Name at birth: Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee
Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post was one of the few celebrity newspaper editors in America, thanks mostly to his role in guiding reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward during the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s, the scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Like generations of Boston Bradlees before him, Benjamin went to Harvard University. He graduated in 1942 and, as an ROTC student, also got his officer's commission in the Navy; he jumped right into World War II and spent three years piloting a boat in the South Pacific. After the war, Bradlee got into the newspaper business. He also spent nearly three years as a press attaché at the American Embassy in Paris, then went to work for Newsweek magazine as a foreign correspondent. By 1957 he was in Washington, D.C. with his second wife, and when The Washinton Post bought Newsweek in 1961, Bradlee joined the Post's newsroom. He rose through the ranks and became the executive editor in 1968. Before he retired in 1991, Bradlee led The Washington Post to become a newspaper of national standing. The high points of his career came with the publication of Daniel Ellsberg's Pentagon Papers (1971), and the reporting on the presidential scandal Watergate (from 1972 until 1974, when President Nixon resigned). Bradley became a celebrity after Watergate, thanks largely to the success of the film All The President's Men, in which he was portrayed by actor Jason Robards.
Bradlee and his third wife, Sally Quinn (m. 1978), were known for their A-list Washington cocktail parties.
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