Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Nora Ephron and Deep Throat

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Nora Ephron died today from pneumonia brought on by leukemia. She was 71. Ephron will forever be remembered as the writer behind Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally.

There is a political side to the Ephron story, as well. One of Ephron’s husbands was Carl Bernstein, and Ephron was one of the earliest sources of the identity of the Watergate source “Deep Throat,” Mark Felt.

As Christopher Hitchens noted (literally) in his memoir, Hitch-22, Ephron was not discrete about hiding the identity of the Watergate source. After learning from one of Ephron’s friends that she knew the identity of the Watergate source, Hitchens asked Ephron directly. She told him it was Mark Felt, but Hitchens was reluctant to go with the story because Felt had just been pardoned by President Ronald Reagan for his role in spying on anti-war groups and Hitchens could not believe it was the same person.

Ephron wrote about discovering Felt was Deep Throat for the Huffington Post, but she denied that she learned it from her ex-husband. In the blog post, she revealed that she hardly kept the matter a secret.

For many years, I have lived with the secret of Deep Throat’s identity. It has been hell, and I have dealt with the situation by telling pretty much anyone who asked me, including total strangers, who Deep Throat was. Not for nothing is indiscretion my middle name.

I knew that Deep Throat was Mark Felt because I figured it out. Carl Bernstein, to whom I was married for a brief time, certainly would never have told me; he was far too intelligent to tell me a secret like that. He refused to tell his children too, who are also my children, so I told them, and they told others, and even so, years passed and no one really listened to any of us. Years passed while unbelievably idiotic ideas of who Deep Throat was were floated by otherwise intelligent people. There were theories about John Dean, and David Gergen, and Alexander Haig, and L. Patrick Gray and Diane Sawyer and Ron Ziegler (Ron Ziegler!), and I’m pretty sure even Henry Kissinger’s name came up. I mean, really. Why these people with these ludicrous theories didn’t call me I cannot imagine. I am listed.

Some secrets are just too juicy to carry to the grave.

May she rest in peace.


 

 

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