Franks, Lucinda Laura

Franks, Lucinda Laura, 1946-2021, American journalist, b. Chicago, Il., Vassar College (B.A., 1968). Franks was born in Chicago but raised in Wellesley, Ma. In college, she was one of the founders of a local chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society. Franks’ first job in journalism was with the U.P.I.’s London office in 1968, making coffee for the male reporters. On her own time, she began writing features for the news service, which gained her a job as its first female reporter, but she was limited to covering “female” topics like beauty pageants. Traveling on her own to Northern Ireland in search of more interesting stories, she covered the beginnings of the “troubles” between the area’s Catholic and Protestant population, despite U.P.I.’s rules again women serving in war zones. She was transferred to New York City in 1970, where she covered the Weather Undergound, producing a five-part series along with journalist Thomas Powers that was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting; she was the first female and the youngest journalist to date so honored. She left U.P.I. to join the New York Times (1974-77), and then became a staff writer for The New Yorker (1992-2006). She covered a wide variety of topics, from exposing the dangers of red dye No. 2 to the root causes of alcoholism to O.J. Simpson and Hillary Clinton. In 1977, she married famed Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

See her Waiting Out A War: The Exile of Private John Picciano (1971); novel, Wild Apples (1991); memoirs, My Father’s Secret War (2007), Timeless: Love, Morgenthau, and Me (2014).

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