Clare Boothe Luce
American writer, politician, ambassador, journalist and anti-Communist activist
Clare Boothe Luce
Clare Boothe Luce was an American playwright, editor, journalist, ambassador, socialite and U.S. Congresswoman, representing the state of Connecticut.
Biography
Clare Boothe Luce's personal information overview.
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News
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Ivan Goff, Writer and Producer, Is Dead at 89
NYTimes - over 17 years
Ivan Goff, co-creator of the television series ''Charlie's Angels'' and co-writer of the films ''White Heat,'' ''Captain Horatio Hornblower'' and ''Man of a Thousand Faces,'' died on Thursday at a hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 89 and lived in Malibu. With his writing partner for 39 years, Ben Roberts, Mr. Goff turned out scripts for 25
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Essay; Absorbing The Outsiders
NYTimes - over 25 years
Sarmite Elerte, 34, strikes me as the most fascinating woman in the former Soviet union. In the dangerous early days of breakup, she was a key agitator for the Latvian Popular Front; in the recent period of new independence, she took time out to have a baby; in the sobering time of building a nation, she is becoming managing editor of Diena, the
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Clifford L. Abbey And Clare Luce Are Wed on L.I.
NYTimes - almost 29 years
LEAD: Clare Middleton Luce, the daughter of Margarget H. Howe of Cold Spring Harbor, L.I., and Peter P. Luce of Boulder, Colo., was married yesterday to Clifford Louis Abbey, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Vance Abbey of Sweet Home, Ore. The Rev. Dr. James I. McCord, the chancellor of the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton University and a
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CLARE BOOTHE LUCE IS REMEMBERED
NYTimes - almost 29 years
LEAD: Sylvia Jukes Morris's research into the life and times of the fascinating Clare Boothe Luce was both honest and gentle (''In Search of Clare Boothe Luce,'' Jan. 31). Sylvia Jukes Morris's research into the life and times of the fascinating Clare Boothe Luce was both honest and gentle (''In Search of Clare Boothe Luce,'' Jan. 31). This grand
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In Search of Clare Boothe Luce
NYTimes - about 29 years
LEAD: LATE IN THE FALL OF 1980, ARCHIE AND Selwa Roosevelt called me in New York and invited me to dinner in Washington. It seemed a long way to go for a party, until Selwa casually said, ''Clare Luce is coming.'' LATE IN THE FALL OF 1980, ARCHIE AND Selwa Roosevelt called me in New York and invited me to dinner in Washington. It seemed a long way
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BEHIND THE SCENE WITH ED WILLIAMS
NYTimes - almost 34 years
Phil Gailey is a reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times. The first time Edward Bennett Williams invited President Reagan to be his guest at the opening game of his baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles, was in 1981. Mr. Reagan failed to attend because a few days before the game he was wounded in an assassination attempt. That event,
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Charlotte Curtis; Irene Selznick: Her Story
NYTimes - about 34 years
THE view from Irene Mayer Selznick's dark green study is a peaceful one. She looks over Central Park, and on winter afternoons, when the sun is a faded pink, the dim light softens the buildings and bare trees, blurring their harsh lines. ''If I look across, I see the pond,'' she said. ''Down, I see book stalls, the walks and the trees. Even when
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HOLLYWOOD CORRESPONDENT
NYTimes - over 35 years
THE LETTERS OF NUNNALLY JOHNSON Selected and Edited by Dorris Johnson and Ellen Leventhal. Foreword by Alistair Cooke. 281 pp. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $16.50. MORE than half a century has passed since Nunnally Johnson first swam into my ken as the author of a humorous column in The New York Evening Post. By the time I arrived in Hollywood in
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Clare Boothe Luce
    TEENAGE
  • 1987
    Luce died of brain cancer on October 9, 1987, at age 84, at her Watergate apartment in Washington, D.C. She is buried at Mepkin Abbey, South Carolina, a plantation that she and Henry Luce had once owned and given to a community of Trappist monks.
