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Anne Rice

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Anne Rice (born Howard Allen O'Brien on October 4, 1941) is a best-selling Roman Catholic American author of gothic fiction and religious-themed books. She was married to poet and painter Stan Rice for forty-one years until his death from cancer in 2002. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.[1][2][3][4]

Early years

Rice spent most of her early life in New Orleans, Louisiana, which forms the background against which most of her stories take place. She was the second daughter in a Catholic Irish-American family; Rice's sister, the late Alice Borchardt, also became a noted genre author. About her unusual given name, Rice said: "My birth name is Howard Allen because apparently my mother thought it was a good idea to name me Howard. My father's name was Howard, she wanted to name me after Howard, and she thought it was a very interesting thing to do."

Rice became "Anne" on her first day of school, when a nun asked her what her name was. She told the nun "Anne," considering it a pretty name. Her mother, who was with her, let it go without correcting her, knowing how self-conscious her daughter was of her real name. From that day on, everyone she knew addressed her as "Anne."[5][6]

Rice graduated from Richardson High School, in 1959, to attend Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas and later North Texas State College. After a year’s stay in San Francisco, during which she worked as an insurance claims examiner, Anne returned to Denton, Texas to marry Stan Rice, her childhood sweetheart. Stan became a professor at San Francisco State shortly after receiving his M.A. there, and Anne lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1962 to 1988, experiencing the birth of the Hippie Revolution first hand as they lived in the soon to be fabled Haight-Ashbury district. Both attended and graduated from San Francisco State University.

Anne's daughter Michele was born on September 21, 1966 and died of leukemia on August 5, 1972. She returned to the Roman Catholic Church in 1998 after several years of describing herself as an atheist. She announced she would now use her life and talent of writing to glorify her belief in God, but has not expressly renounced her earlier works. Her son Christopher Rice was born in Berkeley, California in 1978 and is an author. [7]

On January 30, 2004, having already put the largest of her three homes up for sale, Rice announced her plans to leave New Orleans. She cited living alone since the death of her husband as the reason. "Simplifying my life, not owning so much, that's the chief goal", said Rice. "I'll no longer be a citizen of New Orleans in the true sense." Though she had left New Orleans prior to the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and though none of her former New Orleans properties took on water, she remained an advocate for relief for the city.

After leaving New Orleans Rice settled in Rancho Mirage, California, allowing her to be closer to her son, who lives in Los Angeles.[8]

Writing career

In 1958, when Rice was 16, her father moved the family to north Texas, taking up residence in Richardson. Her mother had died three years before of alcoholism. Rice met her future husband while they were both students at Richardson High School. She began college at Texas Woman's University in Denton but relocated with Stan to San Francisco where Anne attended San Francisco State University and obtained a B.A. in Political Science. "I'm a totally conservative person," she later told the New York Times (November 7, 1988). "In the middle of Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, I was typing away while everybody was dropping acid and smoking grass. I was known as my own square." She would not return to New Orleans until 1989. She completed her first book, Interview with the Vampire, in 1973 and published it in 1976. This book would be the first in Rice's popular Vampire Chronicles series, which includes 1985's The Vampire Lestat and 1988's The Queen of the Damned. In October 2004, Rice announced in a Newsweek article that she would "write only for the Lord." She called Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, her first novel in this genre, the beginning of a trilogy that chronicles the life of Jesus. The second volume of the series, The Road to Cana, was published in March 2008. On September 6, 2004, Rice posted a reply to a number of negative reviews that had appeared on regarding Blood Canticle, leading both to responses of support and to critical comments that she termed "venom". According to Rice, her rebuttal was eventually removed for reasons unknown to her.

