“I hope I shall have ambition until the day I die,” Clare Boothe Luce told her biographer Sylvia Jukes Morris. Price of Fame, the concluding volume of the life of an exceptionally brilliant polymath, chronicles Luce’s progress from her arrival on Capitol Hill through her career as a diplomat, prolific journalist, and magnetic public speaker, as well as a playwright, screenwriter, pioneer scuba diver, early experimenter in psychedelic drugs, and grande dame of the GOP in the Reagan era.
Tempestuously married to Henry Luce, the powerful publisher of Time Inc., she endured his infidelities while pursuing her own, and remained a practiced vamp well into her crowded later years, during which she strengthened her friendships with Winston Churchill, Somerset Maugham, John F. Kennedy, Evelyn Waugh, Lyndon Johnson, Salvador Dal, Richard Nixon, William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan, and countless other celebrities. Sylvia Jukes Morris is the only writer to have had complete access to Mrs. Luce’s prodigious collection of public and private papers. In addition, she had unique access to her subject, whose death at 84 ended a life that for variety of accomplishment qualifies Clare Boothe Luce for the title of “Woman of the Century”.