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'Bebe' Rebozo, Loyal Friend, Confidant to Nixon, Is Dead

May 09, 1998| From Associated Press

Charles "Bebe" Rebozo, a Florida banker and confidant of Richard Nixon who steadfastly stood by the president in the darkest days of Watergate, died Friday night. He was 85.

Hospital officials said Rebozo died before 11 p.m. at Baptist Hospital. They would not disclose the cause of death or how long he had been hospitalized.

Rebozo was the longtime president and chairman of Key Biscayne Bank. He and Nixon were neighbors in Key Biscayne, and the president visited Rebozo in Florida frequently while he was in office.

It was on one such visit in 1972, Rebozo recalled in a 1990 interview with the St. Petersburg Times, that Nixon first heard of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters that would force him to resign in disgrace two years later.

"We were swimming at Key Biscayne in front of my house," Rebozo told the newspaper. "They came out and told him. He said, 'What in God's name were they doing there?' "

Then, Rebozo said, "we laughed and forgot about it."

In the two years after the break-in at the Watergate Hotel, Nixon frequently consulted with Rebozo. And the two remained friends after Nixon left office, with the former president continuing his visits to Florida from his home in Yorba Linda. Nixon died in 1994.

Rebozo shunned the spotlight after the turbulent Watergate years. When once he was asked whether he would discuss the success of the Key Biscayne Bank, Rebozo replied: "No, thank you. I've had all of the publicity I ever want."

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