|Born Alisa Rosenbaum, Ayn Rand graduated from the University of Petrograd and immediately immigrated to the U.S., joining relatives in Chicago and then moving to Hollywood, where she hoped to write screenplays. She worked first as an extra in films, but eventually did begin to write. Most of her screenplays, like her novels, were fiercely anti-Communist, pro-capitalist diatribes. Her first successful novel, THE FOUNTAINHEAD (1945), was a bestseller; it was followed by ATLAS SHRUGGED. Both novels served as Rand's mouthpiece, articulating the philosophy known as Objectivism, which promotes "rational self-interest" and was wildly influential in the 1950s and 1960s. After ATLAS SHRUGGED, Rand stopped writing fiction, devoting the rest of her life to public speaking and works of philosophy. She was married for 50 years to Frank O'Connor, an actor; he died in 1979, when Rand (a lifelong chain smoker) was already suffering from lung cancer, which she died of in 1982, at 77.