A look back at 'Deep Throat'

December 19, 2008 7:28:42 PM PST
Family, friends, journalists, and political historians are all looking back at the life and impact of a Santa Rosa man. Mark Felt died on Thursday. He was the former FBI second-in-command, better known as "Deep Throat," in the Watergate scandal who helped bring down a president.

Weakened by a stroke, 91-year-old Mark Felt simply waved to the media when he finally revealed three years ago he was Watergate's "Deep Throat."

Felt died at his Santa Rosa home from congestive heart failure. His daughter Joan and his grandsons spoke about the man behind the Washington whodunit that spanned more than three decades.

"Besides the historical figure of it, he was just a beautiful man and just a great grandfather to have," said Will Felt, Mark felt's grandson.

The Watergate scandal led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974. It began as a burglary at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. It might have ended there if Felt hadn't helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein expose the scandal.

"He was invaluable. He was courageous. He did it for the right reasons," said Carl Bernstein, an author and investigative reporter.

"He said 'Deep Throat' just wanted to be sure the American people knew the truth," said Joan Felt, Mark Felt's daughter.

Felt probably would have taken his secret to the grave. His friend-attorney John O'Connor saw the agony it was causing.

"Something came over him that was deeply troubling, a dark cloud because he was struggling in his old age to keep this a secret," said O'Connor.

O'Connor and Joan persuaded Felt to go public, which finally gave him peace.

"He seemed lighter, free to be completely and fully himself," said Joan.

O'Connor saw felt several weeks ago when Woodward and Bernstein visited him in his home. It was the first time Bernstein had met "Deep Throat."

"He was thrilled when Bob and Carl came up and Joan dressed him in his sports coat and he just gets very excited," said O'Connor.

It's the same red sports coat he wore when his picture appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine. O'Connor wrote the article which revealed his identity.

The gripping mystery became a bestselling book and movie "All The President's Men." Felt saw it and liked it.

"There were a couple of things he laughed at about "follow the money," some of the things he supposedly said," said O'Connor.

As a ritual of his daughter's religion, felt's body is encased in ice for a home viewing and funeral Monday. She says she dressed him in his favorite sports coat.


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