Long before Ayn Rand became a household name for penning the controversial classics "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead," the novelist-philosopher lived in Hollywood, struggling, along with so many other immigrants, to launch a career through film.
From 1926 to 1951, Rand worked in Hollywood, getting her start as an extra on the set of Cecil B. DeMille's "The King of Kings" before working as a screenwriter for Paramount and as a copywriter for an anti-totalitarian Hollywood activist group. It's these lesser-known aspects of Rand's life that will be explored at various events and in the exhibit "Ayn Rand in Hollywood: Images and Documents," opening Saturday at the Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Library. In addition to documents and rare photos, a series of three readings from Rand's unpublished works begins later this month, followed in January by a series of four films. The 1997 documentary "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life," which was nominated for an Oscar, kicks off the monthlong series, which continues back in time to the two 1945 features Rand wrote, as well as the film version of "The Fountainhead." Rand's famed 1943 novel is the subject of a lecture in February. "Integrity and Hollywood: Adapting the Fountainhead to Film" explores Rand's screenplay (which was made into the film) and the two competing, and contradictory, adaptations that were rejected.