Ben Bradlee Jr. (born August 7, 1948) is an American journalist and writer. He was a reporter and editor at The Boston Globe for 25 years, including a period when he supervised the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sexual abuse by priests in the Boston archdiocese, and is the author of a comprehensive biography of Ted Williams. His book The Forgotten: How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America, about Luzerne County, Pennsylvania and the 2016 United States presidential election was released on October 2, 2018.
Life and career
Bradlee was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, during the early newspaper career of his father, future Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. His mother was Bradlee Sr.'s first wife, Jean Saltonstall; his parents divorced when he was seven. After spending five years in Paris, from the ages of two to seven while his father worked for Newsweek, Bradlee grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a teenager, he was given a taste of journalism as a copy boy at The Boston Globe. He graduated from Colby College and then served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan from 1970-1972.
Bradlee worked for several years at the Riverside Press-Enterprise in California but then spent most of his career at The Boston Globe, where he was successively State House reporter, investigative reporter, national correspondent, political editor, and metropolitan editor. In 1993, he was promoted to Assistant Managing Editor responsible for investigations and projects. In that role, he edited the Globe's reporting that uncovered the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston's repeated cover-ups of sexual abuse of children by priests, a painstaking investigation that began in 2001 and continued for two years. The paper's investigation was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. In the 2015 film Spotlight, which dramatizes that investigation, Bradlee is portrayed by John Slattery. Bradlee makes a cameo appearance as a journalist with a notepad during and after the scene depicting the Church's response on television to the 9/11 attacks.
He left the Globe in 2004 to work on a biography of Boston Red Sox icon Ted Williams, which ultimately took ten years of in-depth research to finish. The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams was released in 2013. It received favorable reviews, highlighting the author's research into Williams' concealed Mexican–American identity and troubled family relationships (which culminated in the disputed cryonic preservation of Williams' head and torso). The book, which was a New York Times best-seller, has been optioned for a TV miniseries.
Bradlee's first book The Ambush Murders, an account of the brutal killings of two California policemen, was the basis for a TV movie which aired on CBS in 1982. A later book on Oliver North and the Iran–Contra affair was made into a miniseries by CBS in 1989.
Bradlee has been married three times: to broadcast journalist Martha Raddatz, to Janice Saragoni for 25 years, ending in 2015, and to Cynthia Hickman since February 2018. He has three children.