Anne Rice, 80, who attended North Texas in the early 1960s before becoming an internationally best-selling novelist known for her Gothic vampire stories, died Dec. 11 in Rancho Mirage, California.
Her most famous book, Interview with a Vampire, was made into a 1994 movie starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and it followed a dozen other books known as the Vampire Chronicles. The books even inspired a Broadway musical, Lestat, with music written by Elton John.
She wrote more than 30 books, including the novel Exit to Eden and the memoir Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Journey. Her works have sold 150 million copies.
In our 2009 profile, Rice recounted that she enjoyed college life in Denton so much that she featured the town in her novel The Witching Hour. She had come to Denton initially to attend Texas Woman’s University and later transferred to North Texas.
Both she and her boyfriend, Stan, were English students who married at the home of Jesse Ritter, a creative writing professor. They frequently listened to the lab band in the student union, among other activities.
“It was a wonderful atmosphere of creativity,” she says. “We really felt like you could do wonderful things, and that was shared by other people.”
They later moved to California, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University, before pursuing a writing career.