The Good Shepherd
I have a studio in TriBeCa across the street from Robert De Niro’s longtime residence. Neighbors for 25 years included a CIA couple. I knew them well. Bobby Kennedy would ask him Monday mornings, “Is he dead yet?” Meaning Castro. He had no luck with Castro, but he was station chief in Chile when Allende was assassinated. Then he left the CIA and eventually moved to TriBeCa. They were friends with William Buckley from their days together at Yale.
The wife was much livelier than the husband. She seemed to have accompanied him on his missions, despite children. Robert De Niro has directed a new film about the founding of the CIA, The Good Shepherd, and it so resembles aspects of their lives that I wonder if the actor somehow knew these spies. The last time I talked to the spy intelligently was 11 September 2001. We stood together in the middle of the street watching the World Trade Center burn. He told me before the buildings even collapsed how it was all done.
And then they fell victim to Alzheimer’s. She had it worse than him. Their son moved them away. I inherited their books. Looking for something to read after seeing the film, I happened to pick up a book on Mazzini and secret societies which belonged to him and a book by the naturalist Konrad Lorenz which her son gave her, according to a notation, one hot summer day in 1980.
I picked the Lorenz.