American novelist, playwright, non-fiction writer, and philosopher Ayn Rand was born Alisa Rosenblum in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg), Russia in 1905.
By the time she completed her education at Petrograd State University, she had published her first essay and changed her professional name to Ayn Rand.
Rand originally traveled to the United States on a visit to relatives in 1926, and decided to stay in the U.S.
Determined to become a screenwriter, Rand settled in Hollywood and supported her writing by working at various positions in the film industry, including as an extra and as head of the costume department at RKO Pictures.
She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1931. Rand's first novel was published in 1936. Rand found her first serious financial success with her worldwide bestselling novel, The Fountainhead, in 1943.
She wrote the screenplay for the popular film adaptation produced by Hall Wallis and starring Gary Cooper. Rand's best-known work, the international bestseller Atlas Shrugged, was published in 1957.
Rand's philosophy of Objectivism is cited by selected contemporary politicians and prominent citizens as a major influence on their thinking. Rand died in New York City in 1982.
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