Ayn Rand

Active - 1941 - 1982  |   Born - Feb 2, 1905 in St. Petersburg, Russia  |   Died - Mar 6, 1982 in New York, NY  |   Genres - Drama

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Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905, Ayn Rand, founder of the philosophy of Objectivism, determined her own destiny to become a writer by the age of nine. Throughout her life, her philosophical and fictional works not only brought her career success, but left a mark amongst her writing and intellectual peers, which continued to influence those fields for decades after their inscription. Her concept of drama -- largely dependent on successfully demonstrating one's own beliefs within a literary context -- proved successful in the many plays, novels, and films accredited to the woman whose works attempted to refresh human faith in individualism and capitalism.

After attending the University of Petrograd, and the State Institute for Cinema where she studied screenwriting, Rand moved to the U.S. in 1926 to start her Hollywood career under Cecil B. DeMille. Soon after, she appeared in The King of Kings (1927) as an extra. In addition to several scripts that were never produced, she wrote the play The Night of January 16th, which earned both critical and box-office success in 1934. Her other credits include several scripts in collaboration with Hal Wallis, a screenwriting credit on Love Letters adapted from the novel by Christopher Massie, and a re-writing credit on Robert Smith's You Came Along (the latter two both during 1945).

In 1929, Rand married actor Frank O'Connor, thus legally renewing her permission to reside in the United States. Their marriage remained intact until O'Connor's death (just a few years before her own), despite her long-term affair during the 1950s and 1960s with Nathaniel Branden -- who was also her intellectual partner in defining Objectivism. Relocating from Hollywood in the 1950s, Ayn Rand continued her writing career amongst the skyscrapers of her true love, New York City.

As a self-titled "Objectivist," Ayn Rand wrote several famous novels -- two of which were eventually converted into film versions -- to exemplify her ethical and intellectual arguments. In 1949, The Fountainhead was produced from a screenplay Rand adapted from her novel of the same name. Starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, the individualistic drama unfolds through the story of an architect who refuses to compromise his integrity at any cost -- including the potential loss of romantic love. The Fountainhead, directed by King Vidor in 1949, has been acclaimed both for screen direction and dramatic values. Rand began crafting a script version of Atlas Shrugged -- her highly controversial 1957 novel of biblical proportions -- in the years preceding her death, but did not complete it herself. Produced by Albert Ruddy, the TNT miniseries Atlas Shrugged was delayed for some time, partially due to the knowledge of Rand's desire for ultimate control over the project. Long after her death on March 6, 1982, Atlas Shrugged was finally completed, and originally aired in 2001.

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