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Clare Boothe Luce

Writer / Political Figure

Born: 10 March 1903
Died: 9 October 1987
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: Socialite, playwright, ambassador and wife of publisher Henry Luce
From the 1930s through the 1960s Clare Boothe Luce blazed a trail as a successful writer, socialite and political dabbler -- and stayed in the headlines as the wife of Henry Luce, the publisher of Time, Fortune and LIFE magazines. Raised in New York City by her divorced mother, she attended private schools in the U.S. and France after her mother re-married in 1919. Clare was married to millionaire George Tuttle Brokaw (23 years her senior) from 1923 to 1929, but after her divorce she struck out on her own, using her private school connections to land a job at Vogue magazine. Ambitious and talented, by 1933 she was an editor for Vanity Fair. She married Luce in 1935 and turned her attention to writing plays, finding huge success with The Women (1936) and Kiss the Boys Goodbye (1938). A conservative Republican, during the 1940s she was a critic of President Franklin Roosevelt and a war reporter in Europe and Asia, mostly for LIFE magazine. She served as Connecticut's first woman congressman (1943-47) and her campaign work for Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 helped get her an ambassadorship to Italy (1953-56). After her husband's death in 1967, Boothe Luce withdrew somewhat from the limelight, "settling" in Hawaii but spending most of her time in Washington, D.C., where later she ended up in a minor advisory capacity under presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

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