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Tennessee Williams
Thomas Lanier Williams III [1911-1983]

smiling Tennessee Williams wearing furry cap          short profile



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works about
Tennessee Williams

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"Williams explained that the sole theme of his work is 'the destructive impact of society
on the non-conformist individual'. His characters include big dreamers, daring women,
and a host of others who fall victim to norms and traditions."
— The Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin

          B I O

          t e x t

          h e r e

Tennessee Williams received
four New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best American Play, 1945-62
the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for "A Streetcar Named Desire", 1948
2 Tony Awards for Best Play & Best Author for "The Rose Tattoo", 1951
nominations for 2 Academy Awards for Best Screenplay, 1952 & 1957
nominations for 2 W.G.A. Awards, 1952 & 1957
the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof", 1955
a Sant Jordi Special Award, 1957
a cover story in TIME Magazine's 9 March 1962 issue
a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Jimmy Carter, 1980
and is pictured on a 32¢ U.S. commemorative postage stamp issued 13 October 1995

Tennessee Williams entry at Wikipedia
browse Tennessee Williams Store {returns 120+ titles} at Amazon
Tennessee Williams credits [since 1948] at Internet Movie Database
Tennessee Williams credits [since 1945] at Internet Broadway Database
browse Tennessee Williams on DVD at Amazon

Stageplays  by  Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams credits [since 1945] at Internet Broadway Database

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Library of America Tennessee Williams  Tennessee Williams: Plays, 1937-1955 [2000] Edited by Mel Gussow
Library of America 8x5¼ hardcover [10/2000] for $26.40
includes "Spring Storm" [1937], "Not About Nightingales" [1938], "The Glass Menagerie" [1944], Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Streetcar Named Desire" [1947], "Summer and Smoke" [1948], "The Rose Tattoo"
[1951], "Camino Real" [1953], Pulitzer Prize-winning "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" [1955] & 12 other plays

Tennessee Williams: Plays, 1957-1980 [2000] Edited by Mel Gussow
Library of America 8x5¼ hardcover [10/2000] for $26.40
includes "Orpheus Descending" [1957], "Suddenly, Last Summer" [1958], "Sweet Bird of Youth" [1959], "Period of Adjustment" [1960], "The Night of The Iguana" [1961], "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" [1963], "The Mutilated" [1966], "Kingdom of Earth" [1968], "Small Craft Warnings" [1972], "Out Cry" [1973], "Vieux Carré" [1977] & "A Lovely Sunday For Creve Coeur" [1979]

"The Magic Tower and Other One-Act Plays" [] by Tennessee Williams

"Mister Paradise and Other One-Act Plays" [] by Tennessee Williams

"The Traveling Companion & Other Plays" [] by Tennessee Williams

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wrote his first play "Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay!" in 1935

"Candles To The Sun" [1936]

"Spring Storm" [1937]

"Me Vaysha" (1937]

"Fugitive Kind" [1937]

"Not About Nightingales" [1938]

"A Battle of Angels" failed in Boston during tryouts in 1940; later reworked as
"Orpheus Descending" which debuted on Broadway in 1957

"I Rise In Flame, Cried The Phoenix" [1941]

"The Glass Menagerie" [1944]
began as a screenplay treatment entitled "The Gentleman Caller", rejected in 1941 by L.B. Mayer
at M.G.M. Studios; Williams turned it into his first Broadway success
1944-1945 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play

"Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie" (Broadway Theatre Archive) []
starring Katharine Hepburn, Sam Waterston, Joanna Miles

"Orpheus Descending" [1945]

"You Touched Me" [1945]

"This Property Is Condemned" [1946 and 1953] + movie

"A Streetcar Named Desire" [1947] the 1951 movie won three Oscars
won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama
working title for "Streetcar" was "The Poker Night"
1947-1948 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play

"Stairs To The Roof" [1947]

"Summer and Smoke" [1948]

"The Rose Tattoo" [1951]

"Camino Real" [1953]

"Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" [1955] six Oscar noms
1954-1955 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play
won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama

"Orpheus Descending" revised [1957]

"Suddenly, Last Summer" [1958]

"Sweet Bird of Youth" [1959]

"Period of Adjustment" [1960]

