Michael Angelo Graham, 63, the editor in chief of the Washington New Observer Newspaper and an entertainer and entertainment promoter here for 40 years, died Nov. 17 at Prince George's General Hospital after a heart attack. He lived in Seat Pleasant.
Mr. Graham became a free-lance writer with The New Observer in the early 1960s. By the late 1960s, he was a full-time reporter with the newspaper, a weekly community tabloid with a circulation of 25,000. He became the city editor in the early 1970s and editor in chief two years ago.
Mr. Graham was best known in Washington for his work in show business.
His career in entertainment began as a schoolboy, when he won an amateur talent contest in Savannah, Ga. He later worked as a comic in minstrel shows in Savannah and New Orleans, and appeared with such comedians as Pigmeat Markham, Sweetie Walker and Baby Seals.
During World War II, he toured Army bases and United Service Organization centers with his show, "Fun for Fighters." He moved to Washington in 1945 and became a regular act at the Howard Theatre, where he appeared with such entertainers as Lionel Hampton, Nat King Cole and Arthur Prysock.
As a promoter, Mr. Graham is remembered as a man who helped numerous local entertainers launch their careers. He was the house emcee at the Howard Theatre from 1955 until the final show was presented there in 1975.
He had appeared in five television specials and had recorded a comedy album with Clay Tyson on Stax Records. He also was a songwriter.
Mr. Graham was born in Savannah and graduated from Savannah State College.
His honors include the Metro Promoter Rhythm and Blues Award and the Petey Green television award for outstanding service.
He was a Mason and a member of the Elks Club and the Capital Press Club. He also was a trustee of Promised Land Baptist Church in Washington and the Howard Theatre Foundation, which was established to restore the theater.
Survivors include his wife, Mae Harden Graham of Seat Pleasant; a son, Leroy A., of Charlotte, N.C.; a daughter, Latrell Watson of Upper Marlboro, and two grandchildren.