CASHBOX General Update

Son of Legendary WaPo Publisher Commits Suicide

William Graham

A son of legendary Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham shot himself to death just days ahead of the national release of a movie about her role in the “Pentagon Papers” exposé — and in a manner eerily reminiscent of his dad’s suicide more than 50 years ago.

William Graham, 69, died Dec. 20 at his home in Los Angeles, according to a Washington Post obituary, which quoted his brother Donald as saying the cause was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

According to The NYPost, Graham’s suicide came two days before the Washington, DC, premiere of “The Post,” which recounts the paper’s 1971 efforts to publish the infamous Department of Defense study that revealed massive government lies about American military involvement in Vietnam.

The Steven Spielberg-directed movie features Meryl Streep, as Katharine Graham, and Tom Hanks, as her celebrated executive editor, Ben Bradlee.


William’s father, Philip Graham, committed suicide at age 48 by shooting himself with a 28-gauge shotgun in 1963, days after being released from a psychiatric hospital following six weeks of treatment.

Katharine Graham — the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company — also ran the Washington Post when it won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing the Watergate scandal, which forced President Richard Nixon from office in 1974.

She died at 84 in 2001.  In 2013, her heirs sold The Washington Post and several smaller papers to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million.

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