"The Night of The Iguana" [1961]
1961-1962 New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best American Play

"The Eccentricities of A Nightingale" [1962 rewriting of 'Summer and Smoke']

"The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" [1963]

"The Mutilated" [1966]

"The Seven Descents of Myrtle" aka "Kingdom of Earth" [1968]

"In The Bar of A Tokyo Hotel" [1969]

"Will Mr. Merriweather Return From Memphis?" [1969]

"Small Craft Warnings" [1972]

"The Two-Character Play" (1973)

"Out Cry" [1973 rewriting of 'The Two-Character Play']

"The Red Devil Battery Sign" [1975]

"This Is (An Entertainment)" [1976]

"Vieux Carré" [1977]

"A Lovely Sunday For Creve Coeur" [1979]

"Clothes For A Summer Hotel" [1980]

"The Notebook of Trigorin" [1980]

"Something Cloudy, Something Clear" [1981]

"A House Not Meant To Stand" [1982]

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"In Masks Outrageous and Austere" [2008]
During 2007 & 2008, Gore Vidal [1925-2012] worked on completing an unfinished play by his friend Tennessee Williams.
The play is about cutthroat corporate society; Peter Bogdanovich was set to direct the play on Broadway.

Fiction  by  Tennessee Williams
browse Tennessee Williams Store {returns 120+ titles} at Amazon

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first published story "The Vengeance of Nitocris" in 1928 magazine "Weird Tales"

"The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" [1950 novel]
Dec 1961 feature film starring Vivien Leigh, Warren Beatty, Lotte Lenya, Coral Browne

"The Knightly Quest: A novella & twelve short stories" [1968]

"Eight Mortal Ladies Possessed; A Book of Stories" [October 1, 1974]

"Moise and The World of Reason" [1975 novel]

Collected Stories of Tennessee Williams book  "Tennessee Williams: Collected Stories" [50 stories 1985]
Introduction by Gore Vidal

New Directions Publng 9x6 pb [4/94] for $16.36
Ballantine Books mass pb [10/86] out of print/many used
New Directions Publng 9x6½ hardcover [10/86] out of print/many used

Other  Works  by  Tennessee  Williams

"In The Winter of Cities" [poems 1956]

1975 memoir

"Androgyne, Mon Amour" [poems 1977]

Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams book edited by David Roessel & Nicholas Moschovakis  "The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams" [2002]
Edited by David Roessel & Nicholas Moschovakis

New Directions Publng 9x6 pb with audio CD [4/2007] for $14.78
New Directions Publng 9½x6 hardcover [4/2002] out of print/used
Notebooks by Tennessee Williams  "Tennessee Williams: Notebooks" [2007]
Edited by Margaret Bradham Thornton

Yale Univ Press 9¼x6¼ hardcover [1/2007] for $29.20

"Five O'clock Angel: Letters of Tennesse..." [] by Tennessee Williams

"Selected Letters: Volume II, 1945-1957" [] by Tennessee Williams

"New Selected Essays: Where I Live (Revised)..." [] by Tennessee Williams

"Conversations with Tennessee Williams" []

"Stopped Rocking and Other Screenplays" []

Movies & Television,  Other  Media
Tennessee Williams credits [since 1948] at Internet Movie Database
browse Tennessee Williams on DVD at Amazon

"Baby Doll" [1956] original script by Tennessee Williams, based on the play "27 Wagons
Full of Cotton"; directed by Elia Kazan, starring Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach

"The Migrants" episode of "Playhouse 90" [CBS-TV Feb 1974]
The Migrants TV movie  The life of a migrant worker includes owing the work contractor for over-priced food and giving birth in a tent in the middle of a field; when the son takes a night job in a cannery to make extra money for the family, he meets a local girl who dreams of a better life (as he secretly does) and the stability of the family is threatened. Co-produced & directed by Tom Gries; script by Lanford Wilson, based on a story idea by Tennessee Williams; starring Cloris Leachman, Ron Howard, Sissy Spacek, Cindy Williams, Ed Lauter; nominated for 6 Emmy Awards (no wins)
Monterey Home Video color VHS [9/94] for $3.90
full credits at IMDb

