"Thank you, Mr. President": Remembering Helen Thomas
/ CBS NEWS
Senior White House Correspondent Helen Thomas reads the newspaper while sitting in her chair in the White House press room August 2, 2006 in Washington, D.C.
The irrepressible White House correspondent who used her seat in the front row of history to grill 10 presidents - often to their discomfort - and who was not shy about sharing her opinions, died Saturday, July 20, 2013. She was 92.
Helen Thomas was at the forefront of women's achievements in journalism. She was one of the first female reporters to break out of the White House "women's beat" - the soft stories about presidents' kids, wives, their teas and their hairdos - and cover hard news on an equal footing with men. She was also the first female officer at the National Press Club, where women had once been barred as members.
Left: Thomas is pictured in the White House Oval Office as President Kennedy addresses the AMVETS convention in New York City via telephone, August 23, 1962.
Left: President John F. Kennedy walks through piles of snow towards the presidential helicopter; seen in the background at right is journalist Helen Thomas.
Born in Winchester, Ky., to Lebanese immigrants, Thomas was the seventh of nine children. After working on her high school newspaper, she graduated from Detroit's Wayne University (now Wayne State University), and headed straight for the nation's capital, where she landed a position at the Washington Daily News as a copy girl - fetching coffee and doughnuts for editors. She was later hired by United Press International. Her big break came after the 1960 election, when she was assigned to cover the president-elect and his family.
Helen Thomas (left) is pictured in the White House Oval office opposite President Lyndon B., Johnson, June 21, 1966.
Johnson once complained that he learned of his daughter Luci's engagement from a new story by Thomas.
President Richard Nixon poses for pictures at the Western White House prior to holding his first political press conference since taking office in 1968, in San Clemente, Calif., Aug. 29, 1972. In the background is UPI correspondent Helen Thomas.
President Richard Nixon shares a laugh with Douglas Cornell, White House reporter for the Associated Press, and Helen Thomas, UPI's White House reporter, at an impromptu reception on Sept. 30, 1971 in Washington.
Douglas B. Cornell and his bride, the former Helen Thomas, stand in Lafayette Park near the White House in this October 1971 file photo, after their marriage at St. Johns Church in Washington.
Cornell (recently retired as White House correspondent for The Associated Press) and Thomas (his former rival at United Press International) were married in what President Richard Nixon called a "marriage made not in heaven but in the White House."
President Gerald Ford talks with reporters, including Helen Thomas, as White House Chief of Staff Richard Cheney looks on, during a press conference at the White House, Washington, D.C., September 30, 1976.
President Jimmy Carter talks with reporters Helen Thomas and Sam Donaldson aboard Air Force One, Oct. 20, 1979, prior to landing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
President Ronald Reagan greets UPI reporter Helen Thomas (center), and AP reporter Jim Gerstenzang before an interview in the Treaty Room of the White House in Washington, April 13, 1981.
Female members of the White House press corps pose wearing red dresses in the East Room of the White House, March 22, 1985. From left are: Helen Thomas of UPI; Leslie Stahl of CBS News; Jane Mayer of the Wall Street Journal; Tuna Koprulu of Hurriyet, Istanbul; and Connie Lawn, a free lance radio correspondent.
The fashion choice came a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that President Reagan often calls on reporters who wear his wife's favorite color.
Reporter Helen Thomas questions President Ronald Reagan during a press conference at the White House, March 19, 1987 in Washington, D.C. It was the first press conference that Mr. Reagan held since before the disclosure that profits from arm sales to Iran were diverted to the Contras in Central America.
The day after his inauguration as President of the United States, George H. W. Bush talks with the press in Washington, Jan. 21, 1989. White House reporter Helen Thomas is seen standing to the right of the President.
President Bill Clinton "interviews" UPI White House correspondent Helen Thomas in the White House briefing room in Washington, August 4, 1995.
President Bill Clinton hugs former UPI White House Correspondent Helen Thomas during the receiving line for the State Dinner in honor of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, and Her Royal Highness Lalla Meryem, at the White House, June 20, 2000 in Washington, D.C.
President-elect George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton speak with reporter Helen Thomas at the White House in Washington, D.C., December 19, 2000.
President George W. Bush greets veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas during the final briefing in the press briefing room in the West Wing of the White House in Washington before its renovation, Aug. 2, 2006.
President Barack Obama brings cupcakes to celebrate the birthday of veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, in the White House briefing room August 4, 2009 in Washington, D.C. August 4 is also the birthday of President Obama.
Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, from Hearst Newspapers, takes her seat located in the front row before the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the renovated James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, Wednesday, July 11, 2007, at the White House in Washington.