Partner Frank Merlo

Queer Places:
St Paul's Episcopal Church, 318 College St, Columbus, MS 39701
St George's Episcopal Church, 106 Sharkey Ave, Clarksdale, MS 38614
1917 Snowden Ave, Memphis, TN 38107
1780 Glenview Ave, Memphis, TN 38114
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, Stati Uniti
Washington University in St. Louis, 1 Brookings Dr, St. Louis, MO 63130, Stati Uniti
University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, Stati Uniti
The New School, 72 5th Ave, New York, NY 10011, Stati Uniti
Actors Studios, 432 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036, Stati Uniti
632 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70130
431 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
722 Toulouse St, New Orleans, LA 70130
538 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Hotel Chelsea, 222 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011, Stati Uniti
San Remo Café, 93 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012, Stati Uniti
The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, 59 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036, Stati Uniti
235 E 58th St, 10022, NYC, NY, USA
15 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023, Stati Uniti
La Concha Hotel, 430 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040, Stati Uniti
1431 Duncan St, Key West, FL 33040, USA
Manhattan Plaza, 400 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036, Stati Uniti
31 Pine St, Nantucket, MA 02554, USA
Atlantic House, 6 Masonic Pl, Provincetown, MA 02657, Stati Uniti
Casa Cuseni, Via Leonardo Da Vinci, 5 – 7, 98039 Taormina ME
Captain Jack's Wharf, 73 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657
Hotel Elysée, 60 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022, Stati Uniti
Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, 5239 W Florissant Ave, St. Louis, MO 63115, Stati Uniti

Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) was an American playwright. Along with Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, he is considered among the three foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama.[1]

After years of obscurity, he became suddenly famous with The Glass Menagerie (1944), a play that closely reflected his own unhappy family background. This heralded a string of successes, including A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959). His later work attempted a new style that did not appeal to audiences, and alcohol and drug dependence further inhibited his creative output. 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.[1]

Much of Williams' most acclaimed work was adapted for the cinema. He also wrote short stories, poetry, essays and a volume of memoirs. In 1979, four years before his death, Williams was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

Throughout his life Williams remained close to his sister Rose who was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a young woman. In 1943, as her behavior became increasingly disturbing, she was subjected to a lobotomy with disastrous results and was subsequently institutionalized for the rest of her life. As soon as he was financially able, Williams had her moved to a private institution just north of New York City where he often visited her. He gave her a percentage interest in several of his most successful plays, the royalties from which were applied toward her care.[24][25] The devastating effects of Rose's illness may have contributed to Williams' alcoholism and his dependence on various combinations of amphetamines and barbiturates.[26]


Hotel Chelsea, New York City


235 E 58th St, 10022, NYC, NY, USA


Manhattan Plaza, 400 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036


The Actors Studio, NYC

After some early attempts at relationships with women, by the late 1930s Williams had finally accepted his homosexuality. In New York City he joined a gay social circle which included fellow writer and close friend Donald Windham (1920–2010) and his then partner Fred Melton. In the summer of 1940 Williams initiated an affair with Kip Kiernan (1918–1944), a young Canadian dancer he met in Provincetown, Massachusetts. When Kiernan left him to marry a woman, he was distraught, and Kiernan's death four years later at 26 delivered another heavy blow.

On a 1945 visit to Taos, New Mexico, Williams met Pancho Rodríguez y González, a hotel clerk of Mexican heritage. Rodríguez was, by all accounts, a loving and loyal companion. However, he was also prone to jealous rages and excessive drinking, and so the relationship was a tempestuous one. Nevertheless, in February 1946 Rodríguez left New Mexico to join Williams in his New Orleans apartment. They lived and traveled together until late 1947 when Williams ended the affair. Rodríguez and Williams remained friends, however, and were in contact as late as the 1970s.

Williams spent the spring and summer of 1948 in Rome in the company of a teenaged Italian boy, called "Rafaello" in Williams' Memoirs, to whom he provided financial assistance for several years afterwards, a situation which planted the seed of Williams' first novel, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.

When he returned to New York that spring, he met and fell in love with Frank Merlo (1922–1963), an occasional actor of Sicilian heritage who had served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. This one enduring romantic relationship of Williams' life lasted 14 years until infidelities and drug abuse on both sides ended it. Merlo, who became Williams' personal secretary, taking on most of the details of their domestic life, provided a period of happiness and stability as well as a balance to the playwright's frequent bouts with depression[27] and the fear that, like his sister Rose, he would fall into insanity. Their years together, in an apartment in Manhattan and a modest house in Key West, Florida, were Williams' happiest and most productive. Shortly after their breakup, Merlo was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and Williams returned to take care of him until his death on September 20, 1963.

