By DYLAN BYERS |
7/20/13 9:45 AM EDT
Helen Thomas, whose career covering the White House dated back to the Kennedy administration, died on Saturday at the age of 92, the Gridiron Club announced in an email to members on Saturday.
Thomas was the first woman to join the White House Correspondents' Association, and the first woman to serve as its president. She was also the first female member of the Gridiron Club, Washington's historic press group. She served for 57 years at United Press International, first as a correspondent then as a White House bureau chief, before becoming a columnist for Hearst Papers.
"Former Gridiron Club president Helen Thomas, our first female member, died Saturday morning at her Washington apartment after a long illness," Gridiron's Carl P. Leubsdorf wrote in an email to members. "She would have been 93 next month."
Present at the press briefings of ten consecutive presidential administrations, Thomas earned herself a front-row seat at White House press briefings. Beyond Washington, her status as a trailblazing female reporter made her name a cultural reference point, even invoked in an episode of "the Simpsons."