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This is the first complete, critical biography of Tennessee Williams (1911–1983), one of America's finest playwrights and the author of (among many important works) The Glass Menagerie, Summer and Smoke, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer, and The Night of the Iguana. Award-winning biographer Donald Spoto gives us not only a full and accurate account of Williams's life, he also reveals the intimate connections between the playwright's personal dramas and his remarkably autobiographical art. From his birth into a genteel Southern family, through his success, celebrity, and wealth, to his drug addictions, promiscuity, and creative struggles, Tennessee Williams lived a life as gripping as his plays. The Kindness of Strangers, based on Williams's own papers, his mother's diaries, and interviews with scores of friends, lovers, and professional associates, is, in the author's words, a portrait of "a man more disturbing, more dramatic, richer and more wonderful than any character he created."