William Randolph Basham, 53, deputy superintendent of the Senate Press Gallery and for many years an editor and reporter for The Washington Star, died of cancer Feb. 27 at Georgetown University Hospital.

In nearly 30 years with The Star, Mr. Basham gained a reputation among colleagues for fairness, kindness and courtesy, traits that helped him develop enviable sources among Washington police officials and members of the various courts he covered during his career.

He was an assistant city editor when The Star ended publication in the summer of 1981. Younger reporters found him an excellent journalistic teacher and a font of knowledge about the workings of Washington.

He became deputy superintendent of the Senate Press Gallery in January 1982.

Mr. Basham was born in Washington. He grew up in Arlington, where he attended Washington-Lee High School. He served in the Marine Corps in Korea during the war there and he graduated from the University of Maryland in 1958. He began his career at The Star in 1954 as a copy boy.

Survivors include his wife, Christie, the deputy bureau chief of NBC News here, of Washington; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.O. Basham of Arlington, and two sisters, Anne Basham of Arlington and Frances B. Schmitz of Annapolis.