Thomas Lanier Williams (March 26, 1911 - February 25, 1983), better known by the pen name Tennessee Williams, was a noted playwright. In 1955 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for a Cat on A Hot Tin Roof.
In his memoires, the playwright claims he became sexually active as a teenager; his biographer Lyle Leverich maintained this actually occurred later, in his late 20s. His physical and emotional relationship with his secretary, Frank Merlo, lasted from 1947 until Merlo's death from cancer in 1961, and provided the stability during which Williams produced his most enduring works.
Tennessee Williams was the victim of a gay-bashing in January 1979 in Key West, being beaten by five teenaged boys, but was not seriously injured. The episode was part of a spate of anti-gay violence that had occurred after a local Baptist minister ran an anti-gay newspaper ad.
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