Celebrating Tennessee Williams

The Beginnings

Tennessee Williams started to write when his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri.  At that time his life was undergoing a dramatic shift and instead of going out and learning about his new home, he decided to stay inside and write (which obviously wasn’t a bad thing for society at this point considering what we have gained from it).

He got most of his writing material from his own life and the situations that he was in such as the marriage of his parents which was tense. You can see his mother reborn as Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and his father as Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. We all know that entertainment although fiction is generally based in some sort of reality. The ideas come from somewhere.

His life didn’t improve when he went to college, again being uprooted by his father who didn’t want him studying at the same school as his girlfriend.  So he dropped out of school and got a job (one that he detested) and went back home and continued writing.

But, this eventually lead to a nervous breakdown and depression for Williams. He took some time and then returned to St Louis and went back to school at the University of Iowa and finished his studies this time.


He did find success with his first play and didn’t stop at just one.  His first movie was Orpheus Descending; a movie based upon a failed play which he rewrote.  This ability to turn failure into success drove him on.  A lesson we could all learn from and certainly his key to making it: despite the adversity that he was handed he never gave up and always got back up and did it again until it was right.

Although he did screen writes he was more for the stage writing.  That’s where his heart lay.  His first major success was The Glass Menagerie and then two years later A Streetcar Named Desire surpassed that one. This is when he became known as one of the best playwrights in history. He earned the Drama Critics’ Aware and more than one Pulitzer Prize. He is also known for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, among others.

His Demise

His downfall was not pretty, after many rebounding moments he received negative reviews on a play which led him to turn to alcohol.  One could say it was just that little bit of negativity too much.  He was eventually hospitalized.

Yet again once released from hospital, he wrote more and start going up the path again to greatness until he died a sad death in 1983.  However, his contributions to the stage will never be forgotten as they were monumental in ensuring that people saw heart and emotion on the stage as well as the life of an amazing writer, just put into words and acts.