Virginia Graham

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Virginia Graham
Virginia Graham 1972.JPG
Graham in 1972
Born Virginia Komiss
(1912-07-04)July 4, 1912
Chicago, Illinois
Died December 22, 1998(1998-12-22) (aged 86)
New York City, New York
Cause of death
heart attack
Occupation Television personality
Spouse(s) Harry Guttenberg (1935–1980; his death); 1 daughter

Virginia Graham, born Virginia Komiss, (July 4, 1912 – December 22, 1998)[1][2] was a daytime television talk show host from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. On television, Graham hosted the syndicated programs Food for Thought (1953–1957),[3] Girl Talk, which debuted in January 1963 and ran until 1969;[4] and The Virginia Graham Show (1970–72). She was also a guest on many other programs.

Personal life/education[edit]

Graham was born and raised in Chicago. Her father, an immigrant from Germany, was a successful businessman who owned the Komiss department store chain.[5] She graduated from the Frances Parker School in Chicago. She attended the University of Chicago, where she majored in anthropology, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She then studied journalism at Northwestern University, and received a master's degree.[citation needed]

Marriage[edit]

In 1935, she married Harry William Guttenberg, who owned a theatrical costume company. They remained married until his death in 1980. The couple had one daughter.[6]

She was described as "a bright, alert, talkative woman of ripe, tart-edged candor."[7] Another writer said she looked like "Sophie Tucker doing a Carol Channing performance."[8]

Career[edit]

After World War II, she wrote scripts for such radio soap operas as Stella Dallas, Our Gal Sunday, and Backstage Wife. She hosted her first radio talk show in 1951.[9] Graham was a panelist on the DuMont panel show Where Was I? (1952–53). She succeeded Margaret Truman in 1956 as co-host of the NBC radio show Weekday, teamed with Mike Wallace.[10]

While co-hosting Weekday, Graham read a letter from a listener that caused her to collapse into hysterics, much to Wallace's chagrin. The segment was not aired at the time, but has since become a staple of blooper records and retrospectives.[11]

In 1982, Graham played fictional talk show host "Stella Stanton" in the final episodes of the soap opera Texas. Her book about her husband's death, Life After Harry: My Adventures in Widowhood, became a bestseller in 1988. Graham, a cancer survivor, was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. A former smoker, she denounced smoking whenever the opportunity arose.[citation needed]

Books[edit]

  • There Goes What's Her Name: The Continuing Saga of Virginia Graham (with Jean Libman Block), 1965
  • Don't Blame the Mirror (with Jean Libman Block), 1967
  • If I Made It, So Can You, 1978
  • Life After Harry: My Adventures in Widowhood, 1988
  • Look Who's Sleeping in My Bed!, 1993

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ancestry.com, Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007.
  2. ^ "Virginia Graham, Popular Host of Early Television Talk Shows," New York Times, Dec. 25, 1998, p. B11.
  3. ^ "On Television," New York Times, March 11, 1953, p. 41.
  4. ^ "Program Shifts Set on Channel 7." Boston Herald, January 4, 1963, p. 13
  5. ^ Marian Christy. "Yes, Virginia, There's Always An Audience." Boston Globe, July 7, 1974, p. 56.
  6. ^ Marian Christy. "Straight Talk From Virginia Graham", Boston Globe, May 18, 1988, p. 29
  7. ^ Howard Thompson, "Life As the Girls Live It", New York Times, July 11, 1965, p. X13.
  8. ^ Richard L. Coe, "Virginia Graham in 'Wednesday' at the Hayloft," Washington Post, September 30, 1977, p. C28.
  9. ^ Thompson, ibid..
  10. ^ "M-G-M Bars Use of 'Annie' on TV", New York Times, Feb. 24, 1956, p. 51.
  11. ^ http://www.tvparty.com/70-virginia-graham.html

External links[edit]