Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Lady Said No

Born 105 years ago today, Tennessee Williams was one of the greatest playwrights of the American theater. In the 1950s, when he was near the peak of his success, Shirley Booth was widely regarded as one of Broadway's finest dramatic actresses, with the Tony Awards to prove it. What could be more natural than the idea of teaming them up?

Reportedly, Williams was an admirer of Booth's work, and offered to create a play tailored to her talents. Yet though she recognized the playwright's gifts, saying he "writes beautifully," she discouraged any talk of a collaboration. It wasn't until 1966, when she accepted the role of Amanda Wingfield in a television production of The Glass Menagerie, that she found herself speaking Williams' words. Even then, the experience was not a happy one. To find out why, read Shirley Booth: A Biography and Career Record.

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