Christian conversion

In the Author's Note from Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt, Rice states:

I had experienced an old fashioned, strict Roman Catholic childhood in the 1940s and 1950s… we attended daily Mass and communion in an enormous and magnificently decorated church … Stained glass windows, the Latin Mass, the detailed answers to complex questions on good and evil—these things were imprinted on my soul forever… I left this church at age 18... I wanted to know what was happening, why so many seemingly good people didn’t believe in any organized religion yet cared passionately about their behavior and value of their lives… I broke with the church violently and totally... I wrote many novels that without my being aware of it reflected my quest for meaning in a world without God. [9]
In her memoir Called Out of Darkness, Rice also states:

In the moment of surrender, I let go of all the theological or social questions which had kept me from [God] for countless years. I simply let them go. There was the sense, profound and wordless, that if He knew everything I did not have to know everything, and that, in seeking to know everything, I’d been, all of my life, missing the entire point. No social paradox, no historic disaster, no hideous record of injustice or misery should keep me from Him. No question of Scriptural integrity, no torment over the fate of this or that atheist or gay friend, no worry for those condemned and ostracized by my church or any other church should stand between me and Him. The reason? It was magnificently simple: He knew how or why everything happened; He knew the disposition of every single soul. He wasn’t going to let anything happen by accident! Nobody was going to go to Hell by mistake. [10]

In the article In Defense of Anne Rice for First Things, Patricia Snow writes:

Anne Rice is not a convert but a revert. Nearly half of Called Out of Darkness is a loving reconstruction of the pre–Vatican II Church of the 1940s and 1950s, in which Rice was immersed as a child in New Orleans, much as an illiterate peasant was immersed in the medieval Church... Rice soaked up her faith from her mother and from intensely beautiful, iconic experiences of Mass and Benediction, novenas and liturgical music... Rice takes pains to demonstrate that religion in this world of her childhood included the world. Whether she is describing the inquiring intellectualism of her bohemian Catholic parents, the confident professionalism of the nuns in her Catholic school, the night parades of Mardi Gras, or the movies of Cecil B. DeMille, she is describing a world that, in rich and effective ways, extended the sacred space of the Church... Rice writes movingly about the Church... She reminds me of the man in the parable who finds a treasure in a field and buys that field, except in Rice’s case she buys her fields before the treasure of faith returns. In extravagant, painfully literal ways she tries to recover the world she has lost, but “every step is marked by sadness, and a grief on the edge of despair.” Faith itself, the priceless treasure that would make sense of her purchases, is beyond her... “The great grace of Rice’s conversion is that… she is not the author of life or death... Twenty-five years and twenty-one books after the death of her daughter, Rice entrusts both herself and the people she loves to God. Freed from a lonely circle of hell, she comes back to the Church... [11]

Personal quotes

Excerpt from Rice's profession of faith

In 1998 I returned to the Catholic Church… I realized that the greatest thing I could do to show my complete love for Him was to consecrate my work to Him—to use any talent I had acquired as a writer, as a storyteller, as a novelist—for Him and for Him alone... Thence began my journey into intense Biblical study, intense historical research, and intense effort to write novels about the Jesus of Scripture, the Jesus of Faith, in His own vibrant First Century World... [12]

Excerpt from Essay On Earlier Works

My vampire novels and other novels I’ve written... are attempting to be transformative stories… All these novels involve a strong moral compass. Evil is never glorified in these books; on the contrary, the continuing battle against evil is the subject of the work. The search for the good is the subject of the work… Interview with the Vampire... is about the near despair of an alienated being who searches the world for some hope that his existence can have meaning. His vampire nature is clearly a metaphor for human consciousness or moral awareness. The major theme of the novel is the misery of this character because he cannot find redemption and does not have the strength to end the evil of which he knows himself to be a part. This book reflects for me a protest against the post World War II nihilism to which I was exposed in college from 1960 through 1972. It is an expression of grief for a lost religious heritage that seemed at that time beyond recovery... One thing which unites [my books] is the theme of the moral and spiritual quest. A second theme, key to most of them, is the quest of the outcast for a context of meaning, whether that outcast is an 18th century castrato opera singer, or a young boy of mixed blood coming of age in ante-bellum New Orleans, or a person forced into a monstrous predatory existence like the young vampire, Lestat… In 1976, I felt that the vampire was the perfect metaphor for the outcast in all of us, the alienated one in all of us, the one who feels lost in a world seemingly without God. In 1976, I felt I existed in such a world, and I was searching for God. I never dreamed that the word, vampire, would prevent people from examining this book as a metaphysical work. I thought the use of the word was a powerful device... The entire body of my earlier work reflects a movement towards Jesus Christ. In 2002, I consecrated my work to Jesus Christ. This did not involve a denunciation of works that reflected the journey. It was rather a statement that from then on I would write directly for Jesus Christ. I would write works about salvation, as opposed to alienation.[13] reviews