Tennessee Williams Film Collection DVD box set  "Tennessee Williams Film Collection" DVD Box Set [2006]
Warner Home Video widescreen b&w/color DVD [5/2006] for $29.99
contains 6 feature films on 7 disks: "A Streetcar Named Desire" [1951] 2-Disc Special Edition directed by Elia Kazan, starring Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter; "Baby Doll" [1956] original script by Tennessee Williams, directed by Elia Kazan, starring Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach; "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" [1958] Deluxe Edition directed by Richard Brooks, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives; "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" [1961] directed by José Quintero, starring Vivien Leigh, Warren Beatty, Jill St. John; "Sweet Bird of Youth" [1962] directed by Richard Brooks, starring Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, Shirley Knight; and "The Night of The Iguana" [1964] directed by John Huston, starring Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr; extras include commentaries, theatrical trailer galleries, movie & audio outtakes, 3 screen tests, 11 featurettes, and feature-length documentary "Elia Kazan: A Director's Journey"

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Voices of Our Time audio CD set  "Voices of Our Time: Five Decades of Studs Terkel Interviews" [1999]
48 live radio interviews by 'Studs' Terkel on WFMT in Chicago

Highbridge UNABR audio CD set [6/2005] 6 disks/7½ hours for $19.77
Highbridge UNABR audio cassettes [3/99] 7½ hours - out of prodn/used
the 48 interviewees are Dr. Mortimer J. Adler, auteur Woody Allen, Isabel Allende, auteur Robert Altman, Laurie Anderson, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, Jacob Bronowski, Mel Brooks, John Cage, Betty Carter, Aaron Copland, Simone de Beauvoir (1963), Ralph Ellison, Daniel Ellsberg, [blacklistee] John Henry Faulk, Dame Margot Fonteyn, thinker R. Buckminster Fuller, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, Nadine Gordimer, Stephen Jay Gould, David Hockney, Robert Hughes, Mahalia Jackson, Garrison Keillor, Alan Lomax, Barry Lopez, Norman Maclean, Margaret Mead, playwright Arthur Miller, Toni Morrison, Zero Mostel, Bill Moyers, Dorothy Parker, Bertrand Russell, Dr. Oliver Sacks, Pete Seeger, Andres Segovia, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Wole Soyinka, Calvin Trillin, Kenneth Tynan, Gore Vidal, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Garry Wills, and Bob Woodward

Essential Tennessee Williams spoken word audio CD  "Essential Tennessee Williams" spoken word CD [2007]
Caedmon Essentials audio CD [2/2007] for $10.36
1-hour CD includes readings by Tennessee Williams of the opening monologue & the tragic ending of his stageplay "The Glass Menagerie" (circa 1952); a collection of his light and charming poetry; and his uproariously wicked short story "The Yellow Bird"
Spoken Word: American Writers from The British Library  "The Spoken Word: American Writers" [2008] compiled by Richard Fairman
The British Library audio CD set [10/2008] 3 disks for $23.10
interviewees include James Baldwin, Pearl Buck, Raymond Chandler (interviewed by Ian Fleming), Ralph Ellison, F. Scott Fitz-gerald, Lillian Hellman, Sinclair Lewis, Arthur Miller, Eugene O'Neill (reading from "Long Day's Journey Into Night"), Gertrude Stein, John Steinbeck (on "The Grapes of Wrath"), and Tennessee Williams

Works About Tennessee Williams

Remember Me To Tom memoir by Edwina Dakin Williams  "Remember Me To Tom" [1963]
memoir by TW's mother Edwina Dakin Williams, as told to Lucy Freeman

G.P. Putnam's Sons 8¼x5¾ hardcover [1963] out of print/used
Kindness of Strangers Tennessee Williams biography by Donald Spoto  "The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams" [1985]
by Donald Spoto

Da Capo Press 9x6 pb [9/97] for $18.95
Ballantine mass pb [3/86] out of print/many used
Little, Brown hardcover [3/85] out of print/many used
Tennessee Williams & Elia Kazan Collaboration book by Brenda Murphy  
"Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan: A Collaboration In The Theatre" [2006]
by Brenda Murphy

