Tennessee Williams, the son of a travelling salesman, was born in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1911. After graduating from the University of Iowa in 1938, Williams did a variety of menial jobs. Determined to be a writer, Williams's first plays were one-act pieces.
Williams first came to the notice of critics with his play Battle of Angels (1940) and as a result received a Rockefeller Fellowship. Williams was also given a contract by MGM but this was cancelled when he submitted his first script, The Glass Menagerie. Rewritten, it was performed on Broadway in 1945 and won the New York Drama Critics Award.
In 1947 Williams joined up with the director, Elia Kazan. Their first production together, A Streetcar Named Desire won the Pulitzer Prize. William followed this with the novel, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1950), and two more plays, Rose Tattoo (1951) and Camino Red (1953).
In 1955 Williams, again working with Elia Kazan, won his second Pulitzer Prize for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Other work by Williams include the film script for Kazan's Baby Doll(1956), and the plays, Suddenly Last Summer (1958), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959) and The Night of the Iguana (1961).
Williams spent the 1960s struggling with his addiction to alcohol. He returned to writing but his later plays, Vieux Carré(1977), A Lovely Sunday for Crève Coeur (1978) and Clothes for a Summer Hotel (1980) were box-office failures. Tennessee Williams died in New York City on 25th February, 1983.