As he had feared, in the years following Merlo's death Williams was plunged into a period of nearly catatonic depression and increasing drug use resulting in several hospitalizations and commitments to mental health facilities. He submitted to injections by Dr. Max Jacobson – known popularly as Dr. Feelgood – who used increasing amounts of amphetamines to overcome his depression and combined these with prescriptions for the sedative Seconal to relieve his insomnia. During this time, influenced by his brother Dakin, a Roman Catholic convert, Williams joined the Catholic Church. He was never truly able to recoup his earlier success, or to entirely overcome his dependence on prescription drugs.

Edwina Dakin passed away in 1980 at the age of 95. Her health had begun failing during the early 1970s and she resided in a care facility from 1975 onward. Williams had rarely seen his mother in her later years and still retained a strong animosity towards her; friends described his reaction to her death as "mixed".

As Williams grew older, he felt increasingly alone and terrified of old age and losing his sexual appeal to younger gay men. In the 1970s, when he was in his 60s, Williams had a lengthy relationship with Robert Carroll, a Vietnam veteran and aspiring writer in his 20s. Williams had deep affection for Carroll and respect for what he saw as the younger man's talents. Along with Williams' sister Rose, Carroll was one of the two people who received a bequest in Williams' will.[28] Williams described Carroll's behavior as a combination of "sweetness" and "beastliness". Because Carroll had a drug problem (as did Williams), friends such as Maria St. Just saw the relationship as "destructive". Williams wrote that Carroll played on his "acute loneliness" as an aging gay man. When the two men broke up in 1979, Williams called Carroll a "twerp", but they remained friends until Williams died four years later.[29]


Key West


Hotel Elysee

On February 25, 1983, Williams was found dead in his suite at the Hotel Elysée in New York at age 71. The Chief Medical Examiner of New York City reported that Williams had choked to death from inhaling the plastic cap of a bottle of the type that might contain a nasal spray or eye solution.[30]

He wrote in his will in 1972: "I, Thomas Lanier (Tennessee) Williams, being in sound mind upon this subject, and having declared this wish repeatedly to my close friends-do hereby state my desire to be buried at sea. More specifically, I wish to be buried at sea at as close a possible point as the American poet Hart Crane died by choice in the sea; this would be ascrnatible [sic], this geographic point, by the various books (biographical) upon his life and death. I wish to be sewn up in a canvas sack and dropped overboard, as stated above, as close as possible to where Hart Crane was given by himself to the great mother of life which is the sea: the Caribbean, specifically, if that fits the geography of his death. Otherwise—whereever fits it [sic].".[31] But his family buried him at Calvary Cemetery (St. Louis), Missouri.[32]

Williams left his literary rights to The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, an Episcopal school, in honor of his grandfather, Walter Dakin, an alumnus of the university. The funds support a creative writing program. When his sister Rose died in 1996 after many years in a mental institution, she bequeathed $7 million from her part of the Williams estate to The University of the South as well.[33]


