Colvin, 56, joined UPI as a night police reporter in New York. In 1984, not yet 30, she became Paris bureau chief where her responsibilities included much of Africa.
In "Mad Dog and Me," an article for the Sunday Times written after Moammar Gadhafi's downfall in October, Colvin described her first meeting with the Libyan dictator. She described being wakened at 3 a.m. and told Gadhafi, who had refused interview requests from many better-known journalists, wanted to see her.
A few days later, Colvin was the first reporter to interview Gadhafi after the U.S. bombing of Tripoli on April 15, 1986. A quarter-century later, she interviewed him as his rule was falling apart.
Colvin was born in Oyster Bay, N.Y., in 1956 and graduated from Yale in 1978. She went to work for UPI the next year.
At the Sunday Times, Colvin was first Middle East correspondent and then Foreign Affairs correspondent. She covered conflicts in the Middle East, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Bosnia, Chechnya, East Timor and Sri Lanka, where she lost an eye to shrapnel.
Christiane Amanpour, a correspondent for CNN, called Colvin "passionate, funny and deeply caring."
"So Marie's legacy lies in her commitment to story telling and doing it the right way," Amanpour said in a tribute on CNN. "It's in believing in the people she was reporting on. She shone a spotlight on and gave a voice to those people who have no voice."