In comparison to other commentary found on this blog, this can be classified as lighter fare. Nonetheless, the following may change one’s perspective on the traditional image of what constitutes the classic espionage candidate, derived from a steady diet of decades of James Bond films. Unlikely as it may seem, some of the public’s most beloved celebrities have been employed by CIA and large corporations as spies and counter-intelligence agents. Before one scoffs and snickers, consider the possibilities.
To agencies like CIA, celebrities have two distinct advantages over an agent coming off the training ‘farm’ in Langley. One, celebrities, particularly accomplished and veteran actors and actresses, have greater access and plausible deniability with regard to counter-intelligence activities. Two, because they are accomplished at their craft, transitioning to an assumed identity in the service of a counter-intelligence operation is a rather simple matter. Portraying tailored roles with accompanying disguises and assumed identities or aliases, celebrities as counter-intelligence agents can easily get close to any specified target, even while doing so under the hot glare of the public eye. Some of the following names may not seem immediately familiar, and yet during the inception of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), the precursor organization led by General ‘Wild’ William Donovan that later came to be known as CIA, these celebrities were actively recruited, oftentimes in cooperation with British intelligence, to help out with America’s war effort.
Admittedly, though her name may not be recognizable to latter day generations, Julia Child, during her celebrity heyday, was a huge television star, beloved by millions. Most famous for over three decades as ‘The French Chef’, Child served in several counter-intelligence efforts during the war and post-war periods prior to 1960. Assigned overseas to ‘listening posts’ both in China and Ceylon, Child quickly rose through the ranks of the OSS, and was even credited as a top-notch operator in William Donovan’s private papers.
Reputed to have mob ties, many are still not aware that OSS/CIA, worked closely with many mob bosses during the war and post war periods. One of OSS Director Donovan’s early recruits included pop crooner Frank Sinatra. Sinatra, because he had exclusive access, particularly during the era of the Kennedy administration, often acted as a courier for CIA, carrying valuable information and accompanying other agents on missions around the world.
Best known as the author of the wildly popular “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, later adapted for the classic 1970’s cinematic production starring American comedic actor Gene Wilder, Dahl was employed by the British Secret Service during World War II. Dahl was instructed to spy on the lives of influential and powerful American businessmen and figures in positions of high American politics. Dahl’s reputed method of operation was to become sexually involved with the wives of these powerful men. Physically resembling the classic profile of ‘tall, dark and handsome’, by all reports, Dahl was mightily successful. However, when his clandestine activities led him into the arms of American congresswoman Clare Booth Luce, wife of the publisher of Time magazine, Dahl requested to be reassigned. Apparently, Dahl found the congresswoman emotionally needy, and too sexually voracious for his more conservative tastes. Much to Dahl’s dismay, his spymasters at MI6 reportedly rebuffed his repeated requests. In light of this anecdotal information, one can readily observe where Ian Fleming may have derived the idea for modeling the seminal character of James Bond’s 007.
Known for his portrayal in the roles of infamous movie villains, renowned British actor Christopher Lee is less well known in playing the role of real life spy in the service of king and country during the second world war. Signing up for the army as a young recruit, Lee was summarily placed in the intelligence division. Later, quickly rising up the ranks, the celebrated actor was recruited for ultra-secret Special Operations Executive as part of “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”. Shortly after the war’s conclusion, Lee was assigned the dangerous task of tracking down Nazi war criminals. Still later, an interesting anecdote arose out of Lee’s villainous role in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. When told by Jackson to imagine stabbing someone in the back during the filming of a particularly violent scene, Lee drolly replied, ‘he didn’t have to imagine it’.
Best known for his feats of spectacular, death defying magic, what is lesser known is Houdini served as an allied forces operative during Word War I, in close conjunction with Scotland Yard and the US Secret Service. During his travels to far flung locales in Russia during the nascent Communist revolution, using his magic act as a cover, Houdini’s official assignments would be to secretly collect information on Russian anarchists, for both the US and British governments. In other words, Houdini was what is known in intelligence parlance as a ‘handler’, working closely with Lenin, Trotsky, and other Russian revolutionaries. Turns out, Houdini’s greatest magic trick was escaping detection as a player in the grand conspiratorial scheme of geopolitics. Given that the communist revolution was funded by prominent Wall Street banking families like the Rockefeller’s, Morgans, and Guggenheim’s, and given that the same bankers funded the nascent development of both American and British intelligence agencies, it is a safe bet the elites were doing in Russia what they have always sought to do; namely exploiting new markets with inherent vast pools of natural and human resources, for even greater profits. Using a celebrity such as Houdini to handle other paid operatives no one would suspect of being a spy, one who could travel freely and gain free access where others could not, was certainly a brilliant ploy, in making certain the elite agenda was going to plan.
Could it be the elite bankers are presently using the same method of operation in North Korea, utilizing a celebrity to handle their trained puppet in Kim Jong-un? Recently, there have been mainstream news reports of former NBA star Dennis Rodman traveling to North Korea to meet and dine with the reputed Far Eastern dictator.
Odd though it may seem, could it be, Rodman is being used clandestinely by CIA, or perhaps some other intelligence mechanism, to relate messages, gain information, or perhaps as a middle-man, in some clandestine Western directed intelligence operation or other?
Taking into account the aforementioned information, one may very well conclude in the affirmative.