If you have ever witnessed the work of Tennessee Williams on stage or at the theatre you might wonder "what kind of individual could come up with this stuff? It seems too familiar to him, almost as if he in fact lived through it." Productions such as "The Glass Menagerie" which shows a very dysfunctional family make you wonder if Mr. Williams had just a little bit of insight on the matter. The problems that went on in his household could have in fact been a huge factor in his theatre success and the cause of his mental disturbances. In the following paragraphs I will discuss Mr. Williams family life, his love life and his famous awards and productions.
Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams on March 26, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi. He was a middle child of three children and was often subject to his parents frequent arguments (Williams 10). His father was a shoe salesman and his mother was the daughter of a minister. People believe that Tennessee used his own relationship between his mother as inspiration for the play. His mother allowed a lobotomy to be done on Tennessee's sister, Rose, which greatly disturbed Williams (Rader 23). You see, his mother did not like any of Rose's friends which was the cause of a very lonely childhood, and eventually a nervous breakdown. He took care of her for most of her adult life. He choked to death in 1983 on a bottle cap in his hotel room (Smith 198).
Tennessee was a man of a different taste. He enjoyed the company of men over women. To put it plainly, he was a homosexual. In 1947 he fell in love with a war veteran by the name of Frank Merlot. Merlot was just another influence in Williams" ever growing chaotic life. When Merlot died of lung cancer, Williams went into a deep depression that lasted for the rest of his life (Rader 95). He lived in constant fear that he would go crazy as his sister did before him. He battled with prescription pills and alcohol until he passed (Smith197).