    More Details Hide Details She lies in a grave adjoining those of her mother, her daughter, and her husband. Revered in her later years as a heroine of the feminist movement, Luce had mixed feelings about the role of women in society. As a Congresswoman in 1943, she was invited to co-sponsor a submission of the Equal Rights Amendment, offered by Representative Louis Ludlow of Indiana, but claimed that the invitation got lost in her mail. Clare never ceased to advise women to marry and provide supportive homes for their husbands. (During her ambassadorial years, at a dinner in Luxembourg attended by many European dignitaries, Luce was heard declaiming that all women wanted from men was "babies and security.") Yet, her own professional career as a successful editor, writer, playwright, reporter, legislator, and diplomat remarkably showed how a woman of humble origins and no college education could raise herself to an escalating series of public heights. Luce bequeathed a large part of her personal fortune of some $50 million to an academic program, the Clare Boothe Luce Program, designed to encourage the entry of women into technological fields traditionally dominated by men. Because of her determination and unwillingness to let her gender stand in the way of her personal and professional achievements, Clare is considered to be an influential role model by many women. Starting from humble beginnings, Clare never allowed her initial poverty or her male counterparts' lack of respect to keep her from achieving as much if not more than many of the men surrounding her.
  • 1983
    President Reagan awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983.
    More Details Hide Details She was the first female member of Congress to receive this award. Upon presenting her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Reagan said this of Luce:
    President Reagan reappointed Luce to PFIAB. She served on the board until 1983.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1979
    In 1979, she was the first female to be awarded the Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy at West Point.
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  • 1977
    She remained on the board until President Jimmy Carter succeeded President Gerald Ford in 1977.
    More Details Hide Details By then, she had put down roots in Washington, D.C. that would become permanent in her last years.
  • 1973
    In 1973, President Richard Nixon named her to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB).
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  • OTHER
  • 1967
    The Luces stayed together until Henry's death from a heart attack in 1967.
    More Details Hide Details As one of the great "power couples" in American history, they were welded by their mutual interests and complementary, if contrasting, characters. They treated each other with unfailing respect in public, never more so than when he willingly acted as his wife's consort during her years as Ambassador to Italy. She was never able to convert him to Catholicism (he was the son of a Presbyterian missionary) but he did not question the sincerity of her faith, often attended Mass with her, and defended her when she was criticized by his fellow Protestants. In the early years of her widowhood, she retired to the luxurious beach house that she and her husband had planned in Honolulu, but boredom with life in what she called "this fur-lined rut" brought her back to Washington, D.C. for increasingly long periods. She made her final home there in 1983.
  • 1964
    Luce's continuing anticommunism as well as her advocacy of conservatism led her to support Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona as the Republican candidate for president in 1964.
    More Details Hide Details She also considered but rejected a candidacy for the United States Senate from New York on the Conservative party ticket. That same year, which also saw the political emergence of her future friend Ronald Reagan, marked the voluntary end of Henry Luce's tenure as editor-in-chief of Time. The Luces retired together, establishing a winter home in Arizona and planning a final move to Hawaii. Her husband, Henry, died in 1967 before that dream could be realized, but she went ahead with construction of a luxurious beach house in Honolulu, and, for some years, she led an active life in Hawaii high society.
  • 1959
    After Fidel Castro led a revolution in Cuba in 1959, Luce and her husband began to sponsor anticommunist groups.
    More Details Hide Details This support included funding Cuban exiles in commando speedboat raids against Cuba in the early 1960s.
    She had served only four days, from April 28 to May 1, 1959, and she had never left American soil.
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    In 1959, President Eisenhower nominated a recovered Luce to be the US Ambassador to Brazil.
    More Details Hide Details She began to learn enough of the Portuguese language in preparation for the job, but she was by now so conservative that her appointment met with strong opposition from a small number of Democratic senators. Leading the charge was Oregon Senator Wayne Morse. Still, Luce was confirmed by a 79 to 11 vote. Her husband urged her to decline the appointment, noting that it would be difficult for her to work with Morse, who chaired the Senate Subcommittee on Latin American Affairs. Luce eventually sent Eisenhower a letter explaining that she felt that the controversy surrounding her appointment would hinder her abilities to be respected by both her Brazilian and US coworkers and resigned from her position as ambassador.
  • 1956
    The episode debilitated Luce physically and mentally, and she resigned her post in December 1956.
