Katharine Graham was born on June 16, 1917 and went on to become the most powerful woman in publishing after taking the helm as CEO of her family’s newspaper, The Washington Post. Shattering the glass ceiling in this traditionally male-dominated field, Katharine is credited with transforming the run-of-the-mill daily into “one of the powerhouses of journalism.” This December, Meryl Streep will bring part of Katharine’s extraordinary story to life on the big screen in The Post, a drama directed by Steven Spielberg.
According to the Library of Congress, Katharine Graham’s father “bought The Washington Post in 1933 at a bankruptcy sale and the job of running the paper fell to her husband, Philip.” After his suicide in 1963, Graham took over and turned the paper into a well-respected news giant. “She published the Pentagon Papers, which revealed U.S. bungling in Southeast Asia. She okayed the investigation of a break-in at the Watergate, toppling the President of the United States.”
“The thing women must do to rise to power is to redefine their femininity. Once power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex.” – Katharine Graham
The Post, which stars Tom Hanks alongside Meryl Streep, is described as “a thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers – and their very freedom – to help bring long-buried truths to light.”
In addition to directing, Spielberg is a producer on The Post along with Amy Pascal and Kristie Macosko Krieger. The script was written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, and the film features an acclaimed ensemble cast including Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Michael Cyril Creighton, and more. It hits theaters December 22, 2017.
Katharine Graham won a Pulitzer at the age of 80 for her memoir, Personal History. She passed away on July 17, 2001 at the age 84.
lead image: 20th Century Fox YouTube, trailer screen grab