​Passage: Oscar de la Renta, Ben Bradlee and Frank Mankiewicz

It happened this past week . . . the loss of three people of singular accomplishments.

"A woman has to dress. She cannot go on the street naked. So offer her something that is unbelievably appealing, something that she cannot resist."

No one was better at designing irresistible clothes than Oscar De la Renta.


After apprenticeships in Europe, he launched his own fashion line in New York in 1965.

De la Renta dressed First Ladies past and present, and just recently designed the wedding dress for George Clooney's bride, Amal Alamuddin.

Oscar De la Renta was 82.

"Power is a wonderful story. It's a wonderful story. And it goes to the very heart of democracy."

Ben Bradlee devoted his life to stripping away the cloaks of deception in public life.

As the executive editor of the Washington Post, he published the top-secret Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1971.

And beginning in 1972, he backed reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward in their coverage of the Watergate burglary, a story told in the movie "All the President's Men," with Jason Robards in the Bradlee role:

"I can't do the reporting for my reporters, which means I have to trust them. And I hate trusting anybody."

But trust them he did, as Bob Woodward remembered: "He had the touch. He had the ability to encourage people, stimulate people, but not run over them."

Though Bradlee retired from the Post in 1991, he remained a major presence in Washington life virtually to the end.

Ben Bradlee was 93.


Frank Mankiewicz
bridged the worlds of politics and journalism . . . and Hollywood as well, at least by birth.

His father, Herman, won an Oscar for co-writing "Citizen Kane," while his uncle, Joseph Mankiewicz, directed "All About Eve," among many other films.

A lawyer by training, Frank Mankiewicz worked for John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign, and then went on to work for the brand-new Peace Corps.

When Robert Kennedy was shot on the night he won the 1968 California Presidential Primary, it was his press secretary -- Frank Mankiewicz -- who faced the microphones:

"Senator Robert Francis Kennedy died at 1:44 a.m. today, June 6, 1968."

Mankiewicz went on to direct George McGovern's failed presidential campaign in 1972, as well as to a number of journalism jobs.

Frank Mankiewicz was 90.