» Anne Rice Biography
by Marion Phillips - October 5, 2003
Anne Rice is the most important Horror fiction writer of the world nowadays, and her only direct "rival" is Stephen King.
Putting together all kinds of personal, historical and mythological elements, Rice created not only a very interesting Horror fiction, but also books that are analyses of the human nature.
Every Tale Has A Start...
Howard Allen O’Brien was born in New Orleans in October 4, 1941. Did you notice something unusual in her name? Well, she was named after her father Howard, but in her first day in a Nun’s school, she blurted out the name Anne to the nun, because she had always been a little uneasy about it.
Her mother died when she was 14 years old, soon afterwards her father remarried, and in 1958 she and her three sisters had to move to Richardson, Texas, because her father got a transfer in his work.
There Anne got journalism classes, and in one of these she met Stan Rice, the two became friends right away, and some months later they started to date.
In 1960 as she decided to move to San Francisco, they went on with their relationship through correspondence and one year later he sent a telegram asking her in marriage and in October 14 they married in Texas, and later moved to San Francisco.
Both of them took courses at the San Francisco State University, and earned their bachelors in 1964.
Stan Rice’s poetry was becoming popular while he started a doctorate program in Berkeley – later dropping it for SFSU and Anne earned a BA in Political Science and Creative Writing.
In 1965 her first short story was published in the university’s magazine: “October 4, 1948”, and in 1966 their first child was born, Michelle. Both of them were starting to get very prosperous in their careers, as Stan was teaching at SFSU and Anne had her stories being published by a magazine and attended Graduate School.
In 1969 they moved to Berkeley where Anne Rice would start to write the short story that would become “Interview with the vampire” and the novel “Katherine and Jean”, which attracted the attention of some publishers.
In 1970 a bomb fell over their heads when their 4 years old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Even amid this storm, she managed to take care of their daughter and finish her master degree.
But in spite of all the care, she died in 1972 and the loss made both Anne and Stan Rice drown in alcohol for years, until both of them decided to make a treatment against alcoholism.
That was when, to avoid contact with the pain, Anne Rice started to write “Interview” full time and as she was about to lose her job, Stan offered to work for both of them at the university as she stayed at home typing her story through the day. It took her five weeks to finish the story and one year until it was bought by Knopf Publishers.
She once told how when she told Stan Rice about the 4 years old Claudia, a character in the novel that is turned to a vampire, Stan said that the character should be a little older, so she changed its age to 6 years old. Claudia is a direct analogy to Michelle, while the character Lestat is a direct analogy to her own husband Stan, even in its physical aspects.
Road To Success
Still in 1976 when the book was published, Paramount Studios offered Anne US$ 150,000 for the rights to produce the movie.
With the money they earned with the book sales, they traveled Europe, Caribbean and North Africa and in 1979, their second child was born, a boy called Christopher, who now is also a novelist.
Also with all the money she was earning, Anne told Stan Rice that he should stop working and concentrate only in what he liked to do the most: paint and write poems and so he did. It was a way to recompense the support he gave her when she was writing "Interview". In future years when she owned the convent St. Elizabeth, she even made a gallery for Stan to expose his paintings - which were never for sale.
Her next book to be published was “The Feast of All Saints”, and through the 80’s she would publish many different books, mainly in the Dark Romantic, Soft Horror style and even a trilogy of Erotica books.
Anne’s books started a mania in USA: the rebirth of the vampire stories. She managed to modernize the legends and make her characters extremely human, with problems that can be compared with those most people have: loneliness, lack of purpose, religious confusion, obstacles to overcome, relationship conflicts, etc.
In 1989 she and her family moved back to New Orleans and there Stan Rice and she bought the house of their dreams, a neo-classical mansion in 1239 First Street, where also one of her sisters went to live with them.
Success continued to grow and got even bigger after the release of the “Interview with the Vampire” movie in 1993, starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, Antonio Banderas and Kirsten Dunst. The movie is now cult and brought a whole new public to read her books and get interested in literature – I am an example.
At first she thought that Tom Cruise’s acting would ruin the movie, but after she saw the results, she apologized and recently she said that she’s very proud of the film.
The Recent Story
But worse things would come the way, when the “Queen of the Damned” novel was turned into a movie in 2001. In the “Interview” movie, the script was written by her, but this time the producers refused even to have her as a consultant. And what came out was a poor diluted version of the epic, which hardly had anything to do with the story.
Also something that always makes me wonder when I think about both movies is that in the first one actor River Phoenix had been chosen to play Daniel Molloy, but because he died days before the production was about to start, then Slater was called to substitute him. In the “Queen” movie, singer Aallyah died days after the production, leaving some dubbing work to do. Such strange coincidences…
Anyway Anne Rice herself admitted later that she simply can’t like the movie and that she wished that the actor Stuart Townsend - who by the way, has a name similar to one of her characters of the Mayfair books – had played her Lestat in a more passionate way.
In that same year her son published his first book, thus joining the family’s métier, as Stan already published some poetry books and also all of Anne’s sisters are writers.
In 2002 a tragedy happened to them when Stan Rice was diagnosed with leukemia and died in December of that year. He was 63 years old. But Anne is a brave woman, and she’s due to release the “Blood Canticles” book this month, which unfortunately was announced by her as the last vampires’ and witches' book she’ll write.
If you want to know more about her on the web, check out her official site, as it has many messages left by her, and if you want to know more about her somewhere else, check out her biographies, they have very good informations!
This page is a tribute to her, for her "courage" and "general kindness". (check next month - May, 2004 - for an update on this bio)
If you want more informations:
*part of the informations on this article were taken from a recent interview she gave to the Spook magazine*
Copyright © 2003 Marion Phillips