Statement on the Death of Clare Boothe Luce

 

October 9, 1987

 

Nancy and I were saddened to learn of the death this morning of our friend, Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce. Born into a relatively humble home and given only a limited formal education, Mrs. Luce built a life and career that made her a legend: editor of Vanity Fair; playwright of Broadway hits, including the classic ``The Women''; author of countless books and articles; war correspondent for Life magazine; Congresswoman; Ambassador; wife of Henry Luce, founder of Time magazine and one of the Nation's preeminent journalists; and, of course, a woman who was constantly expanding the boundaries of what a woman could do. As Wilfrid Sheed wrote about Mrs. Luce's career: ``It was brand-new territory, outside the tiny compound where women lived in those days. Clare was a pioneer not just during office hours but every breathing minute. . . .''

 

Nancy and I knew Mrs. Luce as a woman of generosity, charm, forcefulness, and -- a point not always noted -- gentleness. Her Roman Catholic faith was central to her life and thought. And always, there was her concern for the Nation. Near the end of her life, Mrs. Luce moved from her retirement home in Hawaii to Washington in order to be at the center of things, as she had been for so many decades. It is fitting that she died here in the Capital of the Republic she so loved. We will miss her, so will America.