Tennessee Williams

Playwright, Screenwriter, Actor
As one of America's premier 20th century playwrights, Tennessee Williams restored poetry to the stage in the midst of a post-World War II surge of realism, sensitively peopling his plays with outsiders at odds with the ... Read more »
Born: 03/26/1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, USA

Filmography

Writer (43)

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond 2009 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Tennessee Williams' The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Source Material

A Streetcar Named Desire From the San Francisco Opera 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

A Streetcar Named Desire 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

Suddenly Last Summer 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

27 Wagons Full of Cotton 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

Noir et blanc 1989 (Movie)

("Desire and the Black Masseur") (From Story)

The Glass Menagerie 1987 (Movie)

("The Glass Menagerie") (Play as Source Material)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

A Streetcar Named Desire 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Screenplay

Eccentricities of a Nightingale 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

Last of the Mobile Hot-Shots 1970 (Movie)

("The Seven Descents of Myrtle") (Play as Source Material)

Boom! 1968 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Boom! 1968 (Movie)

("The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore") (Play as Source Material)

Boom! 1968 (Movie)

("Man, Bring This Up Road") (From Story)

Senso 1967 (Movie)

dialogue collaboration (Writer (dialogue))

The Glass Menagerie 1966 - 1967 (TV Show)

Screenplay

This Property Is Condemned 1966 (Movie)

("This Property Is Condemned") (Play as Source Material)

The Night of the Iguana 1964 (Movie)

(Play as Source Material)

Period of Adjustment 1962 (Movie)

(Play as Source Material)

Sweet Bird of Youth 1962 (Movie)

(Play as Source Material)

Summer and Smoke 1961 (Movie)

("Summer and Smoke") (Play as Source Material)

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone 1961 (Movie)

("The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone") (Play as Source Material)

The Fugitive Kind 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Fugitive Kind 1960 (Movie)

("Orpheus Descending") (Play as Source Material)

Suddenly, Last Summer 1959 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Suddenly, Last Summer 1959 (Movie)

("Suddenly Last Summer") (Play as Source Material)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1958 (Movie)

("Cat on a Hot Tin Roof") (Play as Source Material)

Baby Doll 1956 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Baby Doll 1956 (Movie)

from plays "27 Wagons Full of Cotton" "The Long Stay Cut Short"(("The Unsatisfactory Supper")) (Play as Source Material)

The Rose Tattoo 1955 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Rose Tattoo 1955 (Movie)

("The Rose Tattoo") (Play as Source Material)

A Streetcar Named Desire 1950 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Streetcar Named Desire 1950 (Movie)

("A Streetcar Named Desire") (Play as Source Material)

The Glass Menagerie 1950 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Glass Menagerie 1950 (Movie)

("The Glass Menagerie") (Play as Source Material)

Kraft Television Theater (TV Show)

Writer

Orpheus Descending (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

The Glass Menagerie (TV Show)

Screenplay

The Migrants (TV Show)

From Story

The Yellow Bird (TV Show)

Play as Source Material
Music (2)

Thomas Hampson: I Hear America Singing 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

The Fugitive Kind 1960 (Movie)

lyrics("Blanket Roll Blues") (Theme Lyrics)
Actor (1)

Beautiful Darling 2011 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Biography

As one of America's premier 20th century playwrights, Tennessee Williams restored poetry to the stage in the midst of a post-World War II surge of realism, sensitively peopling his plays with outsiders at odds with the mob rule that passes for civilization, while also delving into the darker realms of human nature that reflected his own instability. After kicking around the South and putting on local productions, Williams made a major splash in the Big Apple with "The Glass Menagerie" (1945), which announced his arrival as promising Broadway talent. He cemented his place as a giant among men with "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947), which earned him the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Both plays were made into Hollywood movies, though "Streetcar" was better remembered for Marlon Brando's exquisite performance as the brutish Stanley Kowalski. Williams earned a Tony Award for "The Rose Tattoo" (1951) and won his second Pulitzer for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1955), which was turned into an acclaimed 1958 movie starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. From there, his career hit a long downward skid, brought about by years of battling depression with alcohol and prescription drugs. Williams had a minor success with "The Night of the Iguana" (1961), which became a Richard Burton-Ava Gardner film in 1964, but by and large he slipped further into critical decline by this time. Regardless of his personal struggles, Williams remained one of America's most revered playwrights whose reputation only magnified in the years following his death.

