Tennessee Williams Biography
Tennessee Williams is widely considered one of the greatest American playwrights of all time. His best-known works include “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” He was born Thomas Lanier Williams in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1927 to a family that moved frequently between Mississippi and St. Louis due to his father’s job with Proctor & Gamble soap company. His sister Rose suffered from mental illness—according to some accounts she was institutionalized after having a botched lobotomy—and many characters in his plays are based on her or influenced by her life experiences.
Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams in Columbus, Mississippi to Edwina Dakin and Cornelius Coffin “C.C.” Williams on March 26, 1911. His family moved frequently between St. Louis, Missouri and Columbus, Mississippi while he was growing up. He had one younger brother Walter Dakin Williams (1912–1932) and two older sisters Rose Isabel Williams (1902–1987) and Marguerite Isabelle Williams (1898–1983).
With his mother’s encouragement, Tennessee attended writing classes at Washington University in St. Louis when he was a teenager. After graduating from high school in 1929, he attended several colleges before entering the University of Iowa’s School of Drama where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1938.
Tennessee Williams was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.
Tennessee Williams was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. He won the Pulitzer in 1948 for his play “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the first American to receive that honor. He also has three plays running on Broadway at any given time—a feat no other playwright has ever accomplished.
His most famous works include “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof,” “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
Tennessee Williams was an American playwright. His most famous works include “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof,” “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
In his plays, he explores the dark side of human nature. These are stories filled with characters who struggle with loneliness and loss, as well as their desires to be loved or accepted by others.
Tennesse Williams Death
The cause of death was ruled a choking accident. Tennessee Williams died at the age of 71 on February 25, 1983. He was found dead in his New York City apartment by his nurse, who had been unable to reach him by phone. A bottle of eye drops was near his body, and police concluded that he had accidentally inhaled one drop while trying to take another from its container. The autopsy also showed that Williams had suffered from heart disease for years; it wasn’t clear whether this contributed significantly to his death.
Williams’s body was taken back to St Louis where he was buried next to his sister Rose (1912–1975). Their gravesite is located at Calvary Cemetery with views of the Mississippi River and St Louis skyline.
Tennessee Williams was a prolific playwright and there may be more stories about his life to tell.
Tennessee Williams was a prolific playwright, producing more than 30 plays over the course of his career. He is best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning play A Streetcar Named Desire and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay Adaptation for The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone in 1960.
The mid-20th century was a golden age for American theater and Tennessee Williams wrote some of the most important works that helped define this era. Although many stories may never be told about Tennessee Williams’ life, his legacy continues to live on through plays he wrote during this time period and beyond.
It’s clear that Tennessee Williams was a talented writer who lived a complicated life. While many of his stories are fictional, there’s no doubt that he drew on real-life experiences for inspiration. His plays have been performed all over the world and continue to be produced today. We hope you enjoyed learning more about this prolific playwright!