59 Facts About Tennessee Williams


Thomas Lanier Williams III, known by his pen name Tennessee Williams, was an American playwright and screenwriter.


At age 33, after years of obscurity, Williams suddenly became famous with the success of The Glass Menagerie in New York City.


Tennessee Williams introduced "plastic theatre" in this play and it closely reflected his own unhappy family background.


Much of Tennessee Williams's most acclaimed work has been adapted for the cinema.


Tennessee Williams wrote short stories, poetry, essays, and a volume of memoirs.


In 1979, four years before his death, Tennessee Williams was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.


Tennessee Williams's father was a traveling shoe salesman who became an alcoholic and was frequently away from home.


Tennessee Williams lived in his grandfather's Episcopalian rectory with his family for much of his early childhood and was close to his grandparents.


Tennessee Williams had two siblings, older sister Rose Isabel Williams and younger brother Walter Dakin Williams.


Tennessee Williams regarded what he thought was his son's effeminacy with disdain.


Critics and historians agree that Tennessee Williams drew from his own dysfunctional family in much of his writing and that his desire to break free from his puritan upbringing propelled him towards writing.


When Tennessee Williams was eight years old, his father was promoted to a job at the home office of the International Shoe Company in St Louis.


Tennessee Williams attended Soldan High School, a setting he referred to in his play The Glass Menagerie.


Later, in 1928, Tennessee Williams first visited Europe with his maternal grandfather Dakin.


From 1929 to 1931, Tennessee Williams attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, where he enrolled in journalism classes.


Tennessee Williams was bored by his classes and distracted by unrequited love for a girl.


Tennessee Williams's first submitted play was Beauty Is the Word, followed by Hot Milk at Three in the Morning.


At University of Missouri, Tennessee Williams joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, but he did not fit in well with his fraternity brothers.


Tennessee Williams set a goal of writing one story a week.


Tennessee Williams often worked on weekends and late into the night.


Overworked, unhappy, and lacking further success with his writing, by his 24th birthday Tennessee Williams had suffered a nervous breakdown and left his job.


Tennessee Williams drew from memories of this period, and a particular factory co-worker, to create the character Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.


In 1936, Tennessee Williams enrolled at Washington University in St Louis where he wrote the play Me, Vashya.


Tennessee Williams later studied at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York City.


In 1939, with the help of his agent Audrey Wood, Tennessee Williams was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in recognition of his play Battle of Angels.


Tennessee Williams lived for a time in New Orleans' French Quarter, including 722 Toulouse Street, the setting of his 1977 play Vieux Carre.


Tennessee Williams moved often to stimulate his writing, living in New York, New Orleans, Key West, Rome, Barcelona, and London.


Between 1948 and 1959 Tennessee Williams had seven of his plays produced on Broadway: Summer and Smoke, The Rose Tattoo, Camino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending, Garden District, and Sweet Bird of Youth.


Tennessee Williams's work reached wider audiences in the early 1950s when The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire were adapted into motion pictures.


Tennessee Williams's plays Kingdom of Earth, In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, Small Craft Warnings, The Two Character Play, The Red Devil Battery Sign, Vieux Carre, Clothes for a Summer Hotel, and others were all box office failures.


In 1974, Tennessee Williams received the St Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Library Associates.


Tennessee Williams gave her a percentage interest in several of his most successful plays, the royalties from which were applied toward her care.


Rodriguez and Tennessee Williams remained friends and were in contact as late as the 1970s.


Tennessee Williams spent the spring and summer of 1948 in Rome in the company of a young man named "Rafaello" in Tennessee Williams' Memoirs.


Tennessee Williams provided financial assistance to the younger man for several years afterward.


Tennessee Williams drew from this for his first novel, The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone.


When he returned to New York City that spring, Tennessee Williams met and fell in love with Frank Merlo.


Tennessee Williams provided a period of happiness and stability, acting as a balance to the playwright's frequent bouts with depression.


Tennessee Williams feared that, like his sister Rose, he would fall into insanity.


Tennessee Williams returned to him and cared for him until his death on September 20,1963.


Tennessee Williams submitted to injections by Dr Max Jacobson, known popularly as Dr Feelgood, who used increasing amounts of amphetamines to overcome his depression.


Tennessee Williams was never truly able to recoup his earlier success, or to entirely overcome his dependence on prescription drugs.


Tennessee Williams had deep affection for Carroll and respect for what he saw as the younger man's talents.


Tennessee Williams described Carroll's behavior as a combination of "sweetness" and "beastliness".


Tennessee Williams wrote that Carroll played on his "acute loneliness" as an aging gay man.


On February 25,1983, Tennessee Williams was found dead at age 71 in his suite at the Hotel Elysee in New York City.


Chief Medical Examiner of New York City Elliot M Gross reported that Williams had choked to death from inhaling the plastic cap of a bottle of the type used on bottles of nasal spray or eye solution.


The report was later corrected on August 14,1983, to state that Tennessee Williams had been using the plastic cap found in his mouth to ingest barbiturates and had actually died from a toxic level of Seconal.


From February 1 to July 21,2011, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the home of Tennessee Williams's archive, exhibited 250 of his personal items.


The exhibit, titled "Becoming Tennessee Williams", included a collection of Williams manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and artwork.


The Ransom Center holds the earliest and largest collections of Tennessee Williams's papers, including all of his earliest manuscripts, the papers of his mother Edwina Tennessee Williams, and those of his long-time agent Audrey Wood.


In late 2009, Tennessee Williams was inducted into the Poets' Corner at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York.


At the time of his death, Tennessee Williams had been working on a final play, In Masks Outrageous and Austere, which attempted to reconcile certain forces and facts of his own life.


In 1985, French author-composer Michel Berger wrote a song dedicated to Tennessee Williams, "Quelque chose de Tennessee", for Johnny Hallyday.


The Tennessee Williams Songbook is a one woman show written and directed by David Kaplan, a Williams scholar and curator of Provincetown's Tennessee Williams Festival, and starring Tony Award nominated actress Alison Fraser.


Since 2016, St Louis, Missouri has held an annual Tennessee Williams Festival, featuring a main production and related events such as literary discussions and new plays inspired by his work.


Tennessee Williams is honored with a star on the St Louis Walk of Fame.


Tennessee Williams is inducted into the Clarksdale Walk of Fame.


Tennessee Williams wrote The Parade, or Approaching the End of a Summer when he was 29, and worked on it sporadically throughout his life.