On the night of June 17th, 1972, Washington, D.C., security guard Frank Wills was making his rounds when he noticed a bit of duct tape on a door of an office complex. Since it wasn’t holding the door together or doing any of the useful things duct tape is known for doing, Wills removed it, only to find it had been replaced when he came by on the next round of his patrol.
Wills immediately called the cops, who arrived at the Watergate hotel/office/apartment complex minutes later to find five middle-aged men ransacking the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee — the beginning of the scandal that would finally sink the Nixon presidency. Wills would later play himself in the film “All The President’s Men,” but sadly that was the last time his newfound fame worked to his advantage — after quitting Watergate when he was turned down for a raise (and really if you’re not going to give him a raise, who are you ever going to give a raise to?), Wills found that many public institutions were too afraid of vengeful Republican politicians to hire him as a guard.
Wills drifted from job to job (including a gig working for legendary black stand-up Dick Gregory) before the pressures of caring for his ailing mother landed him in prison and then the poorhouse. He died of a brain tumor in September of 2000.