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Sylvia Jukes Morris’s biography published in 1997 of Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987) is a fascinating account of the life of a beautiful, very talented writer as well as an ambitious woman. Clare was born in poverty and raised by a single mother, her mother pushed her to excel at all she did and that education was key to success.
Clare Boothe Brokaw in 1929 started writing captions at Vogue to rise swiftly to the managing editor of Conde Nast’s literary jewel, Vanity Fair. In 1934 or 35 she published her first book entitled “Stuffed Shirts.” In the summer of 1932 she had a brief affair with Bernard Barack. In 1935 CBL married Henry Luce founder and editor in chief of Time, Fortune and Life. They were happily married until his death in 1967.
In 1935 CBL wrote a play “Abide with Me” which was a flop. In 1936 her play “The Women” opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway as a great hit. She also wrote “Come to the Stable” which was also made into a movie. She also wrote the play “Margin for Error”. In 1940 she wrote a critically acclaimed book on the fall of France and became a war correspondent for Life magazine. On January 11, 1944 her only child Ann Clare Brokaw was killed in an automobile accident while she was a senior at Stanford University.
In 1942 Luce won a Republican seat in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Connecticut. During her second term in the House she was instrumental in the creation of the Atomic energy Commission. In 1946 she was the co-author of the Luce-Celler Act of 1946 which increased the number of Indians and Filipinos permitted to immigrate to the U.S. and allowed them to become naturalized citizens. She became a formidable political orator in congress.
In 1953 she was appointed Ambassador to Italy, the first American woman to hold a major diplomatic post. In 1959 she was nominated U.S. Ambassador to Brazil by President Eisenhower but she declined the job. She died in October 1987 as Grande dame of the Republican Party. Elizabeth Rodgers narrated the story.
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