* Dowd was born the youngest of five children of an Irish-Catholic homemaker mother and a D.C. policeman father who was in charge of security at the U.S. Senate. She attended Roman Catholic Immaculata High School in Washington, and in 1973 earned a BA degree in English from Catholic University.
* Dowd’s eldest brother intervened to get her a job taking dictation from reporters at the now-defunct Washington Star newspaper. Before long, she was also writing her own stories for that publication.
* In 1981 Dowd moved to New York City to take a job with Time Magazine, but she soon found it unsatisfying to be part of team gathering facts and anecdotes that others fabricated into articles.
* Two years later Dowd was hired as a metro reporter by New York Times metro editor Anna Quindlen, who later became a columnist for Newsweek magazine. While writing for the Times, Dowd moonlighted by writing a monthly career-advice column for the women’s magazine Mademoiselle under the pen name “Rebecca Sharp.”
* In 1986 Dowd moved back to Washington, D.C., to join the Times bureau there. Bureau chief Howell Raines assigned her to cover the White House during the George H.W. Bush Administration.
* Dowd became a columnist on The New York Times Op-Ed page in 1995.
* Dowd won a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for Distinguished Commentary for a series of columns that considered the psychology of those involved in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, in particular Ms. Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton. In 2000, she received the Damon Runyon award for outstanding contributions to journalism.
* In 2005, Dowd was awarded the Mary Alice Davis Lectureship award from the College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin.