Luce married playwright and future Republican politician Clare Boothe in 1935. The next year he brought out Life, the first successful photojournalism magazine. Keenly attuned to popular trends, in 1954 he launched Sports Illustrated, appealing to Americans' love of entertainment sports.
Luce believed that Americans knew too little about the outside world, so he emphasized international news coverage in many of his magazines. His pro-American, procapitalist reading of global events strongly influenced the American public's perceptions of the larger world. In the 1920s and early 1930s he was attracted to fascism, and his magazines published admiring portrayals of Italy's Benito Mussolini and Spain's Francisco Franco. Later, however, Luce opposed the Axis powers. In an influential editorial titled "The American Century" in the February 1941 issue of Life, he called for U.S. entry into World War II and the need to accept global responsibilities.
Luce's strong anticommunism, devotion to the Republican Party, and youthful experiences in China shaped his support for Jiang Jieshi and the Guomindang (GMD, Nationalist) cause. Jiang appeared on more Time magazine covers than any other world leader. Like the so-called China Lobby, Luce refused to recognize the 1949 success of the Chinese Revolution, and his enormous influence helped preclude any alternative U.S. policy toward China for a generation. In the 1950s and early 1960s, he promoted the Republic of Vietnam's (ROV, South Vietnam) president Ngo Dinh Diem as America's new democratic champion in Asia. Luce and his publications backed both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Luce died on 28 February 1967 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Michael E. Donoghue
Herzstein, Robert Edwin. Henry R. Luce: A Political Portrait of the Man Who Created the American Century. New York: Scribner, 1994.