Relationships

Walter Dakin

Grandfather
Williams was extremely close to his grandfather, whom he tried to nurse through a series of ever-worsening illnesses Dakin's passing in 1955 left the playwright despondent and, in the opinion of many critics, led to a darkening of his work

Laura Dern Actor

Great-Cousin

Ethan Hawke Actor

Cousin
Hawke's great grandfather and Williams' father were brothers

Diane Ladd Actor

Cousin

Frank Merlo

Companion
died in 1963

Cornelius Williams

Father
came from a prestigious Tennessee family which included the state's first governor and first senator

Edwina Williams

Mother
daughter of a minister model for character of Amanda Wingfield in "The Glass Menagerie"

Dakin Williams

Brother
younger

Rose Williams

Sister
born in 1919 diagnosed as schizophrenic institutionalized in 1943 following a prefrontal lobotomy died on September 6, 1996 in Tarrytown, New York model for Laura in "The Glass Menagerie"

EDUCATION

University of Iowa

Iowa City , Iowa 1938

Washington University

St Louis , Missouri 1936 - 1937

University of Missouri at St Louis

St Louis , Missouri 1929 - 1931

Milestones

1998

First performance of "Not About Nightingales" (directed by Trevor Nunn), a play written in 1938 and thus predating "The Glass Menagerie", at London's National Theatre; actress Vanessa Redgrave had discovered the manuscript; subsequently produced at Housto

1981

Last NYC production, Off-Broadway's "Something Cloudy, Something Clear"

1980

Last Broadway production, "Clothes for a Summer Hotel", about F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

1975

Published autobiography, "Memoirs"; though frank in discussing his homosexuality, book was disappointing in its lack of comment on his dramaturgy

1972

Last stage success, the Off-Broadway premiere of "Small Craft Warnings", called by Variety: "Easily the best drama Off-Broadway this season"; made his stage acting debut when he took over one of the roles after the production had opened

1968

Converted to Roman Catholicism

1962

Received Tony nomination for "The Night of the Iguana", which debuted on Broadway in 1961

1960

Wrote the screenplay for "The Fugitive Kind", based on his play "Orpheus Descending"; also credited for the lyrics of the song "Blanket Roll Blues"

1956

Published first collection of poetry, "In the Winter of Cities"

1956

Garnered a second Oscar nod for the screenplay of "Baby Doll", called by Time magazine "just possibly the dirtiest American picture ever legally exhibited"; the Catholic Legion of Decency condemned the film stating that it "dwells upon carnal sugge

1955

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (directed by Kazan) opened on Broadway; would earn him a 1956 Tony nomination and a second Pulitzer

1953

"Camino Real" closed after less than two months on Broadway, despite gathering an ardent core of admirers; Walter Kerr called it "the worst play yet by the best playwright of his generation"; containing arguably Williams' most gorgeous poetry for the Amer

1952

Revival of "Summer and Smoke" by director Jose Quintero and starring Geraldine Page put Off-Broadway on the map

1951

Received Oscar nomination for screenplay of "A Streetcar Named Desire", helmed by Kazan

1951

Earned Tony Award for "The Rose Tattoo", which made an overnight star of Maureen Stapleton and was later adapted to the screen by Williams in 1955, starring his original choice for the lead role, Anna Magnani

1950

Screenwriting debut with "The Glass Menagerie"

1950

First published work of fiction, the novel "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone", adapted for the screen by Gavin Lambert in 1961

1948

Returned to Broadway with "Summer and Smoke"; show flopped but was a hit Off-Broadway four years later; revised as "Eccentricities of a Nightingale" in 1965

1947

Second Broadway success, "A Streetcar Named Desire", directed by Elia Kazan; earned first Pulitzer Prize in 1948; coaxed Kazan into accepting Marlon Brando for the role of Stanley after the young actor read for him at his Provincetown home in August (and

1944

First Broadway production, "The Glass Menagerie" (starring Laurette Taylor as Amanda in a fabled comeback from alcoholic oblivion), vaulted him to the front ranks of American playwrights; also had a second play on Broadway that year, the rather tepidly-re

1943

"The Glass Menagerie" enjoyed a successful run in Chicago; with no advance sale, the show had nearly closed, but agent Wood convinced the producers to remain open, citing good reviews

1942

Spent some months working as a cinema usher, during which he saw "Casablanca" over and over

1940

First New York production, a student presentation of "The Long Goodbye" at the New Theatre School

1940

"Battle of Angels" produced in Boston; closed after a two-week tryout and excited more interest among the city's censors than in audiences; later revised as "Orpheus Descending", a 1957 Broadway failure; also revived as "Battle of Angels" Off-Broadway dur

1939

Won a special award and $100 from the Group Theater (failed to win first prize) for "American Blues" (four one-act plays published in 1948); entry brought him to the attention of legendary literary agent Audrey Wood who would represent him until 1971; als

1937

His one-act plays "Candles to the Sun" and "The Fugitive Kind" produced by Mummers of St Louis

1935

First play, "Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay", produced in Memphis

1931

Quit college at behest of father to begin work in the warehouse at the International Shoe Company in St Louis

1929

Published "The Vengeance of Nitocris" in Weird Tales

1928

At 16, won third prize and received $5 for an essay, "Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?", in Smart Set

1918

Moved with family to St Louis, Missouri

1917

Suffered from diphtheria and a kidney infection at the age of six (date approximate)

Secured a screenwriting job at MGM through Wood; assigned to a Lana Turner project, "Marriage Is a Private Affair"; instead spent time developing what would become "The Glass Menagerie"; MGM rejected the script (called "The Gentleman Caller") based on his

Family lived for several years in Clarksdale, Mississippi

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