Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III (March 26, 1911 February 25, 1983) was an American author from Mississippi,note who worked principally as a playwright in the American theater. He also wrote short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs. His professional career lasted from the mid-1930s until his death in 1983, and saw the creation of many plays that are regarded as classics of the American stage. Williams adapted much of his best-known work for the cinema.
Fun fact: actor Ethan Hawke is his great-nephew.
His work includes:
- Baby Doll
- Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
- The Glass Menagerie
- The Night Of The Iguana
- Period Of Adjustment
- The Rose Tattoo
- A Streetcar Named Desire
- Suddenly, Last Summer
- Summer And Smoke
- Sweet Bird Of Youth
Tropes in the works of Tennessee Williams:
- Barefoot Loon: Carol Cutrere from Orpheus Descending is a resident free spirit who walks barefooted.
- Disowned Adaptation: Happened to Williams a lot. Many of Williams' plays dealt directly with themes of homosexuality, which could not be so much as hinted at under The Hays Code of The Golden Age of Hollywood. Williams famously stood outside a theater showing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and told would-be moviegoers to go home.
- Dysfunctional Family: Featured in much of his work.
- Film of the Book: Or rather film of the play. Williams adapted much of his best-known work for the cinema.
- Gayngst-Induced Suicide: Much of the anguish motivating the protagonists of his two most famous plays, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof revolves around gay men who commit suicide.
- My Beloved Smother: Several plays feature matriarchs with their thumbs firmly on their children, most notably The Glass Menagerie, The Rose Tattoo, and Suddenly, Last Summer.
- Southern Gothic: A feature of many of Williams' works, which often include explicitly Southern settings, madness, oppressive family dynamics, repressed sexuality, and dark secrets.