Biographical Information:

Dates: 1903-1987Dates in Ridgefield: 1946-1966
nonfiction, plays, screenplaysplaywright, ambassador, congresswoman, screenwriter
Writer, Congresswoman, and Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce “had those sought-after qualities – good looks, style, a sharp tongue, and great boldness – that made her one of the most popular and admired women of her day,” The Ridgefield Press said in Mrs. Luce’s obituary in 1987. She was born into near poverty in 1903 and her musician father soon abandoned her chorus girl mother, who worked hard to see that her daughter was well-educated. Mrs. Luce would make good use of that education. By 1930, she was a $20-a-week writer for Vogue; three years later she was managing editor of Vanity Fair. In 1935, she married Henry R. Luce, publisher of Time Magazine. She wrote plays, movies and books, including a 1940 best seller, Europe in Spring. Several of her plays were on Broadway, including the smash hit, The Women. She was nominated for an Academy Award for the 1949 film, Come to the Stable, for which she wrote the screenplay. As a Greenwich resident she served as Fourth District Republican Congresswoman from 1943 until 1946, when the Luce’s bought a 100-acre estate in Ridgefield. That year, her 19-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, tragically, was killed in an automobile accident. She and her husband had their country home here from 1946 to 1966. At a PTA meeting here in 1950, she urged more federal support of schools, particularly “Negro” schools in the South. An active Catholic, she also favored public support of non-public schools. During the Eisenhower administration, Mrs. Luce was appointed U.S. ambassador to Italy. In 1962, she was a rumored U.S. Senate candidate from Connecticut, but the Luces both changed their voting address to New York; she ran for the Senate there on the Conservative ticket in 1964, but withdrew from the race under pressure from the Republican party’s liberal wing. In 1966 the Luces sold their 22-room mansion. Henry Luce died a year later. In 1983, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagen. Mrs. Luce lived in Honolulu and Washington before her death in 1987 at the age of 84.
Titles:Stuffed Shirts, 1933Europe in Spring (1940), 1940Cuba: Let’s Have the Truth, 1962Is the New Morality Destroying America, 1978
--Sources: Notable Ridgefielders–Jack Sanders; New York Times obit, October 10, 1967; Wikipedia; www.imbd.com