This week, we wish a happy 80th birthday to New Orleans native and bestselling author Anne Rice. Her 30 novels have sold over 150 million copies, making her one of the most popular writers of the 20th century.
Rice was born Howard Allen Francis O’Brien on October 4, 1941. Named after her father, she chose the name Anne when she was a child.
When Rice was 15, her mother passed away and her father moved the family to Texas. In high school, Anne met Stan Rice, whom she married in 1961. The couple moved to California, where she graduated from San Francisco State University.
In 1974, Rice’s first child, Michele, died of leukemia at the age of 5. Rice said she wrote her first novel, “Interview with the Vampire” (published in 1976) to cope with her loss. In 1994, a film version (starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst) was nominated for two Academy Awards.
A 2002 film adaptation of Rice’s “Queen of the Damned” was not as successful. The 2006 Broadway production “Lestat” was also not based on Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles” books. With music and lyrics by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, it closed after a month.
Rice’s other works range from historical and Gothic novels to erotic fiction (under the pen names AN Roquelaure and Anne Rampling).
Anne and Stan Rice, artist and poet, returned to New Orleans in the 1980s. They bought a house in the Garden District which became the setting for five of his novels.
After Stan Rice’s death from brain cancer in 2002, Anne returned to California to be closer to their son Christopher, also a successful novelist. The two have collaborated on a book and will be releasing a second next year.