Williams, Emlyn, 1905-1987

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Emlyn Williams was an actor, director, novelist, essayist, and playwright best known for NIGHT MUST FALL and THE CORN IS GREEN. Born in 1905 in Mostyn, Flintshire, Wales, where most of his family and friends mined coal, Emlyn Williams was inspired by a sympathetic teacher to pursue a theatrical and literary career. He acted in many plays and films, and also directed the movie THE LAST DAYS OF DOLWYN (1949) which marked the film debut of his fellow Welshman Richard Burton. From the early 1950s onward Williams toured in a one-person show in which he portrayed Charles Dickens. In his last years Williams was involved in setting up a film version of his novel HEADLONG. Emlyn Williams died on Sep. 25, 1987, at the age of 81.

From the guide to the Emlyn Williams papers, 1941-1986, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

Epithet: actor and playwright

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000696.0x0003d4

Welsh actor and author of the plays Night Must Fall, A Murder Has Been Arranged, and The Corn is Green; died in 1987.

From the description of Hearts of youth : Or the jewels of Sheba : autograph manuscript, 1918 Nov. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270914922

(George) Emlyn Williams was an actor and playwright best known for his stage thrillers, his autobiographical play The Corn Is Green , and for his one-man shows in which he portrayed Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas.

Born November 26, 1905, in Mostyn, Flintshire, Wales, Williams was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, completing a M.A. in 1927. In the same year Williams began a long and distinguished career in the theatre, making his professional acting debut in the play And So To Bed . His semi-autobiographical play, The Corn Is Green, which he also directed, was later produced as a motion picture.

Overall, Emlyn Williams produced dozens of plays, several of which later appeared in book form. In addition, he wrote a number of screenplays, authored the novel Headlong, and published a two-part autobiography.

In 1955, Williams began performing as Dylan Thomas after reading the poet's works at a benefit for the latter's widow and children. His Dylan Thomas performance did not involve impersonating the writer, but consisted of readings from such works as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog and Adventures in the Skin Trade . Emlyn Williams died on September 25, 1987, in London, England.

Actress, producer, and manager Katharine Cornell was one of several actresses dubbed "First Lady of the American Theater."

Born February 16, 1893, in Berlin, Germany, Cornell had her acting debut while understudying at the Washington Square Players in New York in November 1916 at the age of twenty-three.

One day after she married Guthrie McClintic on September 8, 1921, Cornell began rehearsals as Sydney Fairfield in A Bill of Divorcement (opened on October 10, 1921), which brought her rave reviews and her first long run.

In 1931, Cornell and her husband Guthrie McClintic founded the Cornell-McClintic Corporation and began producing plays. Cornell, directed by McClintic, began a new career as the last great actress/manager in the American theater. Over twenty-nine years, a span exceeded only by the Theatre Guild and the Shuberts, Cornell and McClintic mounted twenty-four productions in New York City and revived "the road" through nationwide tours.

Guthrie McClintic died on October 29, 1961, and Cornell never returned to work. She died on June 9, 1974, at her home on Martha's Vineyard.

Lyricist, actress, scriptwriter, and playwright Nancy Hamilton, was one of the first women to succeed as a lyricist.

Born July 27, 1908, in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Hamilton was the author of an Academy Award-winning documentary on the life of Helen Keller, Helen Keller in Her Story, and wrote the sketches and lyrics for several successful Broadway revues.

Hamilton died on February 18, 1985, in New York, NY.

"(George) Emlyn Williams." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Gale Biography In Context. http://ic.galegroup.com/ (accessed May 25, 2011). "Katharine Cornell." Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994. Gale Biography In Context. http://ic.galegroup.com/ (accessed May 25, 2011). "Nancy Hamilton." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Gale Biography In Context. http://ic.galegroup.com/ (accessed May 25, 2011).

From the guide to the Emlyn Williams letters to Katharine Cornell and Nancy Hamilton, 1962-1980, 1962-1964, 1978-1980, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Emlyn Williams was an actor, director, novelist, essayist, and playwright best known for NIGHT MUST FALL and THE CORN IS GREEN.

