Clare Boothe Luce

Lived:March 10, 1903—October 9, 1987 (aged 84)
Career:U.S. Ambassador to Italy, 1953- 1956
U.S. House of Representatives, 1943-1947
Journalist, author and playwright

Clare Boothe Luce served as U.S. ambassador to Italy from 1953 to 1956, the first American woman appointed to a major ambassadorial post abroad. She also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1943 to 1947.

Luce was born March 10, 1903, in New York City. Her original ambition was to become an actress and she briefly attended a school of the theater in New York City. She was also active in the suffrage movement as a young woman. She married George Tuttle Brokaw, a New York clothing manufacturer, in 1923, and they had a daughter, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1929. In 1930, Luce became associate editor for Vanity Fair, resigning in 1934 to pursue a career as a playwright. In 1935, she married Henry "Harry" Robinson Luce, the founder of Time, Life and Fortune magazines. She continued her writing career, publishing a number of magazine articles and authoring several plays, including "The Women" (1936), her most successful play. From 1939 to 1940, Luce worked as a war correspondent for Life magazine.

In 1942, Luce was elected to the United States House of Representatives for Connecticut's 4th Congressional District, filling the seat formerly held by her stepfather. After the death of her daughter in 1944, Luce's interest in politics decreased and she declined to run for re-election in 1946. She joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1946 and began moving to the far right in the Republican Party.

In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed her U.S. ambassador to Italy. She served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. In 1983 Luce was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan.

Luce died of brain cancer on October 9, 1987, at age 84.


Henry Luce Foundation (n.d.). About Clare Boothe Luce. Retrieved on Feb. 28, 2020, from

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2020, Feb. 18). Clare Luce Booth: American playwright and statesman. In Britannica. Retrieved on Feb. 28, 2020 from

United States House of Representatives. Luce, Clare Booth. Retrieved on Feb. 28, 2020, from