On Rice has also written many reviews on some of her favorite artists, recordings, books and films. Artists such as: violinists Hilary Hahn and Leila Josefowicz. Books from scholars such as Prof. Ellis Rivkin and the Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright. Films such as The Nun's Story starring Audrey Hepburn and The Bourne Supremacy starring Matt Damon.[14] For Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, Rice wrote:

"This is one of the greatest productions of Shakespeare I've ever seen... [Branagh] delivers Shakespeare's glorious lines in a way that makes them clear, and brings them to life with incalculable power... This is one of those feasts for the eyes and ears like Amadeus or Immortal Beloved, or The Red Shoes."[14]



In 1994, Neil Jordan directed a relatively faithful motion picture adaptation of Interview with the Vampire, from Rice's own screenplay. The movie starred Tom Cruise as Lestat, Brad Pitt as the guilt-ridden Louis and was a breakout role for young Kirsten Dunst as the deceitful child vampire Claudia.

A second film adaptation of the Vampire Chronicles came out in 2002. Starring Stuart Townsend as the infamous Lestat and singer Aaliyah, the movie combined incidents from the second and third books in the series but released under the title of the third book, The Queen of the Damned. The plot was substantially altered from that of the book, but was a box office success.

A 1994 film titled Exit to Eden, based loosely on the book Rice published as Anne Rampling, starred Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Aykroyd. The work transformed from a love story into a police comedy, possibly due to the explicit S&M themes of the book. The film was a box office flop.

A film version of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt was planned but later cancelled.


In 1997 Rice wrote a television pilot entitled Rag and Bone starring Dean Cain and Robert Patrick, which featured many of the common themes of her work.

The Feast of All Saints was made into a miniseries in 2001 by director Peter Medak.

Plans to adapt Rice's Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy into a twelve-hour miniseries to be aired on NBC were dropped after a change of studio head and subsequent loss of interest in the project.


In 1997, there was a ballet adaptation of Interview with the Vampire, which premiered in Prague.

On April 25, 2006, the musical Lestat, based on Rice's Vampire Chronicles books, opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway after having its world premiere in San Francisco, California in December 2005. With music by Elton John and lyrics by Bernie Taupin, it was the inaugural production of the newly established Warner Brothers Theatre Ventures.

Despite Rice's own overwhelming approval and praise, the show received mostly poor reviews by critics and disappointing attendance. Lestat closed a month later on May 28, 2006, after just thirty-three previews and thirty-nine regular performances.


Anne Rice's books have been adapted over the years into comics. Below is a list of known adaptations and issue runs; along with publisher and year.

  • Anne Rice's The Mummy or Ramses the Damned #1-12 by Millennium Comics (1990)
  • Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire #1-12 by Innovation Comics (1992)
  • Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned #1-6 by Innovation Comics (1991)
  • Anne Rice's The Tale of the Body Thief #1-12 by Sicilian Dragon (1999)
  • Anne Rice's The Vampire Companion #1-3 by Innovation Comics (1991)
  • Anne Rice's Vampire Lestat #1-14 by Innovation Comics (1990)
  • Anne Rice's The Witching Hour #1-5 by Millennium Publishing (1992)

Fan fiction

Rice has an adamant stance against fan fiction based on her work, releasing a statement on April 7, 2000 that prohibited all such efforts.[15] This caused the removal of thousands of fanfics from the popular FanFiction.Net website.


