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Tennessee Williams

Satisfactory Essays
Tennessee Williams

Thomas (Tennessee) Lanier Williams born March 26, 1911 in Columbus,

Mississippi. The second of three kids. His father a shoe salesman and his mother the

daughter of a preacher. Williams lived a family life of turmoil. His family often

engaged in violent arguments during his youth. Williams got his first taste of fame in

1929 when he took third place in a national essay contest. Williams started college at

the University of Missouri until his father forced him to quit and go to work for his

father’s shoe factory. Later Williams returned to college in 1937 and where he

resumed the writing of plays.

Williams had two of his plays, Candles to the Sun and The Fugitive Kind,

produced by Mummers of St. Louis, and in 1938. Williams graduated from the

University of Iowa. Williams then went to Chicago in search of work, failing, he then

moved to New Orleans and changed his name from Tom to Tennessee which was the

state of his father's birth. In 1939, the young playwright received a $1,000

Rockefeller Grant. In 1944, what many consider to be his best play, The Glass

Menagerie, had a very successful run in Chicago, and a year later worked its way onto

Broadway. People think that Williams used his own family relationships as plots for

the play.

The Glass Menagerie won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best

play of the season. Williams followed up his first major critical success with several

other Broadway hits including such plays as A Streetcar Named Desire, Summer and

Smoke, A Rose Tattoo, and Camino Real. He received his first Pulitzer Prize in 1948

for A Streetcar Named Desire, and reached an even larger world-wide audience in

1950 and 1951 when The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire were made

into major motion pictures. Later plays which were also made into motion pictures

include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof , which he earned a second Pulitzer Prize in 1955.

Williams struggled with depression throughout most of his life. For much of

his life, he battled addictions to prescription drugs and alcohol. February 24, 1983,

Tennessee Williams choked to death on a bottle cap at his New York City residence

at the Hotel Elysee. He is buried in St. Louis, Missouri.

Williams play, The Glass Menagerie, is about the Wingfeild family, the

mother Amanda and here two children Tom and Laura. Amanda has a life that is

centered around finding a gentleman friend for her daughter Laura, a husband.