Brother of Tennessee Williams left nothing in $10 million estate

ST. LOUIS -- The younger brother of Tennessee Williams says he was left 'without a nickel' from the $10 million estate of the celebrated playwright.

Dakin Williams said the amount of the estate was 'much more than we had imagined.' He said he was left 'without a nickel,' except for a $25,000 bequest he would get after the death of his sister, Rose.


Dakin, whose unauthorized biography of his brother is to be published this month, said he had expected to be cut out of his brother's will. He did not give any other details about the will or estate.

The brothers had been estranged since 1969 when Dakin had Tennessee committed to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis for alcohol and drug treatment.

'Tennessee never forgave me for putting him in the hospital,' Dakin said. 'He would have been dead in five or six months if I hadn't acted.'

Despite his published wish that he be buried at sea north of Cuba, the playwright's body Thursday was flown from New York to St. Louis, where he will be interred Saturday near his mother.

A funeral will be conducted at the St. Louis Cathedral, with burial at Calvary Cemetery. The body was to lie in state Thursday and Friday at the Lupton Chapel in suburban University City.


A Catholic funeral was arranged because Tennessee had converted to Catholicism, Dakin said. Tennessee had not practiced the faith, but neither had he renounced it, the playwright's brother said.

Dakin acknowledged that Tennessee had said many times he wished to be cremated. In his 'Memoirs,' published in 1975, the playwright said he wanted his body 'sewn up in a clean white sack and dropped overboard 12 hours north of Havana so that my bones will rest not far from those of Hart Crane.'

Crane had leaped to his death from a ship between Cuba and Key West, Fla., where Williams lived in his final years. Crane was a favorite poet of Williams.

Dakin, a lawyer in suburban Collinsville, Ill., said his brother's will contained no provision for a burial at sea. Dakin said he would have ignored it if it had.

'Tennessee is such a literary personality that his grave should be where people can visit it,' Dakin said. 'They would have a hard time finding his ashes in the ocean.'

Williams, who was 71, died alone last week in his room at a New York City hotel. Authorities said Williams died after he inhaled a plastic cap from a medicinal spray bottle. A prayer service was conducted Tuesday in New York.


Williams spent his childhood with his family in St. Louis, where his father worked for a shoe company. Tennessee moved in 1937 and never again lived in St. Louis, which he once derided as snobbish and provincial.

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