A movie about Twin Falls native W. Mark Felt, who kept his “Deep Throat” identity secret for decades, was released this weekend, but you’ll have to wait a month to catch it in a Boise theater.
“Mark Felt — The Man Who Brought Down The White House” stars Liam Neeson in the title role.
Felt, who became the FBI’s second in command after Director J. Edgar Hoover’s death in 1972, admitted in 2005 to being the G-man who tipped off Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward to the White House’s involvement in the Watergate scandal.
The movie has been called “the other bookend to ‘All the President’s Men,’ ” the 1976 Oscar-winning movie starring Robert Redford as Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein that revealed previously murky details that led to President Richard Nixon’s downfall.
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Born in 1913, Felt grew up at 160 Ninth Ave. N. in Twin Falls. His father, Earl Felt, bought the house for $600 in 1916.
After graduating from Twin Falls High School in 1931, Felt attended the University of Idaho and George Washington University Law School. He joined the FBI in 1942, and eventually rose to associate director of the bureau.
In the darkness of underground parking lots, Deep Throat fed Woodward clues about the 1972 burglary of the Democratic National Committee office in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The burglars had been caught stealing documents and wiretapping phones.
Nixon, a Republican, successfully distanced himself from the crime and was re-elected in a landslide victory. But the unrelenting investigation by Woodward and Bernstein eventually revealed the president’s involvement in the crime, and Nixon resigned in August 1974.
Woodward and Bernstein won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting.
Felt denied being Deep Throat for decades after leaving the FBI.
“I would have done better,” he told The Hartford Courant in 1999. “I would have been more effective. Deep Throat didn’t exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?”
Woodward and Bernstein promised to keep Deep Throat’s identity a secret until Felt’s death. Felt, however, revealed his identity in 2005. He died three years later.
Henry Robinson, a Gooding dentist and great-nephew of Felt’s wife, Audrey, said Felt had kept the family in the dark about Watergate.
“It was sort of a family joke,” Robinson told the Times-News in 2005. “We’d say, ‘Oh, that’s probably Mark.’ ”
Robinson said the bureau was Felt’s life.
“I always thought highly of him. He was always very honest and very patriotic,” Robinson said.
Statesman staff contributed.
About the movie
“Mark Felt — The Man Who Brought Down The White House” is a new Sony Pictures Classics movie directed by Peter Landesman. The movie stars Liam Neeson as Deep Throat, and also stars Diane Lane, Tony Goldwyn and Michael C. Hall.