Barbara Branden on Ayn Rand's Inner Life and Legacy


As Brian Doherty noted last night, author and longtime associate of Ayn Rand and major figure in the development of the broad-based libertarian movement Barbara Branden has died at the age of 84. In his eloquent obituary, Doherty writes that Barbara "Branden was a living and bracing example of how one needn't either blindly worship or ignore the humanity of Ayn Rand to admire and promote her philosophy." Branden's The Passion of Ayn Rand, which focused on the emotional life of a writer best known for promoting rationality, was a controversial best-seller that was later turned into a popular Showtime drama. 

Click above to see Branden discuss Rand and her legacy as part of Reason TV's 2009 series Radicals for Capitalism: Celebrating the Ideas of Ayn Rand. (Watch all of our Rand-related videos, including interviews with Nathaniel Branden, the founders of Reason Foundation Bob Poole, Manny Klausner, and Tibor Machan, behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the movie of Atlas Shrugged, and more).

The interview with Barbara Branden originally ran on November 10, 2009. Here's the writeup that accompanied it:

Arguably, no two people were closer to Ayn Rand than Barbara and Nathaniel Branden, whom Rand once named as her "intellectual heir." Indeed, when the Brandens married in 1953, the author served as bridesmaid (Rand had also urged the pair to wed).

A decade later, the Brandens would collaborate on the first biography of Rand, Who Is Ayn Rand? In 1986, Barbara published a second biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand, which eventually was made into an award-winning Showtime movie starring Helen Mirren. 

Despite the ruinous and controversial romantic affair between Rand and Nathaniel Branden and her eventual ouster from Rand's inner circle, Barbara still feels fondly for the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. As Branden, now 80, recalls in this interview, "I felt like she's answering questions that I've been looking for answers for, and nobody's been giving me any sort of answer until now."

Approximately seven minutes. Interview by Seth Goldin, camera by Alex Manning, and editing by Hawk Jensen.