Music

Elvis Presley and other stars who were also secret spies including Frank Sinatra

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Suspicious Minds singer Elvis Presley was told to spy on fellow music legend John Lennon, according to BBC presenter Bob Harris.

The former host of The Old Grey Whistle Test has revealed US President Richard Nixon recruited the King to monitor Lennon when he was living in New York in the 1970s.

Nixon is said to have "loathed" the ex-Beatle because of his anti-Vietnam war stance.

Speaking on the Rockenteurs podcast, Harris said the Beatle equally hated Presley and was shocked at what a ‘right-wing southern bigot’ he was.

“Nixon loathed John Lennon. He really did,” Harris said.

“It sounded like it was almost a figment of [Lennon’s] imagination when he was saying, ‘My phone was tapped, I get followed everywhere’ – but it was true; he really did.

“Nixon was out to get him, and that’s why John was stuck in New York, or stuck in the States: he knew, were he to come back to the UK, he’d never get back into America again. Not while Nixon was in the White House.

“Nixon was a great friend of Elvis’ and vice versa. Nixon had [instructed] Elvis to gather as much information about John Lennon as he possibly could.”

But Elvis isn’t the only unlikely star to have turned secret agent as JAMES MOORE reports…

Harry Houdini

The famed Hungarian-born escapologist was the perfect person to keep secrets.

And authors William Kalush and Larry Sloman have found evidence that, in return for giving his career a kickstart at auditions in the early 20th century, Houdini spied on Russian anarchists and counterfeiters for the US secret services plus Scotland Yard’s William Melville, the spymaster who inspired James Bond’s ‘M’.

Roald Dahl

The author of books, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was an RAF pilot during World War Two but later sent as an air attache to Washington DC where he worked undercover for a wing of MI6 called British Security Coordination.

Popular with the opposite sex, he seduced the wives of powerful men for information and passed intelligence to Prime Minister Winston Churchill to help smooth his relationship with US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Frank Sinatra

While Old Blue Eyes’ links to the mafia are well known, the singer’s daughter Tina has claimed Sinatra was a secret courier for US intelligence agency, the CIA: “Because he controlled his own air travel, (the CIA) would ask him and many others with that capacity to courier a body – a living person, you know, not a corpse, but a diplomat – or papers.”

Greta Garbo

The Swedish movie beauty is best known for the line: “I want to be alone.” But biographer David Bret says she was recruited by MI6 in the 1940s to spy on a millionaire pal of leading Nazi Hermann Goering and may have helped famous physicist Niels Bohr escape occupied Denmark.

She was even prepared to assassinate fan Adolf Hitler who kept inviting her to Germany: “I would have taken a gun out of my purse and shot him because I’m the only person who would not have been searched.”

Audrey Hepburn

The Belgian-born star of classic movies such as Charade grew up in Holland during World War Two and, as a teenager, ended up helping the Dutch Resistance movement by fundraising, delivering documents and even carrying message and food to downed RAF pilots.

Cary Grant

A 2005 book claimed during World War Two the British-born silver screen star was allegedly tapped by the FBI to spy on his second wife, Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, at one time suspected of funding the Nazis.

He’s also said to have snooped on Hollywood actors such as Errol Flynn.

Uri Geller

In 2013, a BBC documentary claimed the TV spoon bender was used as a psychic spy by the CIA who were investigating the idea of using mind control over the KGB. Official documents later revealed he really was involved in experiments by the agency in 1973.

He has also admitted working for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

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