to Broadway, “The Price” in 1968. “It’s been said that blood is thicker than water, but whoever said it was not a writer,” she said in 2012. But Copeland was easily talented enough to earn credits for several other productions: “Detective Story” (1949), “Not For Children” (1951), “Tovarich” (1963), “Something More!” (1964), “Coco” (1969), “Two By Two” (1970) and “Checking Out” (1976) among them. Copeland made her film debut in 1958′s “The Goddess.” She played a small role in the movie, which was based on the life of Monroe, her sister-in-law at the time. Miller and Monroe were married from 1956 to 1961. Copeland moved seamlessly between stage, screen and television. She appeared in two soap operas, “Search for Tomorrow” and “How to Survive a Marriage” in the 1960s and ‘70s while also working on films including “Roseland,” “It’s My Turn” and “A Little Sex” into the 1980s. TV viewers probably knew her best for her recurring work on “Law & Order” as Judge Rebecca Stein. She also had a small voice role in the 2003 Disney animated film “Brother Bear.” Copeland married George Kupchik in 1946, and they remained together until his death in 1989. In addition to Erik and Geralen, Copeland is survived by niece Rebecca Miller and her husband, English actor Daniel Day-Lewis.

Personal Life

Share highlights of Joan's life. Experiences, organizations, & how she spent her time.

Military Service

Did Joan serve in the military or did a war or conflict interfere with her life?

Average Age

Life Expectancy

Looking for a different Joan Copeland?
View other bios of people named Joan Miller

Family Tree

Joan's immediate relatives including parents, siblings, partnerships and children in the Copeland family tree.

Joan's Family Tree

Joan Copeland Joan Copeland


Friends can be as close as family. Add Joan's family friends, and her friends from childhood through adulthood.

Add bio


Leave a comment to ask questions, share information, or simply to show that you care about Joan.



Share Joan's obituary or write your own to preserve her legacy.

Joan Copeland, who graced both the stage and screen for decades as a Broadway star and soap opera actress, died the morning of Jan. 4 in her New York City home, Copeland’s family confirmed to Variety. She was 99. Copeland’s career included performances on numerous daytime soap operas — including “Search for Tomorrow” (1967-72) “Love of Life” (1960-63), “The Edge of the Night” (1956) and “How to Survive a Marriage” (1974). As one of the first members of The Actors Studio, she made her Broadway debut in 1948 as Nadine in “Sundown Beach.” Her other Broadway credits include “Detective Story,” (1950) “Coco,” (1969) and “45 Seconds From Broadway” (2001). Copeland was the sister of playwright Arthur Miller, who died in 2005. She appeared in one of Miller’s plays, “The American Clock” (1980), a performance for which she earned a Drama Desk award. “From the time I was a little girl I had the stage bug,” Copeland told The New York Times in 1981. “It was like a big dream, like kids who want to fly to the moon today. Perhaps I was unconsciously influenced by my brother. He had made it. I was desperate to get out of the dreariness I was living in.” Still, Copeland worked to separate her career from her brother’s — which influenced her to take on the stage name “Joan Copeland.” “I did not want to trade on my brother’s name,” she told the Times. While most of Copeland’s career was on the Broadway stage and in television series, she also made it to the big screen. Her first film, Paddy Chayefsky’s “The Goddess” (1958), was said to be based on Miller’s second wife (and Copeland’s onetime sister-in-law) Marilyn Monroe. In addition, Copeland appeared in “Roseland” (1977), “A Little Sex” (1982), “The Object of My Affection” (1998) and as the voice of Tanana in Disney’s “Brother Bear” (2003). She is survived by her son, Eric Kupchik, and her niece, actress Rebecca Miller.

1922 - 2022 World Events

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Joan's lifetime.

In 1922, in the year that Joan Copeland was born, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. on May 30th. More than 35,000 people attended the dedication including Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, and many Union and Confederate veterans - although the audience was segregated. The Memorial took 10 years to complete.

In 1940, by the time she was 18 years old, on November 5th, President Franklin Roosevelt was elected to a third term, defeating Wendell Willkie of Indiana (a corporate lawyer). Roosevelt running for a third term was controversial. But the U.S. was emerging from the Great Recession and he promised that he would not involve the country in any foreign war (which of course changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor). Roosevelt defeated Willkie in the popular vote by 54.7 to 44.8% and in the Electoral College 449 to 82.

In 1956, at the age of 34 years old, Joan was alive when this was the year that the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, became an international sensation. He began the year as a regional favorite and ended the year with 17 recordings having been on the Billboard’s Top 100 singles chart, 11 TV appearances, and a movie. Elvis scandalized adults and thrilled teens.

In 1981, she was 59 years old when on January 20th, Ronald Reagan became the 40th President of the United States. He ran against the incumbent, Jimmy Carter, and won 50.7% of the popular vote to Carter's 41.0%.

In 1994, by the time she was 72 years old, on May 6th, former political prisoner, lawyer, and activist Nelson Mandela was elected the first black President of South Africa. He was 75 when he was elected and he served one five-year term.

Other Biographies

Other Joan Miller Biographies

Other Miller Family Biographies

Back to Top