Monday, March 26, 2007

Author Birthdays

March 26

Tennessee Williams

Playwright, born in Columbus, Mississippi, USA. From an old Tennessee family (he adopted his first name by 1939 while in New Orleans), he was raised under the influence of his clergyman-grandfather. Moving with his family to St Louis (1913), he went on to several colleges, graduating from the State University of Iowa (1938). He moved around the country for many years, worked at odd jobs while he wrote short plays, had occasional productions in community theatres, and worked briefly as a scriptwriter for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1943). He gained sudden success with the New York production of The Glass Menagerie (1945), and his next and greatest success came with A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), which won a Pulitzer Prize. Although his life was marked by personal disarray, mental stress, and drug addiction, he enjoyed long-term relationships with male companions, and continued to be productive. In 1968 he converted to Catholicism. His later plays include Summer and Smoke (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1950), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955, Pulitzer Prize), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), and Night of the Iguana (1961). He also published two novels and a fair amount of poetry. Several of his plays were made into successful films, but his later works were not well received and he became disaffected from the New York professional theatre. His best work is distinguished by a poetry, intensity, and compassion that guarantee him a permanent place as a major artist-dramatist. He died by choking on the cap of a bottle of pills.

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