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Henry Luce III, 80; was publisher of Time

LOS ANGELES -- Henry Luce III, the son of a founder of Time magazine who joined the newsweekly as a Washington correspondent in 1951, rose to publisher in 1969, and held other prominent positions in Time Inc.'s empire, has died. He was 80.

Mr. Luce died Wednesday of undetermined causes at his summer home on Fishers Island, N.Y., said Terry Lautz, vice president of the Henry Luce Foundation, which Mr. Luce ran from 1958 to 2002.

During his 45-year media career, Mr. Luce was also Time magazine's London bureau chief in the mid-1960s and publisher of Fortune magazine. He was a longtime board member of Time Inc. and later Time Warner.

Time magazine was the brainchild of his father, Henry R. Luce, and a Yale classmate, Briton Hadden. The pair decided that the American public was poorly informed about events and raised $86,000 to launch the magazine in 1923.

The younger Mr. Luce, who was known as Hank, was born April 28, 1925, in New York. Six weeks after his parents divorced in 1935, his father married Clare Booth Brokaw, a widow and playwright who became a legislator, ambassador, and war correspondent for Life, one of her husband's magazines.

After serving in World War II as a naval officer on a destroyer in the Pacific Ocean, Henry Luce III graduated from Yale University in 1945.

His first postwar job was as an assistant to Joseph P. Kennedy, a member of the first Hoover Commission.

Mr. Luce became a newspaper reporter at the Cleveland Press in 1949 before joining the family business two years later.

At Time magazine, he wrote cover stories on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon and spent two years as a foreign news and national affairs writer.

He oversaw the construction of the new Time & Life building at New York's Rockefeller Center then held different jobs on the business side at Time Inc.

He founded a division of the company, Time-Life Music.

By then, Mr. Luce was 75 and had outlived his father by seven years.

He attributed his longevity to keeping busy, which included his travels for the Henry Luce Foundation. With assets of more than $1 billion, the foundation supports programs in higher education, Asian affairs, theology, women in science, engineering, and the environment.

The foundation's interest in Asia and theology can be traced to Mr. Luce's grandparents, who were Presbyterian missionaries to China. His father was born in China and lived there until he was 14.

A $7.5-million gift from Mr. Luce to the New-York Historical Society in 2000 transformed a long unused gallery into the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture.

The showcase of 40,000 artifacts includes a large collection of Tiffany lamps and a 19th-century cockroach trap.

By 2001, Mr. Luce claimed that collecting paintings of prominent 20th-century and contemporary artists was ''no longer affordable," he told United Press International, so he started collecting cast-iron wheeled toys.

Earlier this year, Mr. Luce and his wife, Leila Eliott Burton Hadley, celebrated their 80th birthdays with 250 guests at New York's famed 21 Club.

At the event, Mr. Luce recited a poem that made clear his affection and respect for his wife of 15 years.

Mr. Luce's first marriage, to Patricia Potter, the mother of his two children, ended in 1954. His second wife died in 1971 and his third wife died in 1987.

In addition to his fourth wife, Mr. Luce leaves a daughter, Lila Frances of Kenya; a son, Henry Christopher of New York; and his only sibling, Peter Paul of Boulder, Colo.

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