Tennessee williams

Tennessee Williams

  • Thomas Lanier Williams III is Born

    Thomas Lanier Williams III is Born
    Born March 26, 1911, in Colombus, Mississippi, as Thomas Lanier Williams III. He was the second child of three. His father was a salesman who was drunk and often away from home, and his mother was a music teacher. He lived with his grandparents for most of his childhood.
  • Near Death Experience

    When he was five, Williams almost died from a case of diphtheria (a contagious bacterial disease, it effect the throat causing issues with eating, breathing, and swallowing). This illness left him weak and stuck in his house during a year of recovery. Becuase of his frail health state, he was considered weak by his father.
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    High School

    Williams attended Soldan High School.
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    Beginning of his writing career

    At age 16, Williams won third prize for an essay titled "Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?" A year later, his short story "The Vengeance of Nitocris" was published in the August 1928 issue of the magazine Weird Tales.
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    University of Missouri

    Enrolled in journalism classes, but he was bored by them. In his junior year, his father pulled him out of school and put him to work at the International Shoe Company factory.
  • Alpha Tau Omega

    Alpha Tau Omega
    Joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, but he did not fit in well with his fraternity brothers.
  • First play submission

    First play submission
    His first submitted play was "Beauty Is the Word." He became the first freshman to receive an honorable mention in a writing competition.
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    New Deal Era

    The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted in the United States between 1933 and 1938.
  • Nervous breakdown

    Nervous breakdown
    By his 24th birthday, Williams had a nervous breakdown and left his job at the shoe factory.
  • Washington University

    Washington University
    Williams enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis where he wrote the play Me, Vashya (1937). After not winning the school's poetry prize, he decided to drop out.
  • University of Iowa

    University of Iowa
    In the autumn of 1937, he transferred to the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he graduated with a B.A. in English in August 1938.
  • Williams gets an agent

    Williams gets an agent
    He proved to be a good writer which landed him an agent, Audrey Wood, who would become his friend and adviser.
  • Battle of angels

    Battle of angels
    Williams was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for this play. It was produced in Boston, Massachusetts, 1940 and was poorly received.
  • Moved to New Orleans

    Moved to New Orleans
    He changed his name (Tennessee) and changed his lifestyle, taking on city life.
  • Works Progress Administration (WPA)

     Works Progress Administration (WPA)
    He moved to New Orleans to write for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federally funded program of the New Deal era.
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    World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in history, involving more than 30 countries. Sparked by the 1939 Nazi invasion of Poland, the war dragged on for six bloody years until the Allies defeated the Axis powers of Nazi Germany, Japan and Italy in 1945.
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio

    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio
    The Rockefeller grant brought him to the attention of the Hollywood film industry, and Williams received a six-month contract as a writer, earning $250 weekly.
  • First award- Best play of the season

    First award- Best play of the season
    The Glass Menagerie won the best play of the season, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award.
  • The Glass Menagerie

    The Glass Menagerie
    The Glass Menagerie, a play he'd been working for some years, opened on Broadway. Originally produced in Chicago, it garnered good reviews. It moved to New York, where it became an instant hit and enjoyed a long Broadway run.
  • A Streetcar Named Desire

    A Streetcar Named Desire
    The massive success of his next play, cemented his reputation as a great playwright in 1947.
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    Moving frequently

    He moved often to stimulate his writing, living in New York, New Orleans, Key West, Rome, Barcelona, and London. Williams wrote, "Only some radical change can divert the downward course of my spirit, some startling new place or people to arrest the drift, the drag."
  • First Pulitzer Prize

    First Pulitzer Prize
    A Streetcar Named Desire opened, surpassing his previous success and cementing his status as one of the country's best playwrights. The play also earned Williams a Drama Critics' Award and his first Pulitzer Prize.
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    Seven Broadway Plays

    Williams had seven of his plays produced on Broadway: Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Camino Real (1953), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Orpheus Descending (1957), Garden District (1958), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959).
  • Motion picture Adapations

    Motion picture Adapations
    Williams's work reached wider audiences in the early 1950s when The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire were adapted into motion pictures. Later plays also adapted for the screen included Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', The Rose Tattoo, Orpheus Descending, The Night of the Iguana, Sweet Bird of Youth, and Summer and Smoke.
  • Awards

    By 1959, he had earned two Pulitzer Prizes, three New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, three Donaldson Awards, and a Tony Award.
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    Decline in Writing Quality

    In the 1960s and 1970s. Although he continued to write every day, the quality of his work suffered from his increasing alcohol and drug consumption.
  • Depression

    Williams was consumed by depression over the loss of his long-term boyfriend and collaborator, Frank Merlo. He was in and out of treatment facilities while under the control of his mother and brother Dakin, and Williams spiraled downward.
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    box office failures

    From 1967 to 1980, his plays did not meet Hollywood standards. Kingdom of Earth (1967), In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel (1969), Small Craft Warnings (1973), The Two Character Play (also called Out Cry, 1973), The Red Devil Battery Sign (1976), Vieux Carré (1978), Clothes for a Summer Hotel (1980), and others were all box office failures.
  • St. Louis Literary Award

    St. Louis Literary Award
    In 1974, Williams received the St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Library Associates.
  • American Theater Hall of Fame

    American Theater Hall of Fame
    In 1979, four years before his death, he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
  • A House Not Meant to Stand

    A House Not Meant to Stand
    His last play, A House Not Meant to Stand, was produced in Chicago in 1982. Despite largely positive reviews, it ran for only 40 performances.
  • Death

    On February 25, 1983, Williams was found dead at age 71 in his suite at the Hotel Elysée in New York City.