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Eve Curie Labouisse 1904-2007

Country : Paris, France
Profession : Novelist
Date of birth : 1904-12-06
Date of death : 2007-10-22
Cause of Death : Natural causes

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Ève Denise Curie Labouisse (December 6, 1904 – October 22, 2007) was a French-American author and writer. She was the second daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie and wrote an acclaimed biography of her mother, Madame Curie, in 1937. Her life was intimately connected with the Nobel Prize: both of her parents and her sister, Irène Curie, were awarded Nobel Prizes for sciences and her husband, Henry Richardson Labouisse, Jr., accepted a Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of UNICEF.


Ève Curie was born on December 6, 1904, in Paris, France. She was her parents' second daughter, born the year after they won the Nobel Prize in Physics shared with Henri Becquerel. She grew up in her parents' house in Sceaux, with her elder sister, Irène. Her father was killed in 1906, when he was struck by a horse-drawn carriage and fatally fractured his skull. Her mother was awarded her second Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911. With her mother and sister, she travelled across the Atlantic Ocean in 1921 on the SS Olympic; on their tour of the United States she was dubbed "the girl with radium eyes".

After her sister married scientist Frédéric Joliot, Ève lived in an apartment in Paris with her mother. She studied for degrees in science and in philosophy at the Collège Sévigné, graduating in 1925. She became a concert pianist, performing at her first concert in Paris in 1925, and playing in France and Belgium until the outbreak of the Second World War. She also accompanied her mother on trips around Europe.

Her mother died of aplastic anemia on July 4, 1934, and missed seeing her daughter Irène share in the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935. Ève published a biography of her mother in 1937; the English translation by Vincent Sheean won the American National Book Award for non-fiction, and in the same year it was adapted as an MGM film, starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. She also wrote about music, theatre and film.

After the defeat of France in 1940, Ève Curie fled to England. Her boat, built for less than 400 people but carrying over 1,600, was strafed by German aircraft while crossing the English Channel. She worked for the Allies and Free French during the rest of the war. She was appointed head of the women's division of the Commissariat of Information, and then became a journalist with the International Herald Tribune, travelling tens of thousands of miles across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. In 1943, Curie published Journey Among Warriors, a chronicle of her travels to the fronts of World War II. She became an officer of the women's division of the Free French army.

She returned to Paris after the war, and was co-publisher of a daily afternoon paper, Paris-Press, from 1945 to 1949. She was appointed Special Adviser to the Secretary General of NATO in 1952 and served on NATO's International Staff until she met and married Henry Richardson Labouisse, Jr., the U.S. Ambassador to Greece, in 1954. Her sister Irène died in 1956 and her brother-in-law, Frédéric Joliot, died shortly afterwards in 1958.

Labouisse served for 15 years as Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on its behalf in 1965, while Ève was director of UNICEF in Greece from 1962 to 1965.

She became a U.S. citizen in 1958, and lived in New York after she was widowed in 1987. She died on October 22, 2007, aged 102. She was survived by a stepdaughter.

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