John Lahr, who for twenty-one years made theatre live on the pages of the New Yorker, now makes Tennessee Williams live in his extraordinary new biography,“Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh” .
The book abounds with new information, new interpretations, new photographs, and a new way of understanding Williams and his work.
- Letters and interviews with Pancho Roderiguez, the wild man who was the model for Stanley Kowalski.
- Letters from Frank Merlo, Williams’s long-time lover, and his back story
- The opening night of “The Glass Menagerie” recounted by Eddie Dowling, the man who starred, co-directed and produced the play which changed American theatre.
- Williams’s never-before-seen letters from the psychiatric ward, “Spooksville,where he was committed for three months in 1970
- The true story behind the legendary performance of Laurette Taylor as Amanda in “The Glass Menagerie”
- The shenanigans of the Williams Estate
- The facts behind Williams’s misreported death
- The break-up of Williams with his long-time agent Audrey Wood
- The influence of Elia Kazan on the shape of “Rose Tattoo”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Sweet Bird of Youth
- Marlon Brando’s assessment of acting with Anna Magnani
- Unpublished poems and theatrical passages from Williams’s major plays, including his last play, written a month before his death
- The never-before-seen correspondence to Williams from Elia Kazan, his agent Audrey Wood, Anna Magnani, Katharine Hepburn, and the New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson
- The medical reports of his lobotomized sister Rose and her later life
- Williams’s autopsy
- Original unseen photographs
- New information on Williams’s psychoanalysis and his psychoanalyst, Lawrence Kubie . The first time his psychiatric correspondence is made known.
- Original Lahr interviews with Gore Vidal, Dotson Rader, Dakin Williams–Tennessee’s brother–the directors Sidney Lumet, John Hancock, and Frank Corsaro
W. W. Norton & Company (US -September 22, 2014)
Bloomsbury Publishing (UK -25 Sep 2014)