Virginia Graham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Virginia Graham
Virginia Graham 1972.JPG
Graham in 1972
Virginia Komiss

(1912-07-04)July 4, 1912
DiedDecember 22, 1998(1998-12-22) (aged 86)
Manhattan, New York City, US

Virginia Graham, born Virginia Komiss, (July 4, 1912 – December 22, 1998)[1][2] was an American 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; and The Virginia Graham Show (1970–1972).[4] She was also a guest on many other programs.


Early life and education[edit]

Graham was born and raised in Chicago. Her father, an immigrant from Germany, became a successful businessman who owned the Komiss department store chain [5] She graduated from the private Francis Parker School in Chicago, and in 1931, received her degree from the University of Chicago, where she had studied anthropology. She later got a master's degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.


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 .[6] After her death, Kaye Ballard revealed that Graham discovered her husband was gay when she found him in bed with their butler. [7]


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.[8] 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.[9]

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. Guttenberg owned and operated a theatrical costume company.[citation needed]

She was described by noted writer Howard Thompson in The New York Times as "a bright, alert, talkative woman of ripe, tart-edged candor."[8] Another writer, Richard L. Coe, said she looked like "Sophie Tucker doing a Carol Channing performance."[10]

Graham, a cancer survivor, was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. A former smoker, she denounced smoking whenever the opportunity arose. Still, when asked on her program what she would do if she knew the world would end tomorrow, she confessed she would smoke.[citation needed]

Graham died of a heart attack on December 22, 1998.


Year Title Role Notes
1957 A Face in the Crowd Herself Uncredited
1964 The Carpetbaggers Reporter Uncredited
1977 A Secret Space Grandma
1982 Slapstick of Another Kind Gossip Specialist
1986 The Perils of P.K.


  • 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. Self-improvement, beauty advice.
  • If I Made It, So Can You, 1978.
  • Life After Harry: My Adventures in Widowhood, 1988.
  • Look Who's Sleeping in My Bed!, 1993. Memoir.


  1. ^, Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, US: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007.
  2. ^ Severo, Richard (December 25, 1998). "Virginia Graham, Popular Host of Early Television Talk Shows". The New York Times. p. B11. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  3. ^ "On Television." The New York Times, March 11, 1953, p. 41.
  4. ^ "Program Shifts Set on Channel 7." Boston Herald, January 4, 1963, p. 13
  5. ^ Christy, Marian (July 7, 1974). "Yes, Virginia, There's Always An Audience." The Boston Globe, p. 56.
  6. ^ Christy, Marian (May 18, 1988). "Straight Talk From Virginia Graham", The Boston Globe, p. 29
  7. ^ Ballard, Kaye "How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years", p. 156, Back Stage Books, 2006
  8. ^ a b Thompson, Howard (July 11, 1965). "Life As the Girls Live It". The New York Times. p. X13.
  9. ^ Adams, Val (February 24, 1956). "M-G-M Bars Use of 'Annie' on TV". The New York Times. p. 51.
  10. ^ Coe, Richard L. (September 30, 1977). "Virginia Graham in 'Wednesday' at the Hayloft," The Washington Post, p. C28.

External links[edit]