William Graham, son of former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, dies at 69


William Graham, a lawyer and member of the family that owned and published the Washington Post for much of its history, died Dec. 20 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 69.

The cause of death was suicide by gunshot wound, said Lt. Larry Dietz of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Graham graduated from Stanford University in 1970 with a degree in history. He studied law at UCLA and worked as an attorney at the Washington firm Williams & Connolly before moving to Los Angeles and teaching trial law at UCLA, according to his obituary in the Washington Post.


In Los Angeles, he founded an investment firm, Graham Partners, and contributed to several philanthropic organizations.

Graham came from a family whose history was inseparable from that of the Washington Post. Graham’s grandfather, Eugene Meyer, purchased the Post in 1933.

His father, Philip, served as president and chief executive of the Washington Post before struggling with manic depression and committing suicide in 1963. Philip Graham also died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

William Graham’s mother, Katharine, took over the Post after his father’s death and transformed it into a media powerhouse, guiding the paper through the Watergate scandal and the publishing of the Pentagon Papers. Katharine Graham is portrayed by Meryl Streep in “The Post,” a film about the Pentagon Papers that premiered Friday, two days after Graham committed suicide.

William Graham’s brother Donald Graham succeeded his mother as publisher of the Post in 1979. In 2013, Donald Graham sold the Post to Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.

According to his obituary, William Graham’s survivors include his wife, Sally Lasker Graham; two children, Alice Graham and Edward Graham; a sister, Lally Weymouth; and two brothers, Donald E. Graham and Stephen M. Graham.


Twitter: @frankshyong