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Ripley, Alexandra (Braid) 1934-2004

RIPLEY, Alexandra (Braid) 1934-2004

OBITUARY NOTICE—

See index for CA sketch: Born January 8, 1934, in Charleston, SC; died January 10, 2004, in Richmond, VA. Author. Ripley was an author of historical novels who gained a measure of notoriety in the early 1990s when she penned the sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. After earning a B.A. in 1955 at Vassar College, where she studied Russian, she tried, unsuccessfully at first, writing novels while working for various New York publishing houses writing copy for dust jackets and catalogs. Tiring of this, she moved to Virginia, where she found low-paying work in a book store and continued to write. Publishing her first novel, Who's that Lady in the President's Bed? (1972), Ripley was still struggling as an author when, on a trip back to New York City, an editor invited her to write a novel set in the historical South. This became Charleston (1981), which would be followed by four more novels of the American South. In the mid-1980s, the estate of Margaret Mitchell was looking for an author to write a sequel to Gone with the Wind. Based on Ripley's earlier novels, she was selected for the task, which was controversial because when Mitchell was alive she had said she never wanted to write a sequel. Nevertheless, the assignment was given, and Ripley produced Scarlett: The Sequel to Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind in 1991. Although the book was a bestseller, it never equaled the original, as critics and even the author had predicted. However, Ripley still became a millionaire from the project. She would complete two more novels after Scarlett: From Fields of Gold (1994) and A Love Divine (1996).

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Chicago Tribune, January 26, 2004, sec. 4, p. 10.

Los Angeles Times, January 27, 2004, p. B10.

New York Times, January 27, 2004, p. A23.

Washington Post, January 28, 2004, p. B6.

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