Cradle of Filth briefly includes Lestat in the song "Libertina Grimm" as "Count Lestat"..

Alternative rock band Concrete Blonde's song "Bloodletting (the Vampire Song)", the title track from the Bloodletting CD, is based on Rice's The Vampire Lestat.

Sting released a song on the album The Dream of the Blue Turtles entitled "Moon Over Bourbon Street", after reading Interview with the Vampire.

The Australian pop band Savage Garden found their name in The Vampire Lestat, in which Lestat describes the world as "the savage garden."

The metalcore band Atreyu declares in the song "The Crimson," "I'm an Anne Rice novel come to life."

Punk/goth band The Damned recorded a song called "The Dog" about the child vampire Claudia from Interview with the Vampire on their 1982 album Strawberries.

The Italian band Theatres des Vampires is named after a location featured in several books of The Vampire Chronicles. Their 1999 album is called The Vampire Chronicles.

Post-hardcore band Aiden wrote and recorded a song entitled "The Last Sunrise"—a lot of the lyrics of said song relate directly to the first book of The Vampire Chronicles, Interview with the Vampire.

Malice Mizer, a Japanese rock band based heavily on French culture, uses the phrase "Drink from me and live forever" in their song "Transylvania." "Drink from me and live forever" is a phrase from the first book Interview With the Vampire.

Mexican band Santa Sabina dedicates a song to Rice's vampire character Louis: "Una canción para Louis."

Psytrance project Talamasca was named after the secret society in both The Vampire Chronicles and the Mayfair Witches series. This is a solo project by the French musician Cedric Dassulle, which also calls himself DJ Lestat.

Japanese visual kei rock band Versailles first album, Noble, is subtitled "Vampires Chronicle." Furthermore, the sixth song is entitled "After Cloudia", insinuating a relationship with Claudia from the series. The lead singer, Kamijo has stated he models himself after Rice's character, Lestat de Lioncourt.

Italian gothic rock group Last Minute's debut album, Burning Theater, was conceived as an unofficial soundtrack for Interview with the Vampire, including the title track and two others, all focusing heavily on the death of Claudia.


The Vampire Chronicles

  • Interview with the Vampire (1976)
  • The Vampire Lestat (1985)
  • The Queen of the Damned (1988)
  • The Tale of the Body Thief (1992)
  • Memnoch the Devil (1995)
  • The Vampire Armand (1998)
  • Merrick (2000)
  • Blood and Gold (2001)
  • Blackwood Farm (2002)
  • Blood Canticle (2003)

New Tales of the Vampires

  • Pandora (1998)
  • Vittorio the Vampire (1999)

The Lives of the Mayfair Witches

  • The Witching Hour (1990)
  • Lasher (1993)
  • Taltos (1994)

Vampire/Mayfair crossover

In these novels the Mayfair Witches become part of the Vampire Chronicles world.

  • Merrick (2000)
  • Blackwood Farm (2002)
  • Blood Canticle (2003)

The Life of Christ

  • Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt (2005)
  • Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana (2008)
  • Christ the Lord: The Kingdom of Heaven (date not announced)

Songs of the Seraphim

  • Angel Time (October 2009)

Miscellaneous novels

  • The Feast of All Saints (1979)
  • Cry to Heaven (1982)
  • The Mummy (1989)
  • Servant of the Bones (1996)
  • Violin (1997)

Short fiction

  • October 4, 1948 (1965)
  • Nicholas and Jean (first ch. 1966)
  • The Master of Rampling Gate (Vampire Short Story) (1982)


  • Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession (2008) (autobiographical)

Under the pseudonym Anne Rampling

  • Exit to Eden (1985)
  • Belinda (1986)

Under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure

  • The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (1983)
  • Beauty's Punishment (1984)
  • Beauty's Release (1985)


Uncited references

  • Rice, Anne (2005), "Author's Note" in Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. ISBN 0-375-41201-8
  • Rice, Anne (2008), Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, Alfred A. Knopf, New York. ISBN 978-0-307-268-27-3

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Anne Rice. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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