Home / National News / Ben Bradlee, Top "Washington Post" Editor During Watergate, Dies At 93


(WASHINGTON) —  Ben Bradlee, the legendary executive editor of the Washington Post during the Watergate era, has died, the newspaper reported on its website Tuesday night. He was 93.

A native of Boston, Bradlee began his career at the age of 20 in a grand fashion. He graduated from Harvard, got married to his first wife, Jean Saltonstall, and joined the U.S. Navy, serving in the South Pacific.

He went on to work for Newsweek, first in postwar Paris and then in Washington D.C., where he counted then-Senator John F. Kennedy as a friend. Bradlee was promoted to managing editor of the Washington Post in 1965 and rose through the ranks to become executive editor in 1968. It was a post Bradlee held until his retirement in 1991.

During his tenure, Bradlee steered the newspaper to national prominence, first by publishing Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers and then exposing the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

While Bradlee was known as a top editor in Washington, he became a household name when the movie All the President’s Men, detailing the Watergate scandal, hit the big screen in 1976.

Bradlee was portrayed by actor Jason Robards, who starred alongside Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford, who played reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.

The Washington Post credits Bradlee with helping to expand its coverage by opening bureaus around the world, leading to it becoming one of the most preeminent newspapers in the United States.

Bradlee’s wife, Sally Quinn, said in a recent television interview with C-SPAN that her husband of 36 years had dementia and suffered a decline in health in recent months.

Seeing her husband’s decline was “the most horrible experience I have ever had,” Quinn said.

However, she said her ability to care for him was something she held “sacred.”

Bradlee was awarded the Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2013 for his reporting and leadership during the Vietnam War and Watergate. He also still loved catching up with old colleagues — something Quinn said her husband did until recently.

“He was going to the office once a week to have lunch with the guys,” Quinn said. “They would talk about the good old days and journalism.”

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