After graduating from the University of Missouri, Marie Hansen went to the Louisville Courier-Journal where she was a photographer and photo editor. In 1942, she was offered a job to join the team of LIFE staff photographers as their third female staff photographer (Margaret Bourke-White and Hansel Mieth were the other two at the time). Hansen’s first big story for LIFE was her photo-essay on the WAAC’s, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, which was first organized in the United States, May 12, 1942. In 1945, Hansen went to Hollywood for LIFE, where Joseph Pasternak (Hungarian-born film producer working at MGM) asked her to audition. After a screen test, she was offered a movie contract, but turned it down because she realized she was more interested in what was going on behind the camera than in front of it. After Hollywood, Hansen was stationed in Washington, D.C. where she was assigned to the White House during most of World War II. General Dwight D. Eisenhower chose one of Hansen’s portraits of him as his “official” photograph. In 1946, Hansen left LIFE as a staff photographer, and she and her husband David Wesley toured the world as a writer/photographer team.