Clare Boothe Luce was born on March 10, 1903, in New York City. She was the wife of Henry Luce, publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune. She was twice elected to the House of Representatives from 1943 to 1947 and served as an ambassador to Italy from 1953 to 1956. President Reagan awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983. She was the first female member of Congress to receive this award. Luce began her career in writing with Vogue magazine and later worked her way up to managing editor of Vanity Fair. Luce's 1936 play, The Women, was an instant smash on Broadway. She also authored Europe in the Spring, a non-fiction book. Clare Boothe 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.