G. Gordon Liddy Biography

(FBI Agent Who was Convicted for His Role in the Watergate Scandal)

Birthday: November 30, 1930 (Sagittarius)

Born In: Brooklyn, New York, United States

G. Gordon Liddy was an American lawyer, FBI agent, talk show host, actor, and convicted felon who is best recognized for his role in the Watergate scandal as the chief operative in the White House Plumbers unit during the Nixon administration. Along with former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt, he organized and directed the burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building in May and June 1972. After his accomplices were apprehended, he was convicted of burglary, conspiracy, and refusing to testify to the Senate committee investigating Watergate. Despite being boastful about his impeccable tradecraft, he made elementary mistakes that exposed his role as Nixon administration liaison and the resulting scandal led to Nixon's resignation in 1974. Liddy, who released an autobiography and became a debater and speaker on the lecture circuit after serving just 52 months in prison, was fascinated with Hitler and Nazi Germany in his youth and has often publicly expressed his willingness to kill Washington D.C. columnist Jack Anderson and encouraged listeners of his radio program to shoot federal law enforcement officers in the head albeit in self-defense. He hosted syndicated talk-radio shows with a right-wing agenda. He also acted and made guest appearances in various films and television shows.

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Quick Facts

Also Known As: George Gordon Battle Liddy

Died At Age: 90

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Frances Liddy (m. 1957–2010)

father: Sylvester J. Liddy

mother: Maria Liddy

children: Alexandra Bourne, Grace Liddy, James Gordon Liddy, Raymond Joseph Liddy, Tom Liddy

Born Country: United States

Government Officials American Men

Height: 1.75 m

Died on: March 30, 2021

place of death: Mount Vernon, Virginia, United States

U.S. State: New Yorkers

Diseases & Disabilities: Parkinson's Disease

More Facts

education: Fordham University

Childhood & Early Life

George Gordon Battle Liddy was born on November 30, 1930, in Brooklyn, New York, United States, to lawyer Sylvester J. Liddy and his wife Maria (Abbaticchio). He was named after a noted attorney and Tammany Hall leader.

His Irish-Italian family raised him as a strict Catholic in parochial schools where nuns introduced him to authority, “First, God. And then: The flag.”

After attending his father's alma mater, St. Benedict's Preparatory School in Newark, he graduated in 1952 from Jesuit-run Fordham University, where he was a member of the National Society of Pershing Rifles.

He served two years as an artillery officer during the Korean War, stationed in Brooklyn, before being admitted to the Fordham University School of Law, earning a position on the Fordham Law Review, in 1954.

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Career

After completing his graduation in 1957, G. Gordon Liddy joined the FBI, serving as a field agent in Indiana and Denver and a supervisor of crime records in Washington until 1962. During this period, he apprehended Ernest Tait, one of two persons to be a two-time Ten Most Wanted fugitive, in Denver on September 10, 1960.

At 29, he was the youngest bureau supervisor at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. and was a protégé of deputy director Cartha DeLoach, later joining director J. Edgar Hoover's personal staff, serving as his ghostwriter.

He had gained a reputation for recklessness for incidents like running an FBI background check on his future wife before their marriage and getting arrested in Kansas City, Missouri, during a black bag job.

Before resigning from (or being “pushed out” of) the FBI in 1962, he pursued his contacts for bar admissions and subsequently worked under his father as a patent attorney in New York City until 1966.

Providing sealed recommendations from the FBI, he secured the position of prosecutor in exurban Dutchess County, New York, from District Attorney Raymond Baratta, who was also impressed with his energy.

His colleagues believed that he gained undue credit for leading a 1966 drug raid on the Hitchcock Estate (then occupied by Timothy Leary), but was also reprimanded for firing a revolver at the courtroom ceiling.

In a 1969 drug raid at Bard College, he scooped up Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, who would later form the band Steely Dan and write about the raid in the song "My Old School".

After running unsuccessfully for the post of District Attorney, he ran in the Republican Party's primary election for New York's 28th congressional district in 1968, but was narrowly defeated by Hamilton Fish IV.

He was a candidate in the general election against Fish, who managed to get him out of the race by offering him a position with the Treasury Department, which he accepted.

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For his contributions as county director of Richard Nixon's successful presidential campaign, he was appointed a special assistant for narcotics and gun control at the United States Department of the Treasury's headquarters in Washington, D.C. In this new position, he helped to establish the country's contemporary sky marshal program under the aegis of the United States Marshals Service.

During the 1970s, G. Gordon Liddy worked with White House aide Egil "Bud" Krogh, who had set up a special investigations unit nicknamed “the Plumbers” to combat leaks like the Pentagon Papers by military analyst Daniel Ellsberg.

He served as general counsel to the finance committee of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP) from 1971 to 1972. During this period, he concocted several plots to embarrass the Democratic opposition.

In September 1971, Liddy teamed up with former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt to hire a group of anti-Castro Cubans to burglarize the Beverly Hills, California, office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, hoping to find compromising material.

As Nixon administration liaison, he and Hunt organized two break-ins at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Complex in May-June 1972, to place wiretaps and photograph documents.

While Liddy himself did not enter the complex during the burglaries, he was supervising with Hunt from a nearby hotel, and fled the scene after police apprehended the burglars during the second break-in in June.

He was arrested and convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and illegal wiretapping, and was sentenced to a 20-year prison term, which he started serving on January 30, 1973, singing the Nazi Party anthem on his arrival.

He served only 52 months as President Jimmy Carter commuted his term in 1977, and following release, G. Gordon Liddy published his autobiography, Will (1980), which sold over a million copies and was made into a television movie.

During the mid-1980s, he was listed as the top speaker on the college circuit in 1982 by The Wall Street Journal and also participated in a series of debates with Timothy Leary.


During various media appearances, he expressed his willingness to kill journalist Jack Anderson if ordered, showed off his gun collection registered in his wife's name, and instructed his audience to shoot federal law enforcement officers. Starting in mid-1980s, he appeared on various television shows such as Airwolf, Miami Vice, The Highwayman, MacGyver, and Super Force, and acted in films like Street Asylum, Adventures in Spying, and Rules of Engagement.

Personal Life & Legacy

G. Gordon Liddy was married to Poughkeepsie-based school teacher Frances Purcell-Liddy, for 53 years from 1957 to her death in 2010, and had five children with her: Thomas, Alexandra, Grace, James, and Raymond.

His health declined in later years due to Parkinson's disease and he died on March 30, 2021, at the age of 90, at his daughter's house in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Trivia

G. Gordon Liddy often boasted of his transformation “from a puny, fearful boy to a strong, fearless man” through a regime of intense exercise like lifting weight and holding his hand over a flame. He claimed to have killed and eaten a rat to overcome his fear of rodents and decapitated chickens for a neighbor until he could kill like a soldier, “efficiently and without emotion or thought”.

See the events in life of G. Gordon Liddy in Chronological Order

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- G. Gordon Liddy Biography
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