V.C. Andrews is the best-selling author of a series of Gothic horror family sagas that include Flowers in the Attic series, the Heaven series, the Dawn series, and the Ruby series. In recent years, Lifetime has adapted several of these book series for TV, featuring such stars as Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, Kiernan Shipka, Julie Benz, Kelly Rutherford, Daphne Zuniga, and Jason Priestley
For Labor Day Weekend 2020, Lifetime is broadcasting a marathon of the Andrews adaptations, plus debuting a new sneak peek at the upcoming Ruby series adaptation. Ahead of that marathon, here’s what you need to know about Andrews’ death and who kept writing her novels after she died.
Andrews Died of Breast Cancer in 1986
Cleo Virginia Andrews, aka V.C. Andrews, was born and raised in Virginia. She was in a wheelchair for much of her life due to a fall during her adolescence that led to a torn membrane, bone spurs, and eventually crippling arthritis, she said in a 1985 interview.
She published her first series of novels, the Dollanganger Flowers in the Attic series, between 1979 and 1986. She published her stand-alone novel My Sweet Audrina in 1982, and she started the Casteel family series in 1985.
But in December 1986, Andrews died from breast cancer. According to her New York Times obituary, the seven novels published before her death had sold more than 30 million copies at that point. Andrews was survived by her mother, Lillian, and brothers Eugene and Bill.
After her death, the family hired Andrew Neiderman to continue the Casteel series as a ghostwriter under the V.C. Andrews Trust. He would go on to write the Cutler family series (Dawn), the Landry series (Ruby), the Logan series (Melody), the Orphans series, the Wildflowers series, the Hudson series (Rain), the Shooting Stars series, the DeBeers series (Willow), the Broken Wings series, the Gemini series (Celeste), the Shadows series, the Early Spring series, the Secrets series, the Delia series, the Heavenstone series, the Kindred series, the March Family series, and the Forbidden series, the Diary series, the Mirror Sisters series, the Girls of Spindrift series, the House of Secrets series, and the Attic series all under the name V.C. Andrews.
Lifetime’s Andrews Adaptations Continue in 2021 with Ruby
Lifetime has so far successfully adapted Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic and Heaven series, plus standalone novel My Sweet Audrina. The Ruby series is next, which will debut in 2021 and feature film versions of Ruby, Pearl in the Mist, All That Glitters, and Hidden Jewel. Lifetime recently announced that the Ruby series has added Naomi Judd, Gil Bellows, and Deborah Cox to its cast.
Ruby centers on Ruby Landry (Raechelle Banno), born in the Louisiana bayou and watched over by her loving Grandmère Catherine (Judd). Ruby is filled with hope as love blooms with her high school sweetheart Paul Tate, but lingering thoughts of her mysterious father and her mother’s death often creep into Ruby’s mind. As dark family secrets begin to reveal themselves when Paul’s parents forbid him from seeing Ruby, Ruby is further devastated when her beloved Grandmère passes away. Forced to flee to New Orleans from the bayou, Ruby searches for her estranged father (Bellows), one of the richest men in the city, as she clings to her memories of Paul and their forbidden love.
The Ruby cast also includes Sam Duke, Ty Wood, Serge Houde, Liza Huget, Mason Temple, Ducan Ollerenshaw, Paula Giroday, Marc-Anthony Messiah, Veena Sood, Bob Frazer, Eric Vincent, and Caroline Yonge.
The Lifetime marathon of V.C. Andrews’ book series Flowers in the Attic, Heaven, and My Sweet Audrina airs Saturday, September 5 beginning at noon ET/PT and Sunday, September 6 beginning at 10 a.m. ET/PT on Lifetime. It will include a special sneak peek at the upcoming Ruby series.