Author Anne Rice, Queen of Gothic Literature in New Orleans, has died | News


New Orleans-born novelist Anne Rice, best known for her 1976 hit thriller “Interview With The Vampire”, has passed away. She was 80 years old. A prolific author, Rice has published over the course of her 44-year career over 40 books, many in the horror genre, but also historical and religious titles, selling over 150 million copies worldwide. .

Rice died of complications from a stroke, according to a social media post by her son Christopher.

During the 1980s, Rice became the world queen of Gothic literature, gaining an army of devoted followers. The book “Interview With The Vampire” and the film that followed with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise forever changed the popular image of vampires from unknowable monsters to elegant and psychologically complex characters. Rice eventually wrote 13 vampire novels.

Rice’s vampire mark has become a cultural phenomenon. The blood-borne contagion at the center of his vampire chronicles resonated particularly strongly during the AIDS epidemic.

Anne Rice, 73, visited St. Alphonsus Church in New Orleans on October 30, 2014. The famous novelist grew up in the Irish Channel neighborhood. During her childhood, the 19th century church was the center of her family’s spiritual and community life. (Chris Waddington, | The Times-Picayune)

Despite Cruise’s undeniable box office draw, Rice felt the actor was unsuited for the film’s role as Lioncourt’s mischievous and androgynous vampire Lestat. And she did not hesitate to share her opinion.

In 1993, she announced that in her opinion Cruise was too “mum and apple pie” for the grim role and that he should “do himself and everyone else a favor and step back.” reportedly told the Los Angeles Times that “It’s like casting Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in the movie.”

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Rice was a champion of New Orleans culture, and her vampire sons, who take place in contemporary and historic Crescent City, spurred a vampire-worshiping cottage industry that persists to this day.

In 1993, Rice purchased the unoccupied St. Elizabeth orphanage on Napoleon Avenue and invested millions in renovating the 1857 building that occupied much of the block. The author used the neoclassical structure to house his doll collection, and for two decades it was a must-see for Rice fans. In 2003, Rice sold the property.

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Rice has kept the legacy of her vampire characters. In 1997, she fought in the press with Popeyes fried chicken mogul Al Copeland at a restaurant he opened on St. Charles Avenue. Rice’s most famous anti-hero, Lestat, had looked at his image in a window at this address, and Rice felt the restaurant’s glitzy decor was therefore inappropriate.

In a full-page ad Rice ran in The Times-Picayune, she said that “this St. Charles Avenue gang’s humblest flophouse has more dignity.” Copeland sued for libel, but the court ruled that Rice was free to express her opinion.

Copeland Restaurant on St. Charles Avenue with a Long History Becomes a New Event Venue

Born Howard Allen Frances O’Brien in 1941, Rice grew up in the Irish Channel neighborhood of New Orleans, where many of her novels are set. His father worked for the post office but also made sculptures and wrote fiction. Her older sister, Alice Borchardt, has also written fantasy and horror novels. Rice’s mother died when Rice was 15.

Anne Rice (then O’Brien) married poet Stan Rice in 1961. They had two children, Christopher and the late Michele Rice. Rice reportedly wrote “Interview with a Vampire” during the period of mourning and crisis of faith following the death of 7-year-old Michele in 1972. “I don’t know where it came from, but when it’s over, I ‘realized why I wrote it,’ she told a Times-Picayune reporter in 1990.

Anne Rice claimed that her husband was, in part, the model of her beloved Lestat. Stan Rice died in 2002.

On Saturday, Christopher Rice, who is also an author, wrote: “” Let us take comfort in the shared hope that Anne now knows firsthand the glorious answers to many great spiritual and cosmic questions, the quest for which has defined her life. and his career. . ”

Rice is expected to be buried in a private ceremony at a family mausoleum in New Orleans on an undisclosed date, the statement said. A public celebration of life is due to take place next year, he said.

Rice’s “Chronicles of the Vampires” are slated to be adapted again in an upcoming TV series on AMC and AMC + which is slated to air next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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