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10 real life spies that might not be on spy-fi fans' radar

21-Jul-2010 • Bond Style

The Victoria Advocate has rounded up a list and background dossiers on famous and infamous spies from real life.

Mata Hari

A Dutch nude dancer, Mata Hari (born as Gertrud Margarete Zelle) was accused of being a double agent during World War I for the French and German armies.

Known for her beauty and her willingness to dance onstage almost nude, she had numerous lovers, including military officers.

Although she was executed by the French in 1917, it is still unclear today just what her alleged spying activities were.

Julia Child

A most unlikely operative, chef Julia Child was whipping up espionage long before aspics. Working for the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor to the CIA), she was assigned to help U.S. naval forces during World War II by creating shark repellent. Sharks would often bump into underwater explosives, which set them off, thus warning the German U-boats the explosions were meant to sink.

Ian Fleming

Who else could create James Bond but a spy. Yes, Bond author Ian Fleming had first-hand spy knowledge thanks to working for the British Naval Intelligence during World War II. His main job was engineering espionage strategies, among them the famous "Operation Goldeneye." It's still unclear, however, exactly how he takes his martini.

Josephine Baker

During World War II, famous entertainer Josephine Baker helped the French Resistance. And just how did she do it? By using her fame and smuggling secret information written in invisible ink on her sheet music.

Thanks to so many people being awestruck by the star in Europe, Baker and her entourage (which included other members of the resistance), were allowed to cross borders, no questions asked.

Nathan Hale

You know that famous line "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country"? Well, you can thank a spy for that. Former teacher turned soldier, Nathan Hale, went behind British lines during the Revolutionary War to bring Gen. George Washington notes and drawings of British troop deployment in New York. At only 21, he was captured by the British and right before he was hanged, it's believed he uttered those infamous words.

Aldrich Ames

Aldrich Hazen Ames was only 16 when he went to "The Farm," aka a CIA training facility. Ames' father was also a spy during the 1950s but unlike his father, Ames went rogue and in 1985 started selling out every American spy the CIA and FBI had in the then-USSR. In 1994, he was formally charged and sent to prison.

Elia Kazan

From 1945 and 1957, Elia Kazan directed 13 acclaimed films, including "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "East of Eden." He was also nominated for four Best Director awards. Although he was a member of the Communist Party for a brief period, by 1934 he was a zealous anti-Communist. During the 1950s, Kazan was pressured to name Communists he knew, which he did. The backlash was strong in Hollywood. Even in 1999, when he was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the Oscars, more than 500 people showed up to protest.

Robert Baden-Powell

The founder of the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts was also...a spy? It's true. Robert Baden-Powell was a lieutenant-general in the British Army from 1876 to 1910. He frequently disguised himself as a butterfly collector while he travelled, meanwhile incorporating plans of military installations into his drawings of butterflies. After his military career, he started the World Scouting Movement and even wrote about his adventures as a spy in his book "My Adventures as a Spy."

Marlene Dietrich

Hollywood bombshell Marlene Dietrich, a German citizen until 1937, recorded popular American songs infused with anti-Nazi messages in German that were sent to Germans behind the lines during Word War II. The famous actress also reportedly entertained Allied troops in battle zones. She was awarded the highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, by the U.S., as well as received awards from Belgium, Israel and the Netherlands.

Klaus Fuchs

British physicist and spy Klaus Fuchs, who was born in Germany, went down after he was caught supplying information on atomic bomb research from Britain and the U.S. to the Soviet Union during and after World War II. In 1950 he was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Once released, he lived out the rest of his life in East Germany, where he was considered a hero.

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