Benjamin Bradlee, the longtime Washington Post executive editor, died Tuesday at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 93.
Bradlee gained fame for turning the Washington Post into a household name, putting it in direct competition with The New York Times.
He was at the helm of the Post when, along with the Times, they decided to publish the Pentagon Papers, which were released by Daniel Ellsberg. In 1971, their decision to publish the documents was upheld by the Supreme Court, in which they defeated the Nixon administration.
Most famously, Bradlee oversaw the coverage of the Watergate scandal by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, leading to the end of Richard M. Nixon’s presidency after they proved Nixon had covered up the break-in at the Watergate complex in Foggy Bottom.
It remains the only presidential resignation in the history of the United States.
“He was the most galvanizing, remarkable figure to work with and for,” Bernstein told Anderson Cooper Tuesday night following the announcement of his death. “[There was] nobody else like him…his life was about getting the story, and getting it right.”
“He took the profession somewhere it’s never been. He understood the role of the press in a democracy,” Bernstein said. “He had this instinctive genius for saying ‘go with it.'”
“He was amazing,” he added.
After 23 years as the paper’s executive editor, Bradlee resigned in 1991 and took on the title of Vice President At Large, which remained his title until his death.
“Ben Bradlee was the best American newspaper editor of his time and had the greatest impact on his newspaper of any modern editor,” said Donald Graham, who succeeded his mother, Katherine Graham, as publisher of the Post.
President Barack Obama saluted Bradlee in 2013 when he became a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded.
Bradlee is survived by his wife and former Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn, his four children, 10 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.