Born in 1905 in Mostyn, Flintshire, Wales, where most of his family and friends mined coal, Emlyn Williams was inspired by a sympathetic teacher to pursue a theatrical and literary career. He acted in many plays and films, and also directed the movie THE LAST DAYS OF DOLWYN (1949) which marked the film debut of his fellow Welshman Richard Burton. From the early 1950s onward Williams toured in a one-person show in which he portrayed Charles Dickens. In his last years Williams was involved in setting up a film version of his novel HEADLONG. Emlyn Williams died on Sep. 25, 1987, at the age of 81.

From the description of Emlyn Williams papers, 1941-1986. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122517253

Emlyn Williams was born in Wales in 1905. Educated in Holywell and Switzerland he won a scholarship to Oxford with the help of Miss Sarah Grace Cooke, a teacher who encouraged Williams in his studies (in particular fostering his gift for languages), offered financial and emotional support, and stayed a life-long friend and confidant until her death.

As an undergraduate Williams joined O.U.D.S. (the Oxford University Drama Society) and began writing plays, of which, two were performed at the local Oxford Playhouse Theatre. In 1927 he joined a repertory company and began his stage career. The early 1930s saw him achieve his first successes as a playwright with works such as A Murder Has Been Arranged, The Late Christopher Bean and Night Must Fall . His most popular play remains The Corn Was Green (1938), whose main character Miss Moffatt was based on Miss Cook. Ethel Barrymore played the lead in the successful 1940 Broadway production and 1945 saw a film version made starring Bette Davis.

Williams' screen career saw him acting in a number of movies, including The Stars Look Down (1940) with Michael Redgrave and Ivanhoe (1952) with Elizabeth Taylor. He wrote a number of screenplays, and in 1956 worked with Alfred Hitchcock on The Man Who Knew Too Much . His only film as a director, The Last Days of Dolwyn (1949), featured the screen debut of fellow Welsh actor Richard Burton.

In 1951 Williams began touring his one-man show of Dickens readings, which became popular internationally. He followed this success with other one-man shows; A Boy Growing Up (1955) based on the life of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and Saki (1977) based on the writings of H.H. Munro.

Williams published two volumes of autobiography; George (1961) and Emlyn (1973), as well as two books exploring the psychology of murder.

In 1935 he married actress Molly Shan (real name Mary Marjorie) and they had two sons. He was awarded a CBE in 1962 and died at his London home from complications from cancer in 1987.

May Swallow was a friend and teaching colleague of Miss Cooke. They lived together in Leeds during the 1960s and 1970s.

