Monday, April 15, 2024

History’s Tragic Repeat: Washington Post Heir Bill Graham Suicide 54 Years After Publisher Father


An obituary appears today in the paid section placed by Lally Weymouth for her brother, Bill Graham, age 69. They are the children of the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, featured right now in Steven Spielberg’s movie “The Post.”

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Their father, Phil Graham, Katharine’s husband, died in August 1963 from a gun shot to the head. According to the Washington Post notice for Bill Graham, he died the same way on December 20th in Los Angeles. What a shame. Condolences to the family.

Bill Graham’s death comes at a moment when his mother is being celebrated– portrayed by Meryl Streep in the movie– for the courage to publish The Pentagon Papers. In the movie, Lally Weymouth is also depicted, played by Allison Brie. The Grahams had two other sons, Donald and Stephen, who survive their brother.

A big part of “The Post” is the story of Phil Graham’s suicide, which catalyzed his wife from society hostess to publisher. It’s a sad irony that at a time when the Grahams should be basking in the glow of that courage that they are mourning this kind of loss again.

The Grahams sold the Post to Amazon owner Jeff Bezos in 2013.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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