Virginia Graham, born Virginia Komiss, (July 4, 1912 – December 22, 1998) 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), Girl Talk, which debuted in January 1963 and ran until 1969; and The Virginia Graham Show (1970–72). She was also a guest on many other programs.
Graham was born and raised in Chicago. Her father, an immigrant from Germany, was a successful businessman who owned the Komiss department store chain. She graduated from the Frances Parker School in Chicago. 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.
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 .
She was described as "a bright, alert, talkative woman of ripe, tart-edged candor." Another writer said she looked like "Sophie Tucker doing a Carol Channing performance."
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. 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.
While co-hosting Weekday, Graham read a letter from a listener that caused her to collapse into hysterics, much to Wallace's chagrin. The segment was not aired at the time, but has since become a staple of blooper records and retrospectives.
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. Graham, a cancer survivor, was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. A former smoker, she denounced smoking whenever the opportunity arose.
|This section lacks ISBNs for the books listed in it. (October 2013)|
- 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
- If I Made It, So Can You, 1978
- Life After Harry: My Adventures in Widowhood, 1988
- Look Who's Sleeping in My Bed!, 1993