A writer whose work has been used across all the arts, Anne Rice was born Howard Allen O’Brien in 1941, but chose the name Anne upon entering the first grade. After college Anne spent a year as an insurance claims examiner before marrying her childhood sweetheart, Stan. In 1972, the couple lost their daughter Michelle to leukemia just before the little girl’s fifth birthday. Six years later Anne and Stan welcomed son Christopher, who would go on to become a successful author in his own right all four of his novels were New York Times bestsellers, including his critically acclaimed first novel A Density of Souls.
Anne is best known for her Vampire Chronicles series of novels, the first of which, Interview with the Vampire, was published in 1976. In 1994 the book became a popular motion picture starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Kirsten Dunst. Interview with the Vampire along with Rice’s novel, The Vampire Lestat was also the basis for a 2004 Broadway musical, Lestat, written by Elton John, among others. Another one of Anne’s books, The Feast of All Saints, was turned into a mini-series that aired on the Showtime network. Anne’s nonfiction book Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, was published in late 2008.
From 1962 to 1988, Stan and Anne lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1989, Anne bought the New Orleans home she used to pass on her way to church as a child, a house that eventually provided the backdrop for some of her novels. Stan died in 2002 after a brief battle with brain cancer, and in 2005, Anne left New Orleans just months before the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. She currently lives in the California desert.
A startling series of events led up to Anne being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In December of 1998, she woke up with a terrible headache and difficulty breathing. Anne lapsed into a coma and was at one point very close to death. She did come out of it, however, and upon waking up Anne learned that her blood sugar level was around 800.
Anne’s first symptom, chronic indigestion, began more than 5 years before the coma. Soon after the indigestion, she began to experience weight loss, followed by a lack of focus that she feared would cost her her career. Things did improve, and Anne went about her routine, but shortly after Anne renewed her wedding vows with Stan, things disintegrated. She woke up around 6 AM and called her assistant. Once again, Anne’s elevated blood sugar caused her to lose consciousness. After waking, she was given her diagnosis.
Now, Anne treats her diabetes by checking her blood sugar four times a day, and giving herself shots of insulin. Like many public figures, Anne is using her fame to help others. “If you think you might have diabetes, for God’s sake, go get the blood sugar test”, Anne said. “It’s a simple test. There’s nothing to it. Absolutely nothing”.