Graham in 1972
July 4, 1912
|Died||December 22, 1998
Manhattan, New York City
|Cause of death||heart attack|
|Spouse(s)||Harry Guttenberg (1935–1980; his death); 1 daughter|
Virginia Graham, born Virginia Komiss, (July 4, 1912 – December 22, 1998) 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), Girl Talk, which debuted in January 1963 and ran until 1969; and The Virginia Graham Show (1970–72). She was also a guest on many other programs.
Graham was born and raised in Chicago. Her father, an immigrant from Germany, was a successful businessman who owned the Komiss department store chain. 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.
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, Lynn Guttenberg Bohrer .
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. 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.
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.
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.
|This section lacks ISBNs for the books listed in it. (October 2013)|
- 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
Virginia had a heart attack on December 11, 1998, and died at a New York hospital on December 22. She was 86.
- Ancestry.com, Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007.
- "Virginia Graham, Popular Host of Early Television Talk Shows," New York Times, Dec. 25, 1998, p. B11.
- "On Television," New York Times, March 11, 1953, p. 41.
- "Program Shifts Set on Channel 7." Boston Herald, January 4, 1963, p. 13
- Marian Christy. "Yes, Virginia, There's Always An Audience." Boston Globe, July 7, 1974, p. 56.
- Marian Christy. "Straight Talk From Virginia Graham", Boston Globe, May 18, 1988, p. 29
- Howard Thompson, "Life As the Girls Live It", New York Times, July 11, 1965, p. X13.
- Richard L. Coe, "Virginia Graham in 'Wednesday' at the Hayloft," Washington Post, September 30, 1977, p. C28.
- Thompson, ibid..
- "M-G-M Bars Use of 'Annie' on TV", New York Times, Feb. 24, 1956, p. 51.
- Virginia Graham at the Internet Movie Database
- "Cackleklatsch", Time, June 7, 1968.
- Clips from final Texas episodes