Author Anne Rice, best known for her Vampire Chronicles books (including Interview With The Vampire), has died. The news was announced by her son, fellow author Christopher Rice, who said on social media that his mother had died last night from “complications resulting from a stroke.” Rice was 80.
Born to an Irish Catholic family in New Orleans in 1941, Rice’s mother died from alcoholism when Rice was a teenager and her father sent her and her sisters off to a school. When her father remarried, he moved the family to Texas. There, Rice met her future husband, poet Stan Rice, who—as noted in Christopher Rice’s statement—died nearly 19 years ago to the day of Anne Rice’s death.
Rice later moved to San Francisco, studying creative writing in various academic programs throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s. After the two were married, Stan Rice joined her in San Francisco and she gave birth to a daughter, Michele, in 1966, who died in 1972 from acute granulocytic leukemia.
Around this time, Rice got the idea to turn an old short story she had written into a full novel: Interview With A Vampire. It wasn’t published until several years later, in 1976, but her soon-to-be prolific writing career took off after that. Rice published several novels even before returning to vampires, including The Feast Of All Saints, Cry To Heaven, and erotic novels (written under various pseudonyms) like The Claiming Of Sleeping Beauty and Exit To Eden (later adapted into a Garry Marshall buddy-cop comedy that was universally panned, including by Rice herself).
Rice then wrote her first two Interview sequels, The Vampire Lestat and The Queen Of The Damned, with the series eventually spanning more than a dozen titles and ending with 2018's Blood Communion: A Tale Of Prince Lestat. That’s in addition to all of her non-vampire books, like The Witching Hour, Servant Of The Bones, more erotic novels published under a pseudonym, and—notably—a handful of distinctly religious books about the life of Jesus.
In 2005, after a number of health issues, Rice publicly announced that she would only be using her platform as a famous novelist to promote Christianity, leading to the books Christ The Lord: Out Of Egypt and Christ The Lord: The Road To Cana. By 2010, though, Rice (a longtime supporter of LGBTQ and abortion rights) had become disillusioned by organized religion and left the Christian church, saying that “following Christ does not mean following His followers.”
After that, she returned to horror fiction, including the Vampire Chronicles series but also werewolf books like The Wolf Gift Chronicles (and one last sequel to The Claiming Of Sleeping Beauty, for good measure). In the last few years, her vampire books have enjoyed a renewed interest from both readers and production companies, with several movie and TV studios trying to chase the high of 1994's Interview With A Vampire adaptation—which starred Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Kirsten Dunst.
Just last year, AMC got the rights to both The Vampire Chronicles and Rice’s Lives Of The Mayfair Witches with the intention of creating an Anne Rice TV universe. As of this summer, Sam Reid had been cast as AMC’s Lestat with Jacob Anderson playing Louis. That should all be kicking off at some point in 2022.
In his social media statement, Christopher Rice said that, while a private ceremony will be held initially for his mother, a “celebration of her life” will be held next year in New Orleans with “the participation of her friends, readers, and fans who brought her such joy and inspiration throughout her life.”