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Anne Rice dies at age 80

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Anne Rice (public domain)

Best-selling author and Louisiana native Anne Rice died on Saturday after complications from a stroke.  She was 80 years old.

Rice will be laid to rest in private ceremony at the family’s mausoleum at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.  A public celebration of her life is planned for next year.

Rice is one of the most popular and best-selling authors of all time and her books have sold over 150 million copies. She was an instant success with her first novel “Interview with a Vampire” in 1976. The debut novel was adapted for film in 1994, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, and was the first of her series The Vampire Chronicles.  In 2002, “The Queen of the Damned” was adapted for film and, while less successful than the previous film, it still topped the box office on opening weekend.

Rice was born Howard Allen Frances O’Brien in New Orleans and spent most of her youth there.  It was there that she was given her name ‘Anne’ at St. Alphonsus School.

“Well, 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 said. “She was a bit of a Bohemian, a bit of mad woman, a bit of a genius, and a great deal of a great teacher. And she had the idea that naming a woman Howard was going to give that woman an unusual advantage in the world.”

In a touching post to social media, Anne’s son Christopher wrote, “Let us take comfort in the shared hope that Anne is now experiencing firsthand the glorious answers to many great spiritual and cosmic questions, the quest for which defined her life and career.”

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