Rand, Ayn

BORN 2 Feb 1905, St. Petersburg - DIED 6 Mar 1982, New York City, New York
BIRTH NAME Rosenbaum, Alisa Zinov'yevna
CAUSE OF DEATH heart failure
GRAVE LOCATION Valhalla, New York: Kensico Cemetery, 273 Lakeview Avenue (Uncas Section (left of the grave of Tommy Dorsey))

Ayn Rand was born into a Jewish family and grew up in Russia. During the Russian Revolution the family fled to the Crimnea. She lived for a few months with her relatives in Chicago but she had decided that she wanted to be a screenwriter and went to Hollywood.

During the 1920s she produced somemovie scenario.s, short stories and the novel "The Little Street". In 1929 she married the actor Frank O'Connor and in 1931 she received American citizenship. In 1932 she sold her screenplay "Red Pawn" to Universal Studios. Her next screenplay "Night of January 16th" was produced in Hollywood as well as on Broadway.

Her novel "We the Living" was published in 1936. During the 1940s she became politically active. She was a strong defender of individual rights and capitalism and she hated collectivism, fascism, communism, socialism and the welfare state.

Her novel "The Fountainhead" (1943) was a success. It contained her philosophy of Objectivism and claimed that ego is the fountainhead of human progress. But it received negative reviews and she fell into a depression. In 1951 she moved to New York and in 1954 started an affair with the much younger Nathaniel Branden. Her husband knew about it and agreed with it.

In 1957 her best know novel "Atlas Shrugged" was published. It presented a philosophical revolution by means of a violent action story. Branden started promoting her philosophy and during the 1960s and 1970s she continued to develop her Objectivism and gave talks at many Universities. In 1964 Branden had starten an affair with the actress Patrecia Scott and she only heard of it in 1968, when their affair had come to an end.

In 1974 she was treated for lung cancer and in 1979 her husband died. She worked on a television adaption of "Atlas Shrugged" but she died in 1982 before it was finished. Alan Greenspan was present at her funeral. In 1985 the Ayn Rand Institute was established and interest in her work is still alive.


The grave of Ayn Rand O'Connor at Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla.
Picture by Androom (11 Apr 2010)


• Reeth, Adela´de van & Guido Peeters, Herinneringen in Steen, De Haan/Unieboek, Houten, 1988
Wikipedia (EN): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand

Rapin, Simone

Published: 17 Oct 2010
Last update: 25 Feb 2022