Tennessee Williams: Later Life / Death

Table of Contents

Over the next thirty years, dividing his time between homes in Key West, New Orleans, and New York, his reputation continued to grow and he saw many more of his works produced on Broadway and made into films, including such works as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (for which he earned a second Pulitzer Prize in 1955), Orpheus Descending, and Night of the Iguana. There is little doubt that as a playwright, fiction writer, poet, and essayist, Williams helped transform the contemporary idea of the Southern literature. However, as a Southerner he not only helped to pave the way for other writers, but also helped the South find a strong voice in those auspices where before it had only been heard as a whisper.

At the end of his career he was mostly derided by critics and blacklisted by Roman Catholic Cardinal Spellman, who condemned one of his scripts as “revolting, deplorable, morally repellent, offensive to Christian standards of decency.” This was after he converted to Catholicism in 1969 because of his love of the church.

After his release from the hospital in the 1970s, Williams wrote plays, a memoir, poems, short stories and a novel. In 1975 he published Memoirs, which detailed his life and discussed his addiction to drugs and alcohol, as well as his homosexuality. In 1980 Williams wrote Clothes for a Summer Hotel, based on the lives of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Only three years later, Tennessee Williams died in a New York City hotel filled with half-finished bottles of wine and pills.

Hotel Elysee in New York. He would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye. His brother Dakin and some friends believed he was murdered. The police report, however, suggested his use of drugs and alcohol contributed to his death.Williams’ funeral took place on Saturday March 3, 1983 at St. Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church in New York City. Williams’ body was interred in the Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri. Williams had long told his friends he wanted to be buried at sea at approximately the same place as the poet Hart Crane, as he considered Crane to be one of his most significant influences.

In addition to twenty-five full length plays, Williams produced dozens of short plays and screenplays, two novels, a novella, sixty short stories, over one-hundred poems and an autobiography. Among his many awards, he won two Pulitzer Prizes and four New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards.

Tennessee Williams left his literary rights to Sewanee, The University of the South in honor of his grandfather, Walter Dakin, an alumnus of the university. It is located in Sewanee, Tennessee. The funds support a creative writing program. When his sister Rose died after many years in a mental institution, she bequeathed over 50 million dollars from her part of the Williams estate to Sewanee, The University of the South as well.

In 1989, the City of St. Louis inducted Tennessee Williams into its St. Louis Walk of Fame.

2 Responses

  1. wow that suck for him that his death was a cap that got caught:(

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: