Sam Ervin
Sam Ervin
Former North Carolina senator Sam J. Ervin Jr. had a distinguished career in Congress but became a household name at age 76 when he was chairman of the Senate Watergate committee. Ervin was first elected to Congress in 1954 and joined a committee to study whether Wisconsin Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy should be censured for his Communist-hunting activities. Throughout his 20-year career in the Senate, Ervin sided alternately with liberals and conservatives, opposing civil rights legislation in the 1960s and the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s.

After Watergate, he retired to his hometown of Morganton, N.C., and wrote three books: "The Whole Truth: The Watergate Conspiracy," "Humor of a Country Lawyer," and "Preserving the Constitution: The Autobiography of Sen. Sam Ervin." He said his one regret regarding the Watergate proceedings was that Congress did not do more to restrict the president's executive privilege.

Ervin died in 1985 in Winston-Salem, N.C., at the age of 88.

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Sam Ervin
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