Cambridge Univ Press 8¾x5¾ pb [12/2006] for $50.00

see also Magic Lantern's Elia Kazan [1909-2003] Page

Walking On Glass memoir Kindle book by Scott Keenan  "Walking On Glass: A Memoir of The Later Days of Tennessee Williams" [2011]
by Scott Kenan, former assistant to Tennessee Williams

Kindle Edition from Alyson Books [8/2011] for $8.95

Outlaw Marriages / Same-Sex Couples book by Rodger Streitmatter  "Outlaw Marriages: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples" [2012]
by Rodger Streitmatter

chapters/subjects include: Walt Whitman & Peter Doyle, 1865-1892; Martha Carey Thomas & Mamie Gwinn, 1878-1904; Ned Warren & John Marshall, 1884-1927; Mary Rozet Smith & Jane Addams, 1891-1934; Bessie Marbury & Elsie de Wolfe, 1892-1933; J.C. Leyendecker & Charles Beach, 1901-51; Alice B. Toklas & Gertrude Stein, 1907-46; Janet Flanner & Solita Solano, 1919-75; Greta Garbo & Mercedes de Acosta, 1931-60; Aaron Copland & Victor Kraft, 1932-76; Frank Merlo & Tennessee Williams, 1948-1963; James Baldwin & Lucien Happersberger, 1949-87; Robert Rauschenberg & Jasper Johns, 1954-62; Ismail Merchant & James Ivory, 1961-2005; and Frances Clayton & Audre Lorde, 1968-1988
Kindle Edition from Beacon Press [5/2012] for $13.99
Beacon Press pb [DUE Feb 2013] for $10.88
Beacon Press 9¼x6¼ hardcover [5/2012] for $17.79

"Tennessee Williams In Provincetown" [] by David Kaplan

"The World of Tennessee Williams" [] by Kenneth Holditch

"Waiting For Tennessee: an account of the pre..." [] by Dale Andrew White $1.10

"Tom: The Unknown Tennesse Williams" [] by Lyle Leverich

"Tennessee Williams and Company: His Essential Scree..." [] by John DiLeo

"Gentlemen Callers: Tennessee Williams, Homosexu..." [] by Michael Paller

"Tennessee Williams: Everyone Else Is an Audi..." [] by Mr. Ronald Hayman

"Tenn at One Hundred: The Reputation of Tennessee..." by David Kaplan

"The Ultimate Seduction" [Doubleday 1984] by Charlotte Chandler ISBN 0-3851-8953-2

"Costly Performances: Tennessee Williams - The Last Stage" []
authorized biographical work by Bruce Smith dealing with the last four years of Williams' life

"Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh" [W.W. Norton 2014] 9780393021240
by John Lahr of New Yorker Magazine

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Confessions of a Nightingale playscript by Charlotte Chandler & Ray Stricklyn  "Confessions of A Nightingale" one-man stageplay [1986?]
by Charlotte Chandler & Ray Stricklyn

Samuel French. Inc. 7x4¾ pb [6/87] out of print/used
Hollywood publicist Ray Stricklyn [1928-2002] worked with biographer Charlotte Chandler to construct a one-hour one-man play; Stricklyn portrayed Tennessee in what was a planned 4-weekend stint at the Beverly Hills Playhouse that stretched out to a year. The show was taken to the Jack Lawrence Theater in New York City, toured the U.S.A. for another year, and was performed at the Edinburgh Festival.
Roman Nights 2002 stageplay by Franco D'Alessandro  "Roman Nights" stageplay [2002] by Franco D'Alessandro
Internationally-acclaimed two-person play about the turbulent & inspirational friendship between Tennessee Williams and Italian actress Anna Magnani; premiered Off-Broadway in 2002, then was produced in London [2004] and Prague [2006], then toured Europe for four years. D'Alessandro has also created alternate version "Tennessee & Anna" [2011], and a solo work "Pieces of Anna" [2011] in which Eva Minemar will direct Italian actress Lidia Vitale
official website of the playsauthor's official website

"Mr. Williams and Miss Wood" two-character play [1989] written by Max Wilk
42 pages, Dramatists Playservice (1990), ASIN: B0006EYAJW (Note: NOT an ISBN). This tribute to Audrey Wood and Tennessee Williams received
staged readings at the National Playwrights Conference of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and New Dramatists in 1989

