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These Classic Hollywood Celebrities Were Actually Spies

Most people think about spies, the hard training, stealthy individuals who can blend into almost any situation like a chameleon. Collecting invaluable intel for a covert governmental organization. Images of James Bond and Jason Bourne might even come to mind.

Espionage is a delicate art. It’s all bout keeping, obtaining, and preserving secrets while immersing oneself in a persona that fits the part. It isn’t a surprise that some of the greatest actors of the golden age of Hollywood are spies. That’s what makes the individuals we’re about to discuss in this video so fascinating.

These thirteen stars weren’t exactly all that they seemed on the surface. The public saw them as television and movie stars, authors, and musicians. The governments that they are working for, the invaluable assets assign to classify missions that very few are privy to.

So without further ado, let’s dive on in and discover which stars are secretly working as spies on the down-low. Talking about one hell of a side gig, right?  Join Facts Verse to know more about those Classic Hollywood Celebrities that were actually spies.

Roald Dahl

Dahl is famous as the author of numerous iconic children’s and young adult novels. It includes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, and James and the Giant Peach. A less popular British author, he spends years as a spy for the British Army during World War II. 

He is a pilot for the British Royal Air Force during the war but relocates to Washington in 1942. After sustaining heavy injuries in a horrific crash that renders him unfit for service. He was assigned to use his looks and charisma to gain access to prominent figures in the American political discourse. Dahl was a member of an elite group of William Stephenson’s agents known as the ‘Baker Street Irregulars’.

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And don’t go anywhere just yet. You wouldn’t want to miss learning the shocking truth about people like Harry Houdini and Cary Grant, now would you? Seriously, you’re never going to look at these stars the same way after watching this video, so bear with us. You won’t regret it. Join Facts Verse to know more about those Classic Hollywood Celebrities that were actually spies.

Frank Sinatra 

It’s never been officially acknowledged in any sort of capacity, some people remain convinced that Frank Sinatra had deep ties and dealings with the Mafia. The singer’s association with the Mob suspects for ages. FBI documents show that J Edgar Hoover, the bureau’s chief during those years, didn’t find evidence to support such claims. Everything is speculative. It’s possible that evidence of his ties to the crime syndicate is covered up, buried, or even outright destroyed.

According to Frank’s daughter, Tina, her dad becomes a secret dispatcher working for the CIA. He helps transport people secretly in and out of the country. He did his job well. No one suspects him of being a spy because he’s constantly jet-setting around the world on his private jet anyway. It was the perfect cover story.

Ian Flemming

Flemming is a journalist with a special aptitude for organizational skills. He equips with a memory like a steel trap. These were two qualities that caught the British Naval Intelligence agency’s attention when he was working as a journalist.

He helped maintain communications between a branch of the British intelligence and the British Admiralty. Fleming was exceptionally good at what he did and he even got the chance to help the office develop a huge chunk of their best-laid plans during that era. He later went on to adapt some of his experiences working for the British Intelligence into his first OO7 novel Casino Royale. Join Facts Verse to know more about those Classic Hollywood Celebrities that were actually spies.

Julia Child 

We don’t know about you, but this one was hard for us to wrap our mind’s around at first.

Long before she was teaching the world how to cook such delicacies as Quiche Lorraine or Tarte Tatin on her groundbreaking culinary television program, Julia Childs was a spy at the Office of Strategic Services, which was essentially the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency.

During World War II she worked for the OSS in Washington D.C and was later stationed in Sri Lanka and China where she was even promoted to the rank of Chief of the OSS Registry. During the war, she worked as an intelligence officer relaying information from Allied agents in the field in places like China and Ceylon.

James Hart Dyke

Mr. Dyke was an integral member of M16 but not in the way you might be thinking. He spent over a year of his life living as a part of the organization which is essentially Britain’s elite version of the CIA. It would seem though that he was less of a spy for the agency and more of an artist.

Sir John Scarlett decided to recruit Dyke into the organization in 2009 to serve as an artist-in-residence. He needed someone that could accurately depict M16’s almost mythical inner workings without revealing too many sensitive details. He told the press back in 2011 that he was excited to wrap up his work and be done with it all but he admitted that he would probably never get the chance to work on something as fascinating ever again. Join Facts Verse to know more about those Classic Hollywood Celebrities that were actually spies.

