He was obsessed with sickness and death, and constantly worried he was going insane. This was the result of being traumatized by his sister’s lobotomy after her mental breakdown. She was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Tennessee Williams also suffered from depression and bouts of anxiety his whole life, and became dependent on drugs and alcohol. He died in 1983 at the age of 71 as he chocked on the plastic cap of a bottle of eye-drops.
Other facts about his life:
- The playwright’s birth name was Thomas Lanier Williams III. He legally changed his name when he was 28. He chose “Tennessee” because this was his father’s birth state.
- His father was an alcoholic and had a bad temper. He was always on the road for his work as a shoe salesman. When he was at home, he fought constantly with Tennessee’s mother.
- Tennessee Williams traveled a lot to try to find inspiration in faraway places.
- He won Pulitzer Prizes for A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.