A World of Secrets

Dickinson parent to screen his documentary in Carlisle.

Dickinson parent Carl Colby will screen his documentary in Carlisle this fall

Legendary spymaster William Colby is the subject of a newly released documentary film by his son and Dickinson parent Carl Colby. The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby opens in New York City on Sept. 23 and will be shown in Carlisle later this fall. The Colby family has a long tradition of public service, which William Colby’s grandson, Arthur ’11, continues to uphold, now as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Arthur’s father, the award-winning documentary filmmaker Carl Colby, spent his youth living abroad as the son of the man who is at the center of The Man Nobody Knew. Besides being a father, grandfather and former director of the CIA, William Colby earned a Silver Star in World War II, parachuted into Nazi-occupied Europe as an officer in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), swayed elections against the Communists in Italy, oversaw the coup against President Diem in Saigon and ran the controversial Phoenix Program in Vietnam, which sparked today's legacy of counterinsurgency.

William Colby also was a family man forced to keep secrets from his own wife and children—a ghost-like presence in his own home. But after decades of obediently taking on the White House’s toughest and dirtiest assignments and rising to become CIA director, Colby defied the president and opened up to Congress about some of the agency’s darkest, most tightly held secrets and extra-legal operations.

The Man Nobody Knew is a mix of rare archival footage, never-before-seen photos and interviews with a who’s who of American intelligence, including former National Security Advisors Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense and Director of the CIA James Schlesinger and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Bob Woodward, Seymour Hersh and Tim Weiner.

The film will premiere exclusively at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema. Colby plans to screen his film about his late father in Carlisle later this fall. It won’t be his first visit to campus. In 2009 the Emmy Award-winner traveled to Dickinson to screen an earlier version of the documentary memoir that takes a look at the rise and fall of a legendary CIA operative and one of the most influential spymasters in American history.

Carl Colby has made films about Franz Kline, William de Kooning, Bob Marley, Frank Gehry, George Hurrell and Franco Zeffirelli. Some of his other credits include: Ground Zero, a documentary on designs for the World Trade Center site; Mister Gehry Goes to Washington; Invisible: Abbott Thayer and the Art of Camouflage; and Out of the Shadows, a series of gripping documentary profiles of the unsung heroes of U.S. intelligence. 

Find out more about The Man Nobody Knew.

Published June 17, 2013