From the guide to the Emlyn Williams Correspondence, 1964-1971, (V&A Department of Theatre and Performance)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Williams, Emlyn, 1905-1987. Hearts of youth : Or the jewels of Sheba : autograph manuscript, 1918 Nov. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Williams, Emlyn, 1905-1987. "Miss Moffat : a musical play / Book by Emlyn Williams and Joshua Logan ; Music by by Albert Hague ; Lyrics by Emlyn Williams. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Sir Alec Guinness Archive, 1914-2003 British Library: Western Manuscripts
referencedIn Fonds Louis Jouvet Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des arts du spectacle
creatorOf Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph). The Corn Is Green / by Emlyn Williams ; directed by Leslie Yeo, 1979 - house program. University of Guelph
creatorOf Williams, Emlyn, 1905-1987. Yesterday's magic, by Emlyn Williams. Directed by Reginald Denham, setting by Watson Barratt ... New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Emlyn Williams papers, 1941-1986 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Correspondents, surnames H-O.Gunnar Hägglöf, 1984. To Reinhardt. Sir William John Haley, 1964-1983. With correspondence with Susan Haley written after Haley’s death, and a copy of the order of service for the thanksgiving service of 29 Oct 1987. Si..., 1962-1992 British Library
referencedIn Hart, Moss, 1904-1961. Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle papers, 1922-1962, 1988. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph). Corn Is Green / by E. Williams ; directed by L. Yeo, 1979 - performance file. University of Guelph
creatorOf Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph). Corn Is Green / by E. Williams, 1979 - costume sketches. University of Guelph
creatorOf Williams, Emlyn, 1905-1987. Emlyn Williams papers, 1941-1986. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf SUPPLEMENTARY HARROD PAPERS. Vol. XII (ff. 210). 1960-1984, n.d.includes:f. 11 Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri, writer: Envelope with Sir Roy Forbes Harrod's hand-written note concerning Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri: n.d.f. 22-22v Henry Collis, Headmaster, St..., 1960-1984 British Library
referencedIn Papers of Robert Graves: Novels and novellas: texts, revisions and associated papers, 1936 to 2005 St John's College, Oxford
creatorOf Williams, Emlyn, 1905-1987. "Miss Moffat : a musical play / Book by Emlyn Williams and Joshua Logan ; Music by by Albert Hague ; Lyrics by Emlyn Williams. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Champlain, Helene. Helene Champlain papers, 1932-1969. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Hague, Albert, 1920-. Miss Moffat: typescript, 1973. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Emlyn Williams Correspondence, 1964-1971 V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
creatorOf Williams, Emlyn, 1905-1987. The wind of heaven : [play] / by Emlyn Williams.
creatorOf Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph). Night Must Fall / by Emlyn Williams ; directed by Randy Maertz, 1990 - performance file. University of Guelph
creatorOf Williams, Emlyn, 1905-. Letter to John Leggett. [PA.]. 1970 Nov. 10. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Vol. lx a (ff. ). 11 Sept. 1950 -28 Mar. 1952.Augustus Dudley Peters, literary agent: Mary Herring, secretary to Sir T M Rattigan: Rattigan Productions: Correspondence, including enclosures, of A. D. Peters, and other members of his staff, with Sir ... British Library
creatorOf Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph). The Corn Is Green / by Enlyn Williams, 1979 - Study Guide. University of Guelph
creatorOf Vol. V. (ff. 227). 6 June 1938-29 May 1943, n.d. Including a letter to G. B. Shaw of 14 July 1946.includes:ff. 1-63 passim, 101, 163 Medicine and Surgery: James Stuart Hensman, MRCS; LRCP: Cuthbert Esquire Dukes, OBE; MB, ChB., MD: Raphael Roche, [..., 1938-1946 British Library
creatorOf Williams, Emlyn, 1905-1987. Letter to [Mrs] Brooks. Hobart, Australia. 1958 May 27. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Josephine Barrington Collection. Night Must Fall / by Emlyn Williams, 1949 - house program. University of Guelph
referencedIn Logan, Joshua. Papers of Joshua Logan, 1723-1992 (bulk 1940-1980). Library of Congress
referencedIn National Theatre (New York, N.Y.). Playbills. Indiana University
creatorOf Rattigan Papers. Vol. cxxviii (ff. 266). Correspondence relating to the production of 'Joie de vivre', 1959-1961. Partly typewritten, including copies.Harold Freedman, literary agent: Brandt and Brandt Dramatic Department, Inc: Correspondence, includ..., 1959-1961 British Library
creatorOf Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph). Night Must fall / by Emlyn Williams ; directed by Randy Maertz, 1990 - production photos. University of Guelph
referencedIn Max Reinhardt papers, 1899-2006 British Library: Western Manuscripts
creatorOf Barrymore, Ethel, 1879-1959. Richard L. Coe Theater Programs Collection playbill advertisements and miscellany. Library of Congress
