Helen Thomas was born in Winchester, Kentucky on August 4, 1920. She was raised in Detroit, where she attended public schools and later graduated from Wayne State University. The year after college, Thomas served as a copy girl on the now defunct Washington Daily News, and joined United Press International in 1943. She later has several beats before she began covering President-elect John F. Kennedy in 1960. She went to the White House in January 1961 as a member of the U.P.I. team and was there until May 2000. During the years she covered Kennedy, she was the first woman to close a presidential news conference with the traditional "Thank you, Mr. President." In November 1976, the World Almanac named her as one of the twenty-five most influential women in the U.S. She has traveled around the world several times with Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, and has covered every economic summit. In February 1972, she was the only newspaperwoman to travel with President Nixon to China during his breakthrough trip. Since then, she has been to China on many subsequent presidential visits. The late Douglas Cornell and Thomas were married on October 16, 1971. Her current book, Thanks for the Memories, Mr. President, is in bookstores now.
Ms. Thomas recently received an award from the American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) for Distinguished Service in Journalism.
BY HELEN THOMAS