Tennessee Williams

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Date of Birth March 26, 1911
Place of Birth Mississippi
Date of Death Feb 25, 1983 (71)
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Tennessee Williams

Thomas Lanier Williams III, known by his pen name Tennessee Williams, was an American playwright. Along with contemporaries Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, he is considered among the three foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama. Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, after years of obscurity, at age 33 he became suddenly famous with the success of The Glass Menagerie in New York City. This play closely reflected his own unhappy family background. It was the first of a string of successes, including A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Sweet Bird of Youth, and The Night of the Iguana. With his later work, he attempted a new style that did not appeal as widely to audiences. His drama A Streetcar Named Desire is often numbered on short lists of the finest American plays of the 20th century alongside Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Much of Williams' most acclaimed work has been adapted for the cinema.

Born: Thomas Lanier Williams III, March 26, 1911, Columbus, Mississippi, U.S.
Died: February 25, 1983, New York, New York, U.S.
Resting place: Calvary Cemetery
Education: University of Missouri, Columbia, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Iowa (BA)
Years active: 1930–83
Home town: St. Louis, Missouri
Partner(s): Pancho Rodríguez y González, Frank Merlo, Robert Carroll, Eloi Bordelon
IMDb: Tennessee Williams's IMDb

About Tennessee Williams

Historic playwright who wrote the classic plays A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending, The Glass Menagerie, Sweet Bird of Youth, and Summer and Smoke. A Streetcar Named Desire was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948 and is widely considered one of the greatest plays of the 20th century.

Before Fame

He studied journalism at the University of Missouri and Colombia University. After falling in love with a girl who didn't return his love, he began writing poetry, essays, stories, and plays.


A Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival takes place in March of every year to commemorate his career. The festival began in 1986, three years after his death. There is also a theatre named after him in Key West, Florida.

Family Life

He had a serious relationship with actor Phillip Merlo, but drug abuse and infidelity ended their romance. He also had a relationship with Pancho Rodríguez y González. His sister Rose, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was his inspiration for the character Laura from The Glass Menagerie.


He, Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller are regarded as the preeminent American playwrights of the 1900's.

Information related to Tennessee Williams

  • Lanier family tree - The Lanier family tree contains a number of musicians in the English royal court. This tree is not complete but is focused on showing the relationship of the well-known members of the family.
  • Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival - The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is an annual five-day literary festival in the city of New Orleans. The festival is dedicated to American playwright Tennessee Williams, who lived and worked in the city, and later won the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Virginia Spencer Carr , friend and biographer of Williams.
  • Audrey Wood - Audrey Wood was an American literary and theatrical agent. Wood was influential in the careers of several of the most recognized dramatic playwrights of the mid-20th century, including Tennessee Williams, William Inge, Robert Anderson and Arthur Kopit.
  • Sewanee: The University of the South
  • LGBT people from Mississippi
  • Burials at Calvary Cemetery (St. Louis)
  • Former Anglicans
  • American former Protestants
  • Actors Studio alumni
  • Writers of American Southern literature
  • Pulitzer Prize for Drama winners
  • Writers from Mississippi
  • LGBT Roman Catholics
  • Kennedy Center honorees
  • Writers from New Orleans
  • LGBT memoirists
  • Writers from St. Louis
  • Converts to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism
  • LGBT dramatists and playwrights
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients
  • Washington University in St. Louis alumni
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Latest information about Tennessee Williams updated on October 23, 2020.

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