'Queen of the Vampires': Genre-Defining Author Anne Rice Dies From Stroke at 80
Anne Rice, one of the best-selling authors of all time, reimagined the vampire genre. Her debut novel "Interview with a Vampire" became an international best-seller and catapulted her to literary stardom.
Famed author Anne Rice has died after suffering from complications related to a stroke, her son Christopher Rice announced
on Sunday. She was 80.
“As my mother, her support for me was unconditional — she taught me to embrace my dreams, reject conformity and challenge the dark voices of fear and self-doubt,” Christopher wrote. “As a writer, she taught me to defy genre boundaries and surrender to my obsessive passions.”
“In her final hours, I sat beside her hospital bed in awe of her accomplishments and her courage, awash in memories of a life that took us from the fog laced hills of the San Francisco Bay Area to the magical streets of New Orleans to the twinkling vistas of Southern California.”
Born Howard Allen Frances O'Brien in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1941, Rice grew up in a Roman Catholic family. Her father was a World War II veteran, worked for the postal service and had one book published posthumously. Rice’s mother struggled with alcoholism and ultimately died from it when Rice was 15 years old.
Rice moved to North Texas in her late teens before settling permanently in San Francisco in 1962. Over the next decade, she studied at San Francisco State University, earning a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in creative writing.
In 1970, tragedy struck Rice when her daughter Michele was diagnosed with granulocytic leukemia. Two years later, she died at the age of five. Her daughter would inspire the Claudia character in her debut novel.
Rice’s debut novel, Interview with a Vampire, released in 1976, shot her to literary stardom and kickstarted her immensely popular Vampire Chronicles. Over the next 40 years, Rice wrote twelve more novels for the series, writing an additional 25 books alongside the immensely popular chronicles. All told, she sold over 150 million books, making her one of the highest-grossing authors of all time.
Rice’s novels Interview with a Vampire, Queen of the Damned, Exit to Eden, and Christ the Lord were adapted into major motion pictures.
Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, centered on Lestat de Lioncourt, created a modern brooding ‘misunderstood-vampire’ genre. Series such as "True Blood" and "Twilight" are influenced by Rice’s works.
Following the news of Rice’s death, there was an outpouring of support on social media.
Many of her novels center on outcasts and struck a chord with various groups of readers. Her status as the mother of the modern vampire novel reportedly made her an inspiration for an entire generation of artists.
Rice will be interred at the family mausoleum in New Orleans in a private ceremony. The family intends to hold a public ceremony in 2022 to celebrate the author's life.