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For the "old crocodile," as Williams called himself late in life, the past was always present, and so it is with his continual shifting and intermingling of times, places, and memories as he weaves this story.
When Memoirs was first published in 1975, it created quite a bit of turbulence in the mediathough long self-identified as a gay man, Williams' candor about his love life, sexual encounters, and drug use was found shocking in and of itself, and such revelations by America's greatest living playwright were called "a raw display of private life" by The New York Times Book Review. As it turns out, thirty years later, Williams' look back at his life is not quite so scandalous as it once seemed; he recalls his childhood in Mississippi and St. Louis, his prolonged struggle as a "starving artist," the "overnight" success of The Glass Menagerie in 1945, the death of his long-time companion Frank Merlo in 1962, and his confinement to a psychiatric ward in 1969 and subsequent recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, all with the same directness, compassion, and insight that epitomize his plays.
And, of course, Memoirs is filled with Williams' amazing friends from the worlds of stage, screen, and literature as heoften hilariously, sometimes fondly, sometimes notremembers them: Laurette Taylor, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando, Vivian Leigh, Carson McCullers, Anna Magnani, Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, and Tallulah Bankhead to name a few. And now film director John Waters, well acquainted with shocking the American public, has written an introduction that gives some perspective on the various reactions to Tennessee's Memoirs, while also paying tribute to a fellow artist who inspired many with his integrity and endurance.
little set of fears and angers, suspicions and vanities, and his appetites, spiritual and carnal. Life is built of them and he is built of life. The umbilical cord is a long, long rope of blood that has swung him as an aerialist on an all but endless Trapeze, oh, such a long, long way, from the first living organism that gave birth to another. Define it as the passion to create which is all that we know of God. Is that an agnostic thing to say? I think not. Perhaps you will accede to my
“method,” gave a great Christmas party for us, presenting us each with a gift. She had with her a lovely tall blond girl, her daughter by one of her husbands, and it was as fine a Christmas as I’d known since childhood. A gentleman of the theatre is the rarest of aves. Shall I now give you my list of them? I mean those I’ve known in my time? José Quintero, Elia Kazan, Robert Whitehead, Joe Losey. And, yes, David Merrick, who always allowed me to bring in a play doomed for destruction on
occupy a lovely little rented house just above the beach. It was a curiously difficult summer, both for me and my new companion. Despite the turbulence which had attended my break with Frankie and despite the charm of the little white house and of the beautiful poet, I was beset by inner torments, the most explicable of which was an inability to talk to people. There was a good deal of social activity that summer in Tangier. The beauty of my companion made us desirable as guests. But at cocktail
single fluff—and afterward took Candy Darling to Sardi’s. Her entrance was, of course, sensational. We were given one of the prize tables and in a while were joined by the very touching young writer Nelson Lyon and a beautiful girl who is a publisher. I said to Lyon, “You are at the beginning of a career that I am now finishing.” I meant that I was now finishing my own career, not his—let’s make that clear. We delivered the ladies to their respective homes—Candy next to the Christian Science
side track, shunted there, I’m afraid, by the excessively beauteous Goforth of Liz Taylor in BOOM. However, I stick by this much of my original assertion: it remains a marvelous vehicle for an equally marvelous female star, and I don’t mean the planet Venus. Miss Hermione Baddeley is very much around to support that contention of the playwright. Who could play Goforth now? Perhaps Miss Baddeley would take another shot at it. Perhaps Angela Lansbury and perhaps Sylvia Miles. Meanwhile Bacchus is