Harry Robbins "Bob" Haldeman (publicly known as H. R. Haldeman; October 27, 1926–November 12, 1993) was an American political aide and businessman, best known for his service as White House Chief of Staff to President Richard Nixon and for his role in events leading to the Watergate burglaries and the Watergate scandal — for which he was found guilty of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He was imprisoned for 18 months for his crimes. In the popular press, Haldeman was sometimes erroneously identified as "H. Robert Haldeman." In the White House, he had several nicknames, such as "The Brush" for his distinctive flattop haircut, "the President's son-of-a-bitch," for his rigid ways and "the Berlin Wall" as a play on his German-American background.
Haldeman was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of socially prominent parents. His father, Harry Francis Haldeman, founded and ran a successful heating and air conditioning supply company, and gave time and financial support to local Republican causes. His mother, Katherine (née Robbins), was a longtime volunteer with the Salvation Army and other philanthropic organizations. His grandfather, Harry Marston Haldeman, co-founded the Better American Federation of California and the The Oz Film Manufacturing Company. Young Haldeman and his siblings Tom and Betsy were raised as Christian Scientists. Known to his peers as a "straight arrow," he sported his trademark flat-top haircut from his high school years, enjoyed discussions of ethics, and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He attended Harvard School, during which time he met Jo (Joanne) Horton, who was a student at Marlborough School. They married in 1949.
A World War II Naval Reserve veteran, Haldeman attended the University of Redlands, the University of Southern California and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1948, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. At UCLA, he met John Ehrlichman, who would become a close friend and colleague in the Nixon administration. After graduation, he spent 20 years working for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in both Los Angeles and New York City; other employees of this firm during this period included Ronald Ziegler, who went on to serve as White House Press Secretary in the Nixon administration.