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Spy List Pages

  1. Real Life Spies
  2. Spies Pre-WW2
  3. Spies WW2 to 1965
  4. Spies 1966 Present
  5. Top Spy Movies
  6. Top Spy Books



Some Well Known
Spy fiction Writers

Ten Famous (real life) Spies

Real Life Spies


                                                                        Born                            Died


1.)  Mata Hari                                                  1876                            1917

Marta Hari formerly Margaretha Zelle from Holland, was a notorious exotic dancer, who was accused, convicted and executed as a double agent spy during World War I.  Marta Hari was arrested for passing French information to the Germans, but she steadfastly proclaimed her love for France.

In the early-morning hours of October 15, Mata Hari was awakened and taken by car from her Paris prison cell to an army barracks on the city's outskirts where she was to meet her fate.


2.)  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg                 1915; 1918                1953

The Rosenbergs were convicted on March 29, 1951, of giving American atomic secrets to the Soviets during World War II, and were sentenced to death under Section 2 of the Espionage Act.
The couple were the only two American civilians to be executed for espionage-related activity during the Cold War.  Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed by the electric chair for espionage in Sing Sing Prison on June 19, 1953.


3.)  Aldrich Ames                                      1941

Aldrich Hazen Ames, a CIA case officer, was arrested by the FBI in Arlington, Virginia on espionage charges on February 24, 1994. At the time of his arrest, Ames was a 31-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who had been spying for the Russians since 1985. Arrested with him was his wife, Rosario Ames, who had aided and abetted his espionage activities.

Following guilty pleas by both Ames and his wife on April 28, 1994, Ames was sentenced to incarceration for life without the possibility of parole. Rosario Ames was sentenced on October 20, 1994 to 63 months in prison.


4.)  Giacomo Casanova –                1725                           1798

Soldier, spy, diplomat, writer, adventurer, chiefly remembered from his autobiography, which has established his reputation as the most famous erotic hero. His countless projects, employments, and initiatives took him through the courts of Europe - in Paris he was employed to do some espionage work by Louis XV and from London he tried to sell the secret of a cotton red dye to his own country.


5.)  Klaus Fuchs                                     1911                            1988

Klaus Fuchs was a British physicist and Communist spy.  In 1933 he fled Germany for England, where he completed his education. Interned (1940–41) in Canada as an enemy alien, he made no attempt to conceal his Communist sympathies and was soon released, becoming a naturalized British citizen. In 1943, he began work on the development of the atomic bomb project in the United States; during this period, he started transmitting information to the Soviet Union. He later (1946) became head of the theoretical physics division of the atomic research center at Harwell and continued his espionage activities, which were suspected only because of information gleaned by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation from confessed Communist agents in the United States. Arrested in Britain in 1950, he pleaded guilty and was imprisoned. Fuchs was released in 1959.


6.)  Major John Andre                1750                            1780

Major John Andre's trial for espionage sent shock waves through the American colonies by revealing the depth of a treason plot by General Benedict Arnold to hand over the American stronghold at West Point to the British. Had Andre not been captured and the conspiracy foiled, the American Revolution might well have been crushed.

On October 2, 1780, Major John Andre, a British officer, was hanged for espionage. His executioners would have preferred to hang the man with whom Andre consorted: the traitor, General Benedict Arnold.


7.)  Nathan Hale                            1755                            1766

 Nathan Hale was a young schoolteacher when the Revolution broke out.  He was commissioned an officer in the Connecticut militia, served in the siege of Boston, then went to take part in operations in New York. He volunteered for the dangerous mission of getting information about the British forces on Long Island, where he went in the natural disguise of a schoolmaster. He was discovered, captured, and hanged without trial. He is remembered especially for the statement he is said to have uttered on the gallows, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. “


8.)  Belle Boyd                           1844                            1900

Belle Boyd, while living in Martinsburg, Virginia, passed information on Union army activities in the Shenandoah area to General T. J. Jackson (Stonewall Jackson). She was captured and imprisoned -- and released. She then went to England, followed by a Union officer, Capt. Samuel Hardinge, who had guarded her after an earlier capture. She married him, and then in 1866 when he died, leaving her with a small daughter to support, she became an actress.


9.)  The Cambridge Five                20th Century                      20th Century

The Cambridge Five was a group of former students at Cambridge University who became spies for the Soviet Union during WWII and throughout the 1950s. The leader of the group, Kim Philby, is thought to be one of the most successful double agents in history. Other members include Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross. Maclean, Burgess and Philby defected to the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Blunt and Cairncross both confessed to spying, but Cairncross denied being the fifth member of the Cambridge Five.


10.)  Richard Sorge                          1895                            1944

Richard Sorge pulled off a seemingly impossible espionage mission in Tokyo, before and during World War II. He ran a network of Japanese and Europeans under the noses of Japan's dreaded secret police.  From 1933 until he was caught in late 1941, he transmitted priceless secrets to Red Army intelligence, keeping the Russians informed about Japanese and German intentions.

Sorge's biggest coup was to inform Stalin of the German attack on Russia in 1941, weeks before it occurred -- with details of troop deployments, movement of armaments and the actual date of the attack. Abandoned to his fate by Stalin, Sorge became the first European sentenced to death by a Japanese court. After a prolonged ordeal he was executed in Sugamo prison in 1944.




Spies, spying, and espionage will always have a devoted following and will probably intrigue us forever.

Ellis Goodman


Ellis M. Goodman was born in England and moved to the United States in 1982. He was educated at Brighton College Sussex, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and is the former Chairman and CEO of a major US Beverage Alcohol producer, importer and distributor. Ellis M. Goodman is the author of a number of magazine articles on the US Beverage Alcohol Industry, and the business book, Corona: The Inside Story of America's #1 Imported Beer.He serves on a number of civil, educational, and cultural boards in Chicago; and, in 1996, was invested as a Commander of the British Empire by HM Majesty Queen Elizabeth for services to British exports. He and his wife, Gillian, live in Glencoe, Illinois.

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