Marianne Means
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Marianne Means
Marianne Means
Means in 1983
Means in 1983
BornMarianne Hansen
(1934-06-13)June 13, 1934
DiedDecember 2, 2017(2017-12-02) (aged 83)
Washington, D.C., U.S.[1]
Occupationjournalist, columnist
ResidenceWoodville, Virginia
Alma materUniversity of Nebraska
George Washington University
SpouseC. Paul Means
Emmet Riordan
Edward H. DeHart
Warren Weaver Jr
James J. Kilpatrick

Marianne Means (born Marianne Hansen, June 13, 1934 - December 2, 2017)[2] was a Washington-based syndicated political columnist and was a White House correspondent for many years.

Early life and education

Means was born on June 13, 1934, in Sioux City, Iowa.[3][4] She was the daughter of Ernest Maynard Hansen and Else Marie Johanne (Andersen) Hansen.[3] Means attended public schools in Sioux City where she grew up.[5]

Means graduated from the Nebraska University receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1956.[3][4] She received a Juris Doctor law degree from George Washington University in Washington D.C. in 1977.[4][6]


Means started her career working for the Dakoto County Star in 1954 as a reporter and used the pen name "Marianne Hansen Means" and "Marianne Means".[4] She next worked for the Lincoln Journal as a copy editor in Lincoln, Nebraska 1955-57.[3][4][7] She worked there also as their wire editor and did these jobs for two years through 1956. She then moved to the Washington, D.C. area and took a new position as the Woman's editor on the Northern Virginia Sun in Arlington, Virginia in 1957.[3][4][6] She worked there as supervisor of a staff of 15 men for two years.[8][9]

Means then took a position at the Hearst Newspapers in 1959.[4] She became their group's Washington bureau correspondent covering Capitol Hill and politics.[3] In 1960 she was assigned to Presidential conventions and the campaign of John F. Kennedy. Her journalism career took off when she escorted and wrote about Kennedy and his speechwriter Theodore C. Sorensen visiting Nebraska University. After Kennedy was elected President he suggested that Means be assigned full-time for the White House coverage.[10] It was known by Secret Service agents and members of the press that she was one of President Kennedy's many lovers. She worked as White House correspondent from 1961 to 1965.[4] She was the first woman reporter to be assigned full-time coverage of the White House.[6][11][12][13]

Means reported on Kennedy's trips to Latin America and Europe; the summit conference with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev; Cuban Crisis; and national crisis events. She was a political columnist reporter for Hearst Newspapers and King Features Syndicate from 1965 to 1994. In 1994 she became a political columnist reporter for New York Times. Means has reported on all the presidential campaigns from Kennedy to Clinton.[13] She has been a commentator for Columbia Broadcasting System radio, Mutual Broadcasting System, Voice of America, Post Newsweek Stations, and National Public Radio.[5][14][15]

Means covered President Kennedy's assassination and the transition to a Johnson Administration. She reported in 1974 that President Lyndon B. Johnson told her in confidence that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone, but was motivated by the ideals of Fidel Castro.[6]

She appeared on What's My Line, the Today show, Meet the Press and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.[15]


In 1962 Means won the New York Newspaper Women's Club Front Page Award for the best feature writing.[3][6]


Means wrote The Woman in the White House, a book on the lives of 12 notable first ladies published by Random House Publishing in 1963. Some of these president's wives were Bess Truman (wife of Harry S. Truman), Mamie Eisenhower (wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower), and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (wife of John F. Kennedy).[15]

Sororities and societies

Means was associated with the National Press Foundation, International Women's Media Foundation, White House Correspondents' Association, National Press Club, Cosmos Club, Gridiron Club (president), Delta Delta Delta, Sigma Delta Chi, and Phi Beta Kappa.[16] She was given a lifetime recognition award at the Sigma Delta Chi sorority.[13]


Means has been married five times. Her first marriage was in 1956 to C. Paul Means; they divorced in 1961. In 1965 she wed Emmet Riordan (1920-2006), an official in the Executive Office of the President; they were divorced in 1969.[15][17] She was briefly married to government affairs consultant Edward H. DeHart in the early 1970s. In 1976, she married Warren Weaver Jr (died February 1997).[18] In June 1998, she married James J. Kilpatrick (1920-2010),[19] and was widowed after his death in 2010.[20]

Published works

  • The Woman in the White House: The lives, times and influence of twelve notable First Ladies. Random House, Signet. 1964. ISBN 978-0-451-02512-8.[3]


  1. ^ "Marianne Means, political columnist and trailblazing White House correspondent, dies at 83".
  2. ^ Washington Post Marianne Means, political columnist and trailblazing White House correspondent dies at 83
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Marquis 1971, p. 420.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Riley 1995, p. 210.
  5. ^ a b Commire 2007, p. 1299.
  6. ^ a b c d e Read 1992, p. 286.
  7. ^ UN (1955), 1955 Yearbook, Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska, p. 50, retrieved 2016
  8. ^ "Marianne Means to Visit Campus". The Daily Nebraskan (Vol. 77; No. 78). Lincoln, Nebraska. March 20, 1964. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ "Gamble Latest Speaker". The Daily Nebraskan. 77 (83). Lincoln, Nebraska. April 8, 1964. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "Political Column by Newspaperwoman Appearing In News". June 24, 1966. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ 900 FAMOUS NEBRASKANS - Nationally Distinguished Nebraskans: A Brief Bio-Bibliography of 900 Individuals (PDF), University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska: Love Library /E. A. Kral, Nebraska Press Association, retrieved 2016, Marianne Hansen Means (1934- ) lived in Lincoln. Journalist, author, political columnist, known as first woman reporter to be assigned full-time coverage of the White House from 1961 to 1965.
  12. ^ O'Neill 1979, p. 455.
  13. ^ a b c "Marianne Means". Torstar Communication Services. Archived from the original on 2007-11-12. The first female reporter to be assigned full time to cover presidential activities, she was the White House correspondent during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. She was the only woman in the White House press corps to be in Dallas with President Kennedy when he was shot.
  14. ^ Taft 2015, p. 404.
  15. ^ a b c d "Meet Marianne Means, Our Gal In Washington". The Morning Record. January 3, 1966. Retrieved 2016.
  16. ^ Vol. 77; No. 69 (March 5, 1964). "NU Alum Matrix speaker". The Daily Nebraskan. Lincoln, Nebraska.
  17. ^ Editor 1965, p. 43.
  18. ^ Molotsky, Irvin (February 20, 1997). "Warren Weaver of The Times, Long a Political Reporter, 74". New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 2016.
  19. ^ "Milestones, Mar. 7, 1977". Time Magazine. Time, Inc. March 7, 1977. Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ Nicklin, Walter (August 19, 2010). "James J. Kilpatrick dies at 89". Rapp News. Washington, Virginia.


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