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Virginia Graham (4 July 1912, Chicago – 22 December 1998, New York City)[1][2] born Virginia Komiss, 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 (1962–1969) and The Virginia Graham Show (1970–1972), and appeared on many other programs.

She was described as "a bright, alert, talkative woman of ripe, tart-edged candor."[4] Another writer said she looked like "Sophie Tucker doing a Carol Channing performance."[5]

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. 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.[6] She succeeded Margaret Truman in 1956 as co-host of the NBC radio show Weekday, teamed with Mike Wallace.[7]

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. Harry Guttenberg, who died in 1980, had owned and run a theatrical costume company.

Graham, a cancer survivor, was a big fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society, and, a former smoker, would denounce 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.

Books

  • 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.
  • Life After Harry: My Adventures in Widowhood, 1988.
  • Look Who's Sleeping in My Bed!, 1993. Memoir.

References

  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. ^ Howard Thompson, "Life As the Girls Live It," New York Times, July 11, 1965, p. X13.
  5. ^ Richard L. Coe, "Virginia Graham in 'Wednesday' at the Hayloft," Washington Post, Sept. 30, 1977, p. C28.
  6. ^ Thompson, ibid..
  7. ^ "M-G-M Bars Use of 'Annie' on TV," New York Times, Feb. 24, 1956, p. 51.

External links

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