Virginia Graham

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Virginia Graham
Graham in 1972
Virginia Komiss

(1912-07-04)July 4, 1912
DiedDecember 22, 1998(1998-12-22) (aged 86)

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 (1963–1969) 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 earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.


In 1935, Graham 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] Graham's book about her husband's death, Life After Harry: My Adventures in Widowhood, became a bestseller in 1988.


After World War II, Graham wrote scripts for radio soap operas such as Stella Dallas, Our Gal Sunday and Backstage Wife. She hosted her first radio talk show in 1951.[7] Graham was a panelist on the DuMont panel show Where Was I? (1952–53). She succeeded Margaret Truman in 1956 as cohost of the NBC radio show Weekday, teamed with Mike Wallace.[8]

In 1982, Graham played fictional talk show host Stella Stanton in the final episodes of the soap opera Texas.

She was described by writer Howard Thompson in The New York Times as "a bright, alert, talkative woman of ripe, tart-edged candor."[7] Another writer, Richard L. Coe, said she looked like "Sophie Tucker doing a Carol Channing performance."[9]

Graham, a cancer survivor, was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. A former smoker, she denounced smoking, but when asked on her program what she would do if she knew that the world would end tomorrow, she confessed that 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. ^ a b Thompson, Howard (July 11, 1965). "Life As the Girls Live It". The New York Times. p. X13.
  8. ^ Adams, Val (February 24, 1956). "M-G-M Bars Use of 'Annie' on TV". The New York Times. p. 51.
  9. ^ Coe, Richard L. (September 30, 1977). "Virginia Graham in 'Wednesday' at the Hayloft," The Washington Post, p. C28.

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