    More Details Hide Details Upon her departure, Rome's Il Tempo concluded "She has given a notable example of how well a woman can discharge a political post of grave responsibility." Clare Boothe Luce: Renaissance Woman, by Daniel Alef
  • 1955
    As ambassador, Luce consistently overestimated the possibility that the Italian left would mount a governmental coup and turn the country communist unless the democratic center was buttressed with generous American aid. Nurturing an image of her own country as a haven of social peace and prosperity, she threatened to boycott the 1955 Venice Film Festival if the American juvenile delinquent film Blackboard Jungle was shown.
    More Details Hide Details Around the same time, she fell seriously ill with arsenic poisoning. Sensational rumors circulated that the ambassador was the target of extermination by agents of the Soviet Union. Medical analysis eventually determined that the poisoning was caused by arsenate of lead in paint dust falling from the stucco that decorated her bedroom ceiling.
  • 1953
    Although Luce regarded the abatement of the acute phase of the crisis in December 1953 as a triumph for herself, the main work of settlement, finalized in October 1954, was undertaken by professional representatives of the five concerned powers (Britain, France, the United States, Italy, and Yugoslavia) meeting in London.
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    Her principal achievement as ambassador was to play a vital role in negotiating a peaceful solution to the Trieste Crisis of 1953–1954, a border dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia that she saw as potentially escalating into a war between East and West.
    More Details Hide Details Her sympathies throughout were with the Christian Democratic government of Giuseppe Pella, and she was influential on the Mediterranean policy of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, another anticommunist.
    She was confirmed by the Senate in March 1953, the first American woman ever to hold such an important diplomatic post.
    More Details Hide Details Italians reacted skeptically at first to the arrival of a female ambassador in Rome, but Luce soon convinced those of moderate and conservative temper that she favored their civilization and religion. "Her admirers in Italy-and she had millions- fondly referred to her as la Signora, 'the lady'" CBL, Author and Diplomat, by Joseph Lyons, p. 91 The country's large Communist minority, however, regarded her as a foreign meddler in Italian affairs. She was no stranger to Pope Pius XII, who welcomed her as a friend and faithful acolyte. Over the course of several audiences since 1940, Luce had impressed Pius XII as one of the most effective secular preachers of Catholicism in America.
  • 1952
    Luce returned to politics during the 1952 presidential election and she campaigned on behalf of Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower, giving more than 100 speeches on his behalf.
    More Details Hide Details Her anti-Communist speeches on the hustings, radio, and television were effective in persuading a large number of traditionally Democrat-voting Catholics to switch parties and vote Eisenhower. For her contributions Luce was rewarded with an appointment as Ambassador to Italy, a post that oversaw 1150 employees, 8 consulates, and 9 information centers.
  • 1948
    At the Republican National Convention in 1948, Luce delivered a similarly scathing speech, castigating President Harry S. Truman and his administration.
    More Details Hide Details Evening Bulletin, June 22, 1948 E Again, the applause was great, but most press comments afterwards were negative. As a passionate convert to Roman Catholicism and dedicated Cold Warrior, Luce was by now moving toward the extreme right of her party. Ignoring Luce's clear preference for Senator Arthur Vandenberg as a candidate, the convention renominated Dewey to run against Truman.
  • 1946
    In 1946, she was the co-author of the Luce-Celler Act of 1946, which increased the numbers of Indians and Filipinos permitted to immigrate to the US (previously limited to only 100 per year), and allowed them ultimately to become naturalized citizens.
    More Details Hide Details Clare Boothe Luce's emergence as a formidable political orator in Congress made her a candidate to deliver the keynote speech at the 1944 Republican National Convention. She did not, however, win that honor, as many reports erroneously state. (Nor was she the first woman to address a national political convention: Corinne Roosevelt Robinson did so in 1920.) Governor Earl Warren of California was ultimately selected as keynote speaker, and Luce was asked to introduce Herbert Hoover. After seeing a draft of her proposed remarks, Hoover suggested that for him to introduce her. Luce's subsequent address invoked an allegorical figure, "G.I. Jim," as "G.I. Joe's" less celebrated comrade-in-arms, a victim of the Roosevelt Administration's tardy preparation for World War II. She reproved President Roosevelt for practicing one-man diplomacy, and claimed that American democracy was "becoming a dictatorial bumbledom." She was rewarded with a vast ovation. The convention nominated Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York for the presidency.