Harry Houdini 

Houdini was a Hungarian-American magician, escape artist, and stunt performer. His illusions not only mesmerized the public, but they also caught the attention of the Scotland Yard and the United States Secret Service, who recruited him to infiltrate Russian police stations to get sensitive and strategic information for them.

Supposedly, Houdini would just stroll into police stations all around the globe, insist that he be locked up, and then would use his infamous escape skills to impress the local law enforcement officers. He collected his intel while maintaining his regularly scheduled tour dates as an established cover.

Moe Berg 

Berg might not have been the most adept spy. Rather, some reports imply that he wasn’t particularly thrilled to be one, but he had a wealth of skills that made him perfect for the job. He was charming, attractive, and sophisticated; qualities that the OSS took notice of before making him a full-fledged member of the Secret Intelligence division of the agency.

Berg did most of his spy work while touring Japan as part of the American All-Star Team in 1934. Berg was even sent out on one particularly dangerous solo mission in 1944, assigned to collect sensitive data from the German’s who the American’s were convinced were trying to build an atomic bomb. If he concluded that the Germans were in fact close to developing nuclear-capable weaponry, his orders were to shoot the lead physicist, Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg, the father of the uncertainty principle.

Cary Grant 

It might be hard for some to fathom, but Cary Grant was a real-life secret agent working for the British government. History tells us that he was one of the greatest Nazi hunters of Hollywood. During World War II, he was tasked with keeping tabs on suspected fascists and Nazi sympathizers.

One of his greatest feats was outing the legendary Errol Flynn as a Nazi backer. He also investigated the former German husband of Actress Barbara Hutton. Kurt Haugwitz-Reventlow. Later on, Grant would marry miss Hutton, but their marriage would be short-lived.

Grant was a strong supporter and advocate for the British Cause and donated a sizable chunk of his salary throughout the course of the war to the Red Cross and the British War Relief.

Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich, a German actress, regularly performed for the US troops serving on the front lines of World War II. She would also send back a regular stream of intelligence reports to the states thus earning her the FBI’s trust. She wasn’t the only starlet that was assumed to be spying for the US, but she was the only one that was suspected of being a double-agent for the Germans as well. Because of that, she was constantly surveilled by other US intelligence agents to ensure that she was playing for the right team. Strangely, a huge chunk of her personnel file went mysteriously missing right before the records were made public.

Sterling Hayden 

Sterling is probably best known for appearing in films like Dr. Stangelove and The Godfather. For the latter, he played a corrupt police officer that Michael Corleone rubs out at the restaurant. Hayden was in reality a real-life covert operative working for the United States intelligence community. He worked for the Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War, parachuting down into Croatia to spy on the fascist movements that were poisoning the region with their destructive ideologies.

Greta Garbo 

A lot of people assumed that her retirement from the entertainment industry in 1935 was just a cover-up for her acting role as a spy for the Allied Forces. She would use her status as a Swedish celebrity to sniff out Nazi operatives and report their actions to the Allies. One of her most dangerous missions was to covertly transport a man from Copenhagen to Britain, which she accomplished with the help of Winston Churchill’s special envoy and the assistance of Canadian secret agent Sir William Stephenson. The man she smuggled was none other than Niels Bohr, who went on to help develop the first atomic bomb.

John Ford 

His career spanned nearly 50 years. Mr. Ford directed more than 140 feature films and is often regarded as one of the most influential film-makers of his era. During World War II, he served as the head of the photographic unit for the OSS, creating a new aerial photography technique for the armed forces. He also got the opportunity to direct numerous wartime propaganda movies for the US government and even filmed the D-Day landing by himself. One of his most notable contributions while working for the government was informing the intelligence community about a suspected Japanese presence right off the coast of Baja California.

Christopher Lee 

He not only was he one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood’s history, but he also had an impressive career in the service of his country. He had a fairly respectable resume. Lee was fluent in six languages and was related to both Robert E. Lee and Charlemagne. He was also a member of the SAS during World War II and was closely associated with the precursor to that organization, the Long Range Desert Group.

As Special Operation Executive, Lee conducted reconnaissance missions in occupied regions of Europe hunting down suspected Nazi war criminals and their supporters. He never publicly went into detail about his work, but some details have leaked over the years.

Well, what do you think? Did you know that all of these stars were also secretly spies? It makes you wonder who in Hollywood is secretly working with the government these days, right?

Anyway, now’s the time for you to shine. In the comments section, let us know whether you would rather be a secret agent or a movie star if you could only choose one. I can only speak for myself, but being a movie star seems a lot less stressful. 

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