- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Katharine Graham, who deftly steered The Washington Post through the tumult of the Pentagon papers and Watergate and built it into a leading force in American journalism, died today. She was 84.
Mrs. Graham had been unconscious and in critical condition since she suffered a head injury Saturday afternoon after tumbling on a concrete walkway outside a condominium in Sun Valley, Idaho.
She underwent surgery late Saturday at the St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. She died at 11:56 a.m. EDT.
As chairman of The Washington Post Co. for two decades, Mrs. Graham built the paper her father had purchased at bankruptcy auction into a media empire that ranked 271st on the Fortune 500 list by the time she turned it over to her son in 1991. Along the way, she became a force both respected and feared.
Mrs. Graham had been working on a book about the history of Washington. She also kept a hand in the news business, serving as chairman of the executive committee of The Washington Post Co. since 1993.
Mrs. Graham took over the Post company in 1963 after the suicide of her husband, Philip Graham, and built it into a profitable conglomerate of newspaper, magazine, broadcast and cable properties, including Newsweek.
Mike Wallace of CBS News called her “one of the giants of journalism.''
Mrs. Graham often said her life story read like a soap opera. Instead, she chronicled it in a Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir that traced her path from self-described “doormat wife'' into one of the world's most powerful women.
Her “first life,'' Mrs. Graham said, ended in 1963 when her husband, Philip, who suffered from manic depression, committed suicide at their country home in Virginia while she was upstairs napping.
Philip Graham had been publisher of the Post, then a mediocre newspaper, and his wife had occupied herself with their four children and the life of a Georgetown matron. Suddenly widowed at 46, she stepped into her husband's shoes to take over the Post, at first with temerity but later with sure-footed authority.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide