Mary Ellen Greenfield was a Washington Post and Newsweek editorial writer and a Washington, D.C. insider known for her wit and for being reclusive.
Greenfield was born in Seattle, where she attended The Bush School. She graduated summa cum laude from Smith College in 1952. She also studied at Cambridge University as a Fulbright Scholar and was friends there with Norman Podhoretz, who also went on to a distinguished career in journalism.
She became influential in a male-dominated world and a close confidante of Post publisher Katharine Graham. She was awarded journalism's highest honor, a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing, in 1978 and spent 20 years as the editorial page editor for the Washington Post and 25 years as a columnist for Newsweek.
She never married, something she came to regret. When diagnosed with cancer, Greenfield partly retired to Bainbridge Island in her native Washington, where she wrote a posthumously published memoir entitled Washington. She died of the disease, aged 68.
If a politician murders his mother, the first response of the press or of his opponents will likely be not that it was a terrible thing to do, but rather that in a statement made six years before he had gone on record as being opposed to matricide.