"The Screen Director" [A.M.P.A.S./Warner Bros. March 1951]
Clips include Frank Capra, Michael Curtiz, John Ford, John Huston, Elia Kazan, Burt Lancaster, Ida Lupino, Joseph L. Mankiewicz,
John Wayne, Tennessee Williams, William Wyler, and Jane Wyman • VHS/DVD/Blu-ray not available • credits at IMDb

Tennessee Williams' South docufilm by Harry Rasky  "Tennessee Williams' South" [Canada/USA 1973]
80-minute docufilm produced, written & directed by Harry Rasky; featuring Tennessee Williams, with filmed performances by John Colicos, Colleen Dewhurst, William Hutt, Burl Ives, James Naughton, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Carol Williard & Michael York
Warner Bros. color DVD [2006] for $5.81
full credits at IMDb
Tennessee Williams, Orpheus of The American Stage on VHS  "Tennessee Williams: Orpheus of The American Stage" episode of "American Masters"
[WNET-TV Dec 1994]

Co-produced & directed by Merrill Brockway, narrated by Frank Langella
DVD/Blu-ray not available
Films For the Humanities & Sciences school license VHS [undated] out of prodn/scarce
full credits at IMDb
Tennessee Williams Wounded Genius episode of A&E Biography  "Tennessee Williams: Wounded Genius" [A&E Biography 1990s]
50-minute docufilm featuring Kim Hunter, Anne Jackson, biographer Donald Spoto, Eli Wallach & brother Dakin Williams; with archive footage of Tennessee Williams, Helena Carroll, Candy Darling, and David Frost; with performance clips of Gertrude Lawrence, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jane Wyman
A&E Home Video color DVD [4/2005] for $22.49
A&E Home Video color VHS [7/99] for $9.39
full credits at IMDb
Great Writers Tennessee Williams  
"Great Writers: Tennessee Williams" [indep 2001]
Kultur Video 90-minute color DVD [5/2006] for $17.99
Kultur Video 90-minute color VHS [5/2001] for $3.64
not listed on IMDb

"Lonely Hunter" feature film [Full Moon Films mo 2018?]
Announced 10/2011: Co-producers Troy Johanson & Blair Breard and co-producer, co-writer & director Deborah Kampmeier signed Jena Malone to portray Carson McCullers in a feature film of the 'Southern gothic' writer's life story; added 5/2012: Logan Marshall Green will portray Tennessee Williams (who was McCuller’s best friend and longtime confidant};
update 2017: still 'in development' • latest info at IMDb

Family  &  Friends
Thomas Lanier Williams III was born in March 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi; his 1944 stageplay "The Glass Menagerie" brought sudden
and lasting fame; he lived in New York City, New Orleans, Italy, and in Key West, Florida; he died in February 1983 at age 71.

father Cornelius Coffin 'C.C.' Williams []

estranged for years from his mother Edwina Dakin Williams []
brother Walter Dakin Williams [1919-2008]
sister Rose Williams [born ?, lobotomized in 1937, died 1996]

distant cousin Rose Diane Lanier (aka actress Diane Ladd), mother of actress Laura Dern

lover Canadian dancer Kip Kiernan [1918–44], circa 1940

lover Pancho Rodriguez y Gonzales [] circa 1945-47, remained friends into the 1970s

lover Frank Phillip Merlo [1922-63], circa 1948-63

assistant & friend Scott Kenan, 1981-83

friend & inspiration Anna Magnani [1908-73]

best friend and longtime confidant to Carson McCullers [1917-67]

longtime friend Gore Vidal [1925-2012]

L i n k s
Tennessee Williams entry at Wikipedia
browse Tennessee Williams Store {returns 120+ titles} at Amazon
Tennessee Williams credits [since 1948] at Internet Movie Database
Tennessee Williams credits [since 1945] at Internet Broadway Database
browse Tennessee Williams on DVD at Amazon

Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans, LA
Ole Miss Tennessee Williams site

Tennessee Williams cover story in TIME Magazine 9 March 1962 issue

Online sales in association with  browse Tennessee Williams Store {returns 120+ items} at Amazon

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