|Birthname||Thomas Lanier Williams III|
|born on||26 March 1911 at 02:30 (= 02:30 AM )|
|Place||Columbus, Mississippi, 33n30, 88w26|
|Timezone||CST h6w (is standard time)|
|Astrology data||04°34' 12°14 Asc. 24°57'|
American writer, poet, and outstanding playwright most noted for his powerful, emotional and dramatic works, "The Glass Menagerie," 1945, "A Streetcar Named Desire," 1947, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," 1955, and "The Night of the Iguana," 1961. He won four New York Drama Critics Circle Awards and two Pulitzer Prizes. Successful films have been made out of a number of his plays. Williams literary output numbers more than 70 plays, 15 screenplays, five books of prose and two books of poems.
Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams III in an Episcopal rectory in Columbus, Mississippi, where his mother’s father was rector. He was one of three children. His sister, Rose, was two years older, and his brother, Dakin, eight years younger. His father, Cornelius Coffin Williams, a traveling salesman, did not approve of his desire to become a writer. Thomas was a sickly child who liked to read. He missed an entire year of school at one point due to a bout with diphtheria that left him with a kidney problem and partial paralysis, which he eventually overcame. His father began calling him "Miss Nancy," referring to his delicate and sissified state. His doting mother gave him a typewriter for his eleventh birthday. With this event, his lifelong passion for writing took hold.
Williams attended the University of Missouri for three years and won many prizes for his fiction and poetry. He started writing plays. His father refused to continue to support Williams because he objected to his career choice. Williams went to business school in St. Louis and worked in a shoe warehouse to support himself. He continued to write in the evenings. The strain of studying, working and writing became too much for him, and in 1935 he suffered an emotional breakdown. It took several months for him to fully recover.
He rebounded and was determined to be a writer. He entered the University of Iowa’s playwriting program and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938. While he was at Iowa, his beloved sister, Rose, who also had experienced emotional problems, had a frontal lobotomy operation. The procedure left her unable to care for herself and she was permanently committed to an institution. He suffered an overwhelming sense of grief and loss over Rose’s illness that never left him.
In 1939, Williams moved to New York and found a literary agent to represent him, moving to a use of the name "Tennessee Williams." His Broadway success began in 1945 when his first play insured his financial and critical acclaim. When avant-garde, absurdist drama became vogue in the 1960s, Williams went against the trend to persist with his own style of realistic artistic work. However, he eventually ventured into surrealism and theater of the absurd with "Vieux Carré ," 1977 and others that were less successful than his earlier works.
Williams had eye surgery in 1940 and again in 1945. In 1947, while living in New Orleans, Williams met and fell in love with Frank Merlo, a second generation Sicilian American. Merlo, who had served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, was a steadying influence in Williams' chaotic life. He was competent at all the everyday chores of life, at which Tennessee was hopeless. He did the driving, the cooking, the packing, the picking-up, everything. They were, as well, not only sexually compatible but comfortable and devoted. But in 1961, Merlo died of lung cancer and the playwright went into a deep depression that lasted for ten years.
During the last decades of his life, he became more and more dependent on alcohol and drugs, while continuing to write. Actually, he struggled with depression throughout most of his life and lived with the constant fear that he would go insane as did his sister Rose, In 1969 his brother committed him to a rehabilitation hospital (for which Williams never forgave him) but the program did not help him resist his addictions. Williams died at the Elysee Hotel in Manhattan at approximately 11:00 PM. on 02/24/1983, under somewhat bizarre or suspicious circumstances. His body was discovered on the floor of his hotel room the next morning by his male secretary. The Chief Medical Examiner said that Williams, who was being treated for heart disease, apparently died of a heart attack. A wine bottle and several pills were found on the floor nearby. Dr. Elliott Gross stated that death was due to choking on the plastic top of a nasal spray or eye solution dispenser. He was nearly seventy-two years old.
Williams was a short, shy, gentle man who dreaded being penniless and wrote every day. An avowed homosexual, he called writing "the fatal need" of his life and once said he was glad to be able to channel a "borderline psychosis" into creativity. He ranked with Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller as one of America’s greatest playwrights.
- friend relationship with Capote, Truman (born 30 September 1924)
- friend relationship with Inge, William (born 3 May 1913)
- Mental Health : Anxiety attack 1935 (Emotional breakdown)
- Mental Health : Depressive episode 1961 (Ten years deep depression after Merlot died)
Gene Lockhart quotes Emma Cates of Florida for data from him, Constellations '77. Bob Prince gives close to the same by five minutes; 2:25 AM from him, in MH 1/1984.
(Drew gave 1914 "sunrise." References from 20 different sources are evenly divided for 1911 and 1914. Joe De Mello quotes Lyle Leveric, "Tom," p.35, for 1911. Leveric writes that Williams' mother and grandmother went to a small clinic hospital while his dad was still preaching the Sunday service and had the baby almost as soon as they got there. He took three years off his age in order to enter a young writer's contest, hence the 1914 that stuck.)
- Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Accident/Injury (Choked to death on bottle cap)
- Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Surgery (Eyes)
- Diagnoses : Psychological : Depression (When Merlot died)
- Diagnoses : Psychological : Nervous Breakdown
- Family : Childhood : Memories Bad (Dad derisive, homophobic)
- Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Second of three)
- Family : Childhood : Sibling circumstances (Sister institutionalized)
- Family : Relationship : Cohabitation more than 3 yrs (Merlo, 14 years)
- Family : Relationship : Married late/never
- Family : Relationship : Mate - Same sex (Long term companion)
- Family : Parenting : Kids none
- Passions : Sexuality : Homosexual male
- Personal : Misc. : Changed name (Changed to Tennessee)
- Vocation : Writers : Playwright/ script
- Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
- Notable : Book Collection : Culture Collection