  1. Bloom, Harold, ed. (1987). Tennessee Williams. Chelsea House Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-0877546368.
  2. Roudané, Matthew Charles, ed. (1997). The Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams. Cambridge University Press. p. xvi. ISBN 978-0521498838..
  3. Hoare, Philip (September 12, 1996). "Obituary: Rose Williams". The Independent. London. Retrieved 26 December 2013..
  4. Cuthbert, David (May 24, 2008). "Theater Guy: Remembering Dakin Williams, Tennessee's 'professional brother' and a colorful fixture at N.O.'s Tenn fest". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved September 12, 2017..
  5. "Tennessee Williams: Biography"/a>. Pearson Education. Retrieved 26 December 2013..
  6. "Tennessee Williams' brother dead at 89"/a>. United Press International. Retrieved 26 December 2013..
  7. Bloom 1987/a>,, p. 15.
  8. Roudané 1997/a>,, pp. 11-13.
  9. Tennessee Williams and John Waters (2006), i>Memoirs, New Directions Publishing, 274 pages ISBN 00-8112-1669-1
  10. USgennet.org Archived 2011-10-21 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. Weinberg, Robert; Price, E. Hoffmann (December 1, 1999). The Weird Tales Story. Wildside Press. pp. 1–3. ISBN 978-1587151019. (Subscription required (help))..
  12. "Notable Alumni". University of Missouri-Department of Theatre. July 19, 2016. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  13. "Manuscript Materials – Division of Special Collections, Archives and Rare Books"/a>. University of Missouri. Retrieved 2011-03-18..
  14. Roudané 1987/a>,, p. 15.
  15. Williams, Tennessee (January 30, 2007). Thornton, Margaret Bradham, ed. Notebooks. Yale Univ. Press. p. xi. ISBN 978-0300116823..
  16. Tennessee State Historical Marker 2 May 2008.
  17. "Tennessee Williams Pathfinder"/a>. The Historic New Orleans Collection..
  18. Spoto, Donald (August 22, 1997). The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-0306808050..
  19. Williams1 1987/a>,, p. xv.
  20. "Tennessee Williams". Biography (TV series)/a>.. December 2, 2015.
  21. "Library Associates Literary Award"/a>.. St. Louis University.
  22. Saint Louis University Library Associates. "Recipients of the Saint Louis Literary Award". Retrieved July 25, 2016..
  23. Johnston, Laurie (November 19, 1979). "Theater Hall of Fame Enshrines 51 Artists". The New York Times..
  24. Kolin, Philip (Spring 1998). "Something Cloudy, Something Clear: Tennessee Williams's Postmodern Memory Play". Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism. University of Kansas. Retrieved September 13, 2017..
  25. Greenberg-Slovin, Naomi. "Notes from the Dramaturg". Program to i>The Glass Menagerie.. Everyman Theatre, Baltimore, 2013–14 season.
  26. "The Kindness of Strangers", Spoto
  27. Jeste ND, Palmer BW, Jeste DV. Tennessee Williams. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2004 Jul–Aug;12(4):370-5. PMID 15249274 [[1]
  28. Spoto 1997/a>,, p. 302.
  29. Williams 2007/a>,, p. 738.
  30. Daley, Suzanne (February 27, 1983). "Williams Choked on a Bottle Cap". The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2016..
  31. Pagan, Nicholas (September 1993). Rethinking Literary Biography: A Postmodern Approach to Tennessee Williams. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. pp. 74–75. ISBN 978-0838635162..
  32. Wilson, Scott. i> Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons,, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 51195-51196). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
  33. Gussow, Mel (September 7, 1996). "Rose Williams, 86, Sister And the Muse of Playwright". The New York Times..
  34. "Becoming Tennessee Williams"/a> Exhibit at the University of Texas of Austin, Feb. 1 to July 31, 2011
  35. "Tennessee Williams: An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center"/a>. norman.hrc.utexas.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-29..
  36. Rand, Susan (2009-11-15). "Photo Gallery: Tennessee Williams inducted into Poets' Corner". Wicked Local Wellfleet. Perinton, New York: GateHouse Media. Retrieved 2011-02-23..
  37. "Cover-up in Tennessee Williams's death"/a>. New York Post. 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2011-02-23..
  38. "A 'new' Tennessee Williams play reaches Broadway"/a>. New York Daily News. 2007-09-11. Retrieved 2011-02-23..
  39. Kepler, Adam (March 4, 2012). "Heroine Is Chosen for Last Williams Play". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-12..
  40. Poe, Ryan (2010-09-10). "Newly renovated Tennessee Williams home debuts"/a>. The Commercial Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-02-23.<.
  41. "Tennessee Williams Welcome Center," official website of the City of Columbus, Mississippia> Archived 2013-12-12 at the Wayback Machine.,., accessed 20 October 2013.
  42. http://www.tennesseewilliams.net/
  43. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees"a>. St. Louis Walk of Fame. Retrieved 25 April 2013.<.
  44. Fischer, Heinz-Dietrich & Erika J. Fischer. The Pulitzer Prize Archive: A History and Anthology of Award-Winning Materials in Journalism, Letters, and Arts München: K.G. Saur, 2008. ISBN 3-598-30170-7 ISBN 978-3-598-30170-4 p. 246
  45. Purcell, Carey. "Crazy Night, Unpublished Story by Tennessee Williams, Will Be Featured in The Strand Magazine" Playbill.com, March 25, 2014