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Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams NYWTS.jpg
Williams photographed by Orland Fernandez in 1965 for the 20th anniversary ofThe Glass Menagerie .

Born

Thomas Lanier Williams III
March 26, 1911
Columbus, Mississippi, U.S.

Died

February 25, 1983
New York, New York, U.S.

Cause of death

Choking

Resting place

Calvary CemeterySt. Louis, Missouri, U.S.

Nationality

American

Education

University of Iowa

Years active

1930–83

Height

5 ft 5 in

Partner

Pancho Rodríguez y González Frank Merlo Robert Carroll

Signature

Tennessee Williams signature.svg

Thomas Lanier Williams III , known by his pen name Tennessee Williams, was an American playwright. Along with contemporaries Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, he is considered among the three foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama.

After years of obscurity, at age 33 he became suddenly famous with the success of The Glass Menagerie in New York City. This play closely reflected his own unhappy family background. It was the first of a string of successes, including A Streetcar Named Desire , Cat on a Hot Tin Roof , and Sweet Bird of Youth . With his later work, he attempted a new style that did not appeal to audiences. Increasing alcohol and drug dependence inhibited his creative expression. His drama A Streetcar Named Desire is often numbered on short lists of the finest American plays of the 20th century alongside Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.

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Discover Tennessee Williams Quotes and Sayings

We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life. - Tennessee Williams

We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life.

Tennessee Williams

alone
When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone. - Tennessee Williams

When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone.

Tennessee Williams

alone
All good art is an indiscretion. - Tennessee Williams

All good art is an indiscretion.

Tennessee Williams

art
Time rushes towards us with its hospital tray of infinitely varied narcotics, even while it is preparing us for its inevitably fatal operation. - Tennessee Williams

Time rushes towards us with its hospital tray of infinitely varied narcotics, even while it is preparing us for its inevitably fatal operation.

Tennessee Williams

death
Mendacity is a system that we live in. Liquor is one way out an death's the other. - Tennessee Williams

Mendacity is a system that we live in. Liquor is one way out an death's the other.

Tennessee Williams

death
Death is one moment, and life is so many of them. - Tennessee Williams

Death is one moment, and life is so many of them.

Tennessee Williams

death
Success and failure are equally disastrous. - Tennessee Williams

Success and failure are equally disastrous.

Tennessee Williams

success failure
I have always been pushed by the negative. The apparent failure of a play sends me back to my typewriter that very night, before the reviews are out. I am more compelled to get back to work than if I had a success. - Tennessee Williams

I have always been pushed by the negative. The apparent failure of a play sends me back to my typewriter that very night, before the reviews are out. I am more compelled to get back to work than if I had a success.

Tennessee Williams

work success failure
The future is called 'perhaps,' which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the important thing is not to allow that to scare you. - Tennessee Williams

The future is called 'perhaps,' which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the important thing is not to allow that to scare you.

Tennessee Williams

future
All of us are guinea pigs in the laboratory of God. Humanity is just a work in progress. - Tennessee Williams

All of us are guinea pigs in the laboratory of God. Humanity is just a work in progress.

Tennessee Williams

work god
To be free is to have achieved your life. - Tennessee Williams

To be free is to have achieved your life.

Tennessee Williams

life
I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people really. - Tennessee Williams

I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people really.

Tennessee Williams

life
Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going. - Tennessee Williams

Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.

Tennessee Williams

life
You can be young without money; but you can't be old without it. - Tennessee Williams

You can be young without money; but you can't be old without it.

Tennessee Williams

money
In memory everything seems to happen to music. - Tennessee Williams

In memory everything seems to happen to music.

Tennessee Williams

music
The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks. - Tennessee Williams

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.

Tennessee Williams

nature