Born Thomas Lanier Williams, March 26 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi (older sister Rose born 1909). The family moved to St Louis in 1918. In 1937 he learned that a lobotomy has been performed on Rose who, for the rest of his life, is in and out of mental institutions. He died on 24 February 1983 in New York.
In 1939 a short story, A FIELD OF BLUE CHILDREN was the first work to appear under his new name: Tennessee Williams. In the same year he submitted 4 one-act plays CANDLES TO THE SUN, THE FUGITIVE KIND, SPRING STORM and NOT ABOUT NIGHTINGALES to the New York Group Theatres’ American play contest and won a $100 prize. In 1940, with the help of a Rockefeller grant, he completed BATTLE OF ANGELS, later re-written as ORPHEUS DESCENDING (and filmed as THE FUGITIVE KIND in 1959).
THE GLASS MENAGERIE staged in Chicago in 1944 and New York in 1945 where it won the NY Drama Critics’ Award (film 1950).
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, starring Jessica Tandy and Marlon Brando and directed by Elia Kazan staged in New York in 1947, winning NY Drama Critics’ Award and Pulitzer Prize (staged in London 1949; film 1951).
SUMMER AND SMOKE directed by Margo Jones, staged in New York (London 1952, film 1961)(subsequently revised extensively under the title ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE)
THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS STONE,his first novel, published in 1950 (film 1961)
THE ROSE TATTOO, with Maureen Stapleton and Eli Wallach, directed by Daniel Mann, first performed at the Erlanger Theatre, Chicago and opened at the Martin Beck Theatre, New York in 1951(film 1955).
CAMINO REAL with Eli Wallach and Barbara Baxley, directed by Elia Kazan opened in New York in 1953 (London 1957, directed by Peter Hall).
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF with Barbara Bel Geddes, directed by Elia Kazan opened in New York in 1955, winning NY Drama Critics’ Award and Pulitzer Prize (London 1958 directed by Peter Hall, film 1958).
BABY DOLL (film) released in 1956.
ORPHEUS DESCENDING staged in New York in 1957 with Maureen Stapleton, directed by Harold Clurman (London 1959).
SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER staged in New York in 1958 (film 1959).
PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT staged in New York (London 1962).
THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA with Bette Davis, directed by Frank Corsaro staged in New York in 1961, winning NY Drama Critics’ Award (London 1965, film 1964).
SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH (film) with Geraldine Page and Paul Newman released in 1962. Tennessee Williams appears on the cover of Time magazine, which hails him as “the greatest living playwright anywhere”.
THE MILK TRAIN DOESN’T STOP HERE ANY MORE staged in New York in 1963 (London 1968).
THE TWO CHARACTER PLAY opened at Hampstead Theatre, London in 1967.
SEVEN DESCENTS OF MYRTLE (also know as KINGDOM OF EARTH) directed by Jose Quintero staged in New York in 1968.
IN THE BAR OF A TOKYO HOTEL staged in New York in 1969.
SMALL CRAFT WARNINGS, with Tennessee Williams playing Doc, staged in New York in 1972 (London 1973).
OUTCRY (a revised version of THE TWO CHARACTER PLAY) staged in New York in 1973.
MOISE AND THE WORLD OF REASON, his second novel and his MEMOIRS published in 1975.
RED DEVIL BATTERY SIGN with Anthony Quinn staged in Boston in 1975 (London 1977).
VIEUX CARRE staged in New York in 1977 (London 1978).
A LOVELY SUNDAY FOR CREVE COEUR staged in New York in 1979
CLOTHES FOR A SUMMER HOTEL staged in New York in 1980.
SOMETHING CLOUDY, SOMETHING CLEAR staged in New York in 1981
NOT ABOUT NIGHTINGALES World Premiere, Royal National Theatre 1998
He also wrote many short plays, of which the best known include TALK TO ME LIKE THE RAIN AND LET ME LISTEN, THIS PROPERTY IS CONDEMNED, PORTRAIT OF A MADONNA, TWENTY SEVEN WAGONS FULL OF COTTON and THE LADY OF LARKSPUR LOTION.
ALL GAUL IS DIVIDED (early version of A LOVELY SUNDAY FOR CREVE COEUR)
THE LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND
ONE ARM (also a short story)
BABY DOLL (related to 27 WAGONS & THE UNSATISFACTORY SUPPER)
THE GENTLEMAN CALLER (with short story PORTRAIT OF A GIRL IN GLASS the basis for THE GLASS MENAGERIE)
As well as the novels he published 2 poetry collections and 6 volumes of short stories, now available as THE COLLECTED STORIES OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS published by New Directions.