referencedIn Joshua Logan Papers, 1723-1992, (bulk 1940-1980) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Correspondence, received unless otherwise stated, of Eleanor Farjeon with persons outside her family, writers W, Y, four letters from unidentified writers and listed of correspondents. Includes: Roland Watson (photocopies of letters by Eleanor Farjeo..., 1928-1963 British Library
creatorOf SUPPLEMENTARY HARROD PAPERS. Vol. IX (ff. 189). 1925-1948.includes:f. 1 Douglas Davidson, painter; brother of A H Davidson: Letters, etc., to Sir Roy Forbes Harrod from Douglas Davidson: 1925.f. 3 Hew Skelton Anderson, son of Sir K S Skelton, Bar..., 1925-1948 British Library
creatorOf Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph). Night Must Fall / by Emlyn Williams ; directed by Randy Maertz, 1990 - house program. University of Guelph
referencedIn Collection of Research Material on Edith Evans, actress, 1910s-1970s V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
creatorOf Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph). Corn Is Green / by E. Williams, 1979 - production photos. University of Guelph
referencedIn Helene Champlain papers, 1932-1969 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Correspondence of Simon Tarquin Olivier, 1950-1984 British Library
referencedIn Romney Brent papers, 1934-1975 (bulk dates 1969-1975 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Sawyer, Luella Kenan. Luella Kenan Sawyer papers, 1933-1970. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Emlyn Williams letters to Katharine Cornell and Nancy Hamilton, 1962-1980, 1962-1964, 1978-1980 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
creatorOf Josephine Barrington Collection. Night Must Fall / by Emlyn Williams, 1950 - house program. University of Guelph
creatorOf Williams, Emlyn, 1905-1987. Letters [10], 1962-1980 : [New York and England], to Katharine Cornell and Nancy Hamilton. Total includes a TLS sent to WIlliams by Harold Freeman. Copley Press, J S Copley Library
creatorOf Vol. xxx (ff. 176). Sn-Z and word-processed index.includes:ff. 1-4 Charles Percy Snow, Baron Snow: Letters to M. Holroyd: 1965-1968: Signed.f. 5 Philippa MacLiesh, assistant secretary, The Society of Authors: Letter to M. Holroyd: 1962: Signed.f... British Library
creatorOf Hague, Albert, 1920-. Miss Moffat: typescript, 1973. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Aitken, Webster. [Theater and concert programs from the Papers of Jeanne S. Mintz]. Library of Congress
creatorOf Correspondents, surnames T-W.Iris Taylor, 1990. To Reinhardt on the death of her mother. Judy Taylor, afterwards Hough, 1971-1996. Includes press cuttings, and some letters to and from her husband, Richard Hough. Sir Denis Thatcher, 1979-1984. All ..., 1971-1996 British Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Barrymore, Ethel., 1879-1959 person
associatedWith Brent, Romney, 1902-1975 person
associatedWith Burton, Richard., 1925-1984 person
associatedWith Champlain, Helene. person
correspondedWith Cornell, Katharine, 1893-1974 person
associatedWith Crawley, Robert person
associatedWith Crawley, Robert. person
associatedWith David, Bette., 1908-1989 person
associatedWith Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 person
associatedWith Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 person
associatedWith Forbes, Bryan., b. 1926 person
correspondedWith Freedman, Harold person
associatedWith Graves, Robert Ranke, 1895-1985 person
correspondedWith Guinness, Sir, Alec, 1914-2000 person
associatedWith Hague, Albert, 1920- person
associatedWith Hamilton, Nancy. person
correspondedWith Hamilton, Nancy, 1908-1985 person
associatedWith Hart, Moss, 1904-1961. person
associatedWith Heckart, Eileen, 1919-2001. person
associatedWith Heggen, Thomas, 1919-1949. person
associatedWith Hitchcock, Alfred ., 1899-1980 person
associatedWith Josephine Barrington Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Josephine Barrington Collection. corporateBody
associatedWith Jouvet, Louis (1887-1951) person
associatedWith Leggett, John, 1917- , person
associatedWith Logan, Joshua. person
correspondedWith Logan, Joshua. person
associatedWith Munro, Hector Hugh., 1870-1916 person
associatedWith National Theatre (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Redgrave, Sir Michael., 1908-1985 person
associatedWith Sawyer, Luella Kenan. person
associatedWith Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Shaw Festival Collection (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Taylor, Elizabeth., 1932-2011 person
associatedWith Thomas, Dylan., 1914-1957 person
associatedWith Williams, Emlyn, 1905-1987. person
associatedWith Williams, Mary Marjorie ., d. 1970 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Playhouse Theatre, Oxford
Oxford University, Oxford
Subject
Motion pictures
Theater--United States
Prompt-book
Dramatists
Actors and Actresses--20th century--Correspondence
Theater
Dramatists, American--20th century--Correspondence
Musicals--Librettos
Drama (English)
Motion pictures--United States
Occupation
Dramatists
Actresses
Actors
Function

Person

Birth 1905-11-26

Death 1987-09-25

Britons

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 45172102