DAVID Thacker says he was “incredibly lucky to become very good friends” with Arthur Miller over a number of years as he came to trust him when he directed his plays.

He explained: “When I was at the Young Vic I wanted to do his version of An Enemy of the People. His agent set up a phone call. Before I spoke to Arthur I was terrified, but he was just brilliant. We spoke about casting and the play and all the characters.

“Arthur came to see Enemy of the People while I was rehearsing another of his plays (Two Way Mirror, starring Helen Mirren and Bob Peck).

“It was the first time I had met him. He really liked Enemy of the People and asked to come to the Two-Way Mirror rehearsals and became heavily involved in them.

“With Arthur it was always much more of a collaboration than anything else.

“We would discuss his work at length and I was in the privileged position where I could ask about something if I felt I needed clarity or even suggest changes to him. He was always open and receptive, which is just amazing for an artist of his stature.

“He also enjoyed speaking to the actors face to face in the rehearsal room – it was incredible and it made a huge difference to the production.

“Masterclass is an overused term, but what Arthur did when he was in the rehearsal room with actors was exactly that and they appreciated his direct approach. It helped their performances. He sent me his play The Last Yankee and asked if I would do it in England. I directed it at the Young Vic for its British premiere and it was the last play that I did there.

“It never ceased to amaze me how generous he was with his time and friendship. We would sit together and I would constantly be thinking, how am I in this situation with the world’s greatest living playwright.”

David frequently collaborated with Miller and no other director in the world has directed more of his plays. After the West End run of The Last Yankee, Miller wrote: “Not I alone but theatre itself owes very much to David Thacker. He is a fine director but he isn’t a pest. He works indirectly by being direct by being able to break through the well known resistance of actors to change as well as their resistance to what the script is saying. His spirit is deep and wide and generous, and his leadership of the Young Vic attests to that.”

Miller, who died in 2005 aged 89, was married four times, including most famously to Marilyn Monroe. They divorced in 1961 after five years of marriage.