Tag Archives: pulitzer prize

COOL PEOPLE- TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

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Bill Boggs Interviews Tennessee Williams

“It’s an honor to have this great American Playwright in my archives. This interview came to be because Tennessee’s agent was a friend of mine and he actually offered to have his client do the program. It was a big day at the station, and after the interview we all went out to lunch together. An odd footnote is that three days after doing this interview I ran into Tennessee at a party in New York and he did not remember me. That aside, in this interview Tennessee reads one of his favorite poets, Hart Crane. This is a memorable literary moment.”—Bill Boggs

http://youtu.be/FScWlr5qZUY

THE GLASS MENAGERIE- ENTIRE PLAY

 http://youtu.be/k3TrLczE9Oo

“A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE”

http://youtu.be/er7h5MB2D1s

“THE GLASS MENAGERIE”

http://youtu.be/2lzqqPZBgv0

Playwright (1911–1983)

 QUICK FACTS

Tennessee Williams was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose works include, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Synopsis

Playwright Tennessee Williams was born on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. After college, he moved to New Orleans, a city that would inspire much of his writing. On March 31, 1945, his play, The Glass Menagerie, opened on Broadway and two years later A Streetcar Named Desire earned Williams his first Pulitzer Prize. Many of Williams’ plays have been adapted to film starring screen greats like Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. Williams died in 1983.

Early Years

Playwright Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi, the second of Cornelius and Edwina Williams’ three children. Raised predominantly by his mother, Williams had a complicated relationship with his father, a demanding salesman who preferred work instead of parenting.

Williams described his childhood in Mississippi as pleasant and happy. But life changed for him when his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. The carefree nature of his boyhood was stripped in his new urban home, and as a result Williams turned inward and started to write.

His parent’s marriage certainly didn’t help. Often strained, the Williams home could be a tense place to live. “It was just a wrong marriage,” Williams later wrote. The family situation, however, did offer fuel for the playwright’s art. His mother became the model for the foolish but strong Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, while his father represented the aggressive, driving Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

In 1929, Williams enrolled at the University of Missouri to study journalism. But he was soon withdrawn from the school by his father, who became incensed when he learned that his son’s girlfriend was also attending the university.

Deeply despondent, Williams retreated home, and at his father’s urging took a job as a sales clerk with a shoe company. The future playwright hated the position, and again he turned to his writing, crafting poems and stories after work. Eventually, however, the depression took its toll and Williams suffered a nervous breakdown.

After recuperating in Memphis, Williams returned to St. Louis and where he connected with several poets studying at Washington University. In 1937 returned to college, enrolling at the University of Iowa. He graduated the following year.

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Commercial Success

When he was 28, Williams moved to New Orleans, where he changed his name (he landed on Tennessee because his father hailed from there) and revamped his lifestyle, soaking up the city life that would inspire his work, most notably the later play, A Streetcar Named Desire.

He proved to be a prolific writer and one of his plays, earned him $100 from the Group Theater writing contest. More importantly, it landed him an agent, Audrey Wood, who would become his friend and adviser.

In 1940 Williams’ play, Battle of Angels, debuted in Boston. It quickly flopped, but the hardworking Williams revised it and brought it back as Orpheus Descending, which later was made into the movie, The Fugitive Kind, starring Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani.

Other work followed, including a gig writing scripts for MGM. But Williams’ mind was never far from the stage. On March 31, 1945, a play he’d been working for some years, The Glass Menagerie, opened on Broadway.

Critics and audiences alike lauded the play, about a declassed Southern family living in a tenement, forever changing Williams’ life and fortunes. Two years later, A Streetcar Named Desire, opened, surpassing his previous success and cementing his status as one of the country’s best playwrights. The play also earned Williams a Drama Critics’ Award and his first Pulitzer Prize.

His subsequent work brought more praise. The hits from this period includedCamino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Sweet Bird of Youth.

Later Years

The 1960s were a difficult time for Williams. His work received poor reviews and increasingly the playwright turned to alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms. In 1969 his brother hospitalized him.

Upon his release, Williams got right back to work. He churned out several new plays as well as Memoirs in 1975, which told the story of his life and his afflictions.

But he never fully escaped his demons. Surrounded by bottles of wine and pills, Williams died in a New York City hotel room on February 25, 1983.

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JOHN STEINBECK

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John Steinbeck – Mini Biography

JOHN STEINBECK READING FROM “OF MICE AND MEN” AND THE GRAPES OF WRATH”

JOHN STEINBECK ACCEPTS THE NOBEL PRIZE IN 1962

97m/18/huty/6952/6952/14

Quick Facts
NAME: John Steinbeck
OCCUPATION: Author
BIRTH DATE: February 27, 1902
DEATH DATE: December 20, 1968
EDUCATION: Stanford University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salinas, California
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
Full Name: John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr.
AKA: John Steinbeck

Best Known For

John Steinbeck was a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose book The Grapes of Wrath portrayed the plight of migrant workers during the Depression.

Synopsis

Born February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California, John Steinbeck dropped out of college and worked as a manual laborer before achieving success as a writer. His novel The Grapes of Wrath—about the migration of a family from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to California—won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Steinbeck served as a war correspondent during World War II. He died in 1968.

Quotes

“We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome.”

– John Steinbeck

Early Years

American novelist John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. His books, including his landmark work The Grapes of Wrath, often dealt with social and economic issues. He was raised with modest means. His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, tried his hand at several different jobs to keep his family fed: He owned a feed-and-grain store, managed a flour plant and was the treasurer of Monterrey County. His mother, Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, was a former schoolteacher.

For the most part Steinbeck, who grew up with three sisters, had a happy childhood. He was shy but smart and early in his life formed an appreciation for the land, and in particular California’s Salinas Valley, which would greatly inform his later writing. According to accounts, Steinbeck made the decision at the age of 14 to become a writer and often locked himself in his bedroom to write poems and stories. In 1919 Steinbeck enrolled at Stanford University. But Steinbeck seems to have had little use for college.

He viewed himself strictly as a writer, and his decision to go to Stanford was made more to please his parents than anything else. Over the next six years Steinbeck drifted in out of school, eventually dropping out for good in 1925 without a degree.

Early Career

Following Stanford, Steinbeck tried to make a go of it as a freelance writer. He briefly moved to New York City, where he found work as a construction worker and newspaper reporter, but then scurried back to California, where he took a job as a caretaker in Lake Tahoe. It was during this time that he wrote his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929), as well as met and married his first wife, Carol. Over the next decade, with Carol’s support and paycheck, Steinbeck continued to pour himself into his writing.

His follow-up novels, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), received tepid reviews. It wasn’t until Tortilla Flat (1935), a humorous novel about paisano life in the Monterrey region, that the writer achieved real success. Steinbeck struck a more serious tone with In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Long Valley (1938), a collection of short stories.

What is widely considered his finest, most ambitious novel, The Grapes of Wrath, was published in 1939. The book, about a dispossessed Oklahoma family and its struggle to carve out a new life in California at the height of the Depression, captured the mood and angst of the nation during this time period. At the height of its popularity, The Grapes of Wrath sold 10,000 copies a week. It eventually earned Steinbeck a Pulitzer Prize in 1940.