Tennessee Williams grew up in St. Louis, where he attended Soldan and University City High Schools before going to the University of Missouri–Columbia to further his education. 

While at Mizzou, Williams’ real interest in writing began. He had to return to St. Louis, however, to find work so he could continue to follow his dream. 

He completed the “The Glass Menagerie” in 1944 and it became his first real hit. The play is considered a “modern” tragedy because its characters are regular, middle-class people with fairly ordinary, realistic problems. “The Glass Menagerie’s” Wingfield family all have unfulfilled dreams and feel burdened by each other.

Williams followed that dark drama with “The Night of the Iguana,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” He won prestigious awards for those plays, including the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. 

Williams’ death was something of a modern tragedy itself – he choked on a bottle cap at the age of 71 at his home in New York City.

Based upon content from the book Missouri 365: This Day in Missouri History by John W. Brown, broadcaster and Missouri historian. Get your copy at Reedy Press.

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