    Known as a charismatic and forceful public speaker, especially after her conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1946, she campaigned for every Republican presidential candidate from Wendell Willkie to Ronald Reagan.
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  • 1945
    She was present at the liberation of several Nazi concentration camps in April 1945, and after V-E Day, she began warning against the rise of international Communism as another form of totalitarianism, likely to lead to World War III.
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  • 1944
    Nevertheless, Roosevelt took a dislike to her and campaigned in 1944 to attempt to prevent her re-election, publicly calling her "a sharp-tongued glamor girl of forty."
    More Details Hide Details She retaliated by accusing Roosevelt of being "the only American president who ever lied us into a war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it." During her second term, Luce was instrumental in the creation of the Atomic Energy Commission and, during the course of two tours of Allied battlefronts in Europe, she campaigned for more support of what she considered to be America's forgotten army in Italy.
    On January 11, 1944, her daughter and only child, Ann Clare Brokaw, a senior at Stanford University, was killed in an automobile accident.
    More Details Hide Details As a result of the tragedy, Luce explored psychotherapy and religion. After grief counseling with radio priest Fulton Sheen, she joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1946. She became an ardent essayist and lecturer in celebration of her faith, and she was ultimately honored by being named a Dame of Malta. The marriage between Clare and Henry was difficult. Henry was by any standard extremely successful, but his physical awkwardness, lack of humor, and newsman's discomfort with any conversation that was not strictly factual put him in awe of his beautiful wife's social poise, wit, and fertile imagination. Clare's years as managing editor of Vanity Fair left her with an avid interest in journalism (she suggested the idea of Life magazine to her husband before it was developed internally). Henry himself was generous in encouraging her to write for Life, but the question of how much coverage she should be accorded in Time, as she grew more famous, was always a careful balancing act for Henry since he did not want to be accused of nepotism.
  • 1942
    In 1942, Luce won a Republican seat in the United States House of Representatives representing Fairfield County, Connecticut, the 4th Congressional District.
    More Details Hide Details She based her platform on three goals: "One, to win the war. Two, to prosecute that war as loyally and effectively as we can as Republicans. Three, to bring about a better world and a durable peace, with special attention to post-war security and employment here at home." She took up the seat formerly held by her late stepfather, Dr. Albert Austin. An outspoken critic of Roosevelt's foreign policy, Luce was supported by isolationists and conservatives in Congress, and she was appointed early to the prestigious House Military Affairs Committee. Although she was by no means the only female representative on the floor, her beauty, wealth, and penchant for slashing witticisms caused her to be treated patronizingly by colleagues of both sexes. She made a sensational debut in her maiden speech, coining the phrase "globaloney" to disparage Vice President Henry Wallace's recommendation for airlines of the world to be given free access to US airports. She called for repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, comparing its "doctrine of race theology" to Adolf Hitler's, advocated aid for war victims abroad, and sided with the administration on issues such as infant-care and maternity appropriations for the wives of enlisted men.
  • 1941
    Her profile of General Douglas Macarthur was on the cover of Life on December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
    More Details Hide Details After the United States entered the war, Luce toured military installations in Africa, India, China, and Burma, compiling a further series of reports for Life. She published interviews with General Harold Alexander, commander of British troops in the Middle East, Chiang Kai-Shek, Jawaharlal Nehru, and General Stilwell, commander of American troops in the China-Burma-India theater. Her lifelong instinct for being in the right place at the right time and easy access to key commanders made her an influential figure on both sides of the Atlantic. She endured bombing raids and other dangers in Europe and the Far East. She did not hesitate to criticize the unwarlike lifestyle of General Sir Claude Auchinleck's Middle East Command in language that recalled the barbs of her best playwriting. One draft article for Life, noting that the general lived far from the Egyptian front in a houseboat, and mocking RAF pilots as "flying fairies", was discovered by British Customs when she passed through Trinidad in April 1942. It caused such Allied consternation that she briefly faced house arrest. Coincidentally or not, Auchinleck was fired a few months later by Winston Churchill. Her varied experiences in all the major war theaters qualified her for a seat the following year on the House Military Affairs Committee.
    In 1941, Luce and her husband toured China and reported on the status of the country and its war with Japan.
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  • 1939
    The latter work "presented an all-out attack on the Nazi's racist philosophy" Its opening night in Princeton, New Jersey, on October 14, 1939, was attended by Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann.
