Men and women selected for espionage-related activities represented a variety of backgrounds, including notables from the entertainment industry. Their popularity and the fact they necessarily had to visit a variety of performance venues while on tour often afforded these “celebrity spies” access to persons and areas of particular interest to war planners.

Josephine Baker (1906-1975)

  • Dancer and singer known as the “Black Venus,” “Black Pearl,” or “Creole Goddess.”
  • Undercover operative in the French Resistance.
  • Smuggled secret military reports into Portugal from France by writing these messages in invisible link on her sheet music.

Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker
Photo Credit: PBS

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000)

  • Movie star and inventor.
  • Co-produced a sophisticated, anti-jamming device used in radio-controlled torpedoes. 
  • Her innovative method of radio “frequency hopping” prevented enemy spies from intercepting US military messages.

Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr
Photo Credit: Hedy Lamarr Official Web site

Armed with the experience they gained during World War II, hundreds of women remained in the “shadow service” as the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States erupted under the threat of nuclear confrontation.  They were now truly intelligence professionals.







Copyright © 2007 National Women's History Museum.