Were Howard and Liddy Friends in Real Life After Watergate?

Image Credit: Phil Caruso/HBO

HBO’s ‘White House Plumbers,’ is a retelling of one of the most notorious political scandals in the history of the US, the Watergate incident. Created by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, the series is partly based on the 2007 non-fiction book ‘Integrity: Good People, Bad Choices, and Life Lessons from the White House’ by Egil “Bud” Krogh and his son Matthew Krogh. It shows Watergate Scandal from the perspective of its two masterminds, E. Howard Hunt (Woody Harrelson) and G. Gordon Liddy (Justin Theroux). The political satire delves deep into their relationship and the effects the Watergate Scandal had on their family. If you are wondering whether they kept in touch after Watergate, here is what we know.

Post-Watergate Silence Between Hunt and Liddy

In the notes at the end of the series, it is stated that Everette Howard Hunt Jr. and George Gordon Battle Liddy never spoke to each other again after Watergate. Given how faithful ‘White House Plumbers’ generally is to history, it’s probably safe to assume that this part is true as well.

Image Credit: Firing Line with William F. Buckley, Jr./YouTube

In an interview with Collider, Executive Producer David Mandel reflected on the dynamic between these two individuals. “What’s so funny is that, when you met them before Watergate, Hunt had this long, distinguished, maybe sometimes evil CIA career, but he was a very longtime, distinguished spy who had been put out to pasture,” he explained, “He was a has-been, in some ways, desperate to get back. And Liddy was desperate to be important. Liddy wants to be famous. Liddy wanted to be a super spy. That combination was like nitroglycerine. It was a had-been and a never-was, desperate to be important again.”

Mandel continued, “But honestly, there’s that moment in the third episode, when they’ve broken in three times, and Hunt knows they should not go back in again, but they want him to go back in. They’re walking by the Lincoln Memorial, and they sit down, and Liddy is begging him. Liddy exposes a little of himself and talks a bit about his own life, and Hunt knows he shouldn’t. He knows it’s bad, but he goes back in. That is the point of no return where, as bad as things were, things get really, really bad. That’s the shift where, I don’t wanna say it gets less funny, but you start to realize that you’ve been laughing at this thing, and all of a sudden, now lives are being lost, people are going to prison, the worm turns, and it gets, I hate to say scary, but it does get a little scary.”

After Watergate, life took them in vastly different directions. Howard served 33 months in prison and opted for a quieter life. He married a second time; his second wife was a schoolteacher named Laura. They eventually settled in Miami, Florida, and had two children together, Austin and Hollis. Howard continued publishing his formulaic spy novels now under his real name. He put out his memoir, ‘Undercover: Memoirs of an American Secret Agent’ in 1974. A second memoir, ‘American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond,’ reportedly ghost-written by Greg Aunapu, was published in March 2007, two months after his death. Throughout the years after Watergate, Howard gave multiple interviews on Watergate.

Image Credit: Richard Nixon Presidential Library/YouTube

Liddy, on the other hand, served four and half years after refusing to testify as a witness. He remained unrepentant throughout the years after the incident. Following his release, he initially refused to speak about Watergate, but that changed as the years went by. In 1980, he published his autobiography, ‘Will,’ which went on to become a bestseller and was made into an NBC telefilm in 1992. Appearing in a season 6 episode of ‘Fear Factor,’ Liddy had no problem admitting that he was guilty. He and Howard didn’t speak about each other much after Watergate, but Liddy did mention his former partner during an appearance on ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ in 1982. He spoke about one of the earlier attempts to break into the Watergate Complex during which Howard was trapped inside a closet for eight hours and had to urinate in a bottle of whiskey. In a typical Liddy style, he advised Letterman and the audience not to drink the whiskey if they ever visited Watergate.

Read More: What Happened to Howard and Liddy after Watergate?