    More Details Hide Details Otto Preminger directed and starred in both the Broadway production and screen adaptation. Much of Luce's famously acid wit ("No good deed goes unpunished," "Widowhood is a fringe benefit of marriage", "A hospital is no place to be sick") can be traced back to the days when, as a wealthy young divorcee in the early 1930s, she became a caption writer at Vogue and then, associate editor and managing editor of Vanity Fair. She not only edited the works of such great humorists as P. G. Wodehouse and Corey Ford but contributed many comic pieces of her own, signed and unsigned. Her humor, which she retained into old age, was one of the pillars of Clare's character. Another branch of Luce's literary career was that of war journalism. Europe in the Spring was the result of a four-month tour of Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and France in 1939–1940 as a correspondent for Life magazine. She described the widening battleground of World War II as "a world where men have decided to die together because they are unable to find a way to live together."
  • 1935
    On November 23, 1935, she married Henry Robinson Luce, the publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune.
    More Details Hide Details She thereafter called herself Clare Boothe Luce, a frequently-misspelled name that was often confused with that of her exact contemporary Claire Luce, a stage and film actress. As a professional writer, Luce continued to use her maiden name.
  • 1931
    A writer with considerable powers of invention and wit, Luce published Stuffed Shirts, a promising volume of short stories, in 1931.
    More Details Hide Details Scribner's magazine compared the work to Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies for its bitter humor. The New York Times found it socially superficial, but praised its "lovely festoons of epigrams" and beguiling stylishness: "What malice there may be in these pages has a felinity that is the purest Angoran." The book's device of characters interlinked from story to story was borrowed from Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio (1919), but it impressed Andre Maurois, who asked Luce's permission to imitate it. Luce also published many magazine articles. Her real talent, however, was as a playwright. After the failure of her initial stage effort, the marital melodrama Abide With Me (1935), she rapidly followed up with a satirical comedy, The Women. Deploying a cast of no fewer than 40 actresses who discussed men in often scorching language, it became a Broadway smash in 1936 and, three years later, a successful Hollywood movie. Toward the end of her life, Luce claimed that for half a century, she had steadily received royalties from productions of The Women all around the world. Later in the 1930s, she wrote two more successful, but less durable plays, also both made into movies: Kiss the Boys Goodbye and Margin for Error.
  • 1923
    Highly intelligent, ambitious, and blessed with a deceptively fragile blonde beauty, the young Clare soon abandoned ideological feminism to pursue other interests. She wed George Tuttle Brokaw, millionaire heir to a New York clothing fortune, on August 10, 1923, at the age of 20. They had one daughter, Ann Clare Brokaw (August 22, 1924 – January 11, 1944). According to Boothe, Brokaw was a hopeless alcoholic, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1929.
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  • 1919
    After a tour of Europe with her mother and stepfather, Dr. Albert E. Austin, whom Ann Boothe married in 1919, she became interested in the women's suffrage movement, and she was hired by Alva Belmont to work for the National Woman's Party in Washington, D.C. and Seneca Falls, New York.
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    She attended the cathedral schools in Garden City and Tarrytown, New York, graduating first in her class in 1919 at 16.
    More Details Hide Details Clare Boothe Luce, Author and Diplomat, by Joseph Lyons, Chelsey House Publisher, 1989, p 26. Her ambitious mother's initial plan for her was to become an actress. Clare understudied Mary Pickford on Broadway at age 10, and had a small part in Thomas Edison's 1915 movie, The Heart of a Waif.
  • 1912
    Her parents were not married and would separate in 1912.
    More Details Hide Details Her father, a sophisticated man and a brilliant violinist, instilled in his daughter a love of literature, if not of music, but had trouble holding a job and spent years as a travelling salesman. Parts of young Clare's childhood were spent in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, Chicago, Illinois, and Union City, New Jersey as well as New York City. Clare Boothe had an elder brother, David Franklin Boothe.
  • 1903
    Luce was born Ann Clare Boothe in New York City on March 10, 1903, the second child of Anna Clara Schneider (also known as Ann Snyder Murphy, Ann Boothe, and Ann Clare Austin) and William Franklin Boothe (also known as "John J. Murphy" and "Jord Murfe").
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