Famous 20th Century Spies

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Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Spies

 1 
Mata Hari
(Exotic dancer & Spy)

Mata Hari
4
Birthdate: August 7, 1876
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Died: October 15, 1917
Mata Hari was a Dutch courtesan and exotic dancer, charged with spying for Germany during World War I. She was executed by a firing squad in France, and her head was preserved in a museum, but later went missing. The “femme fatale” has been immortalized in many films and books.

 2 
Ian Fleming
(Author of James Bond Series)

Ian Fleming
8
Birthdate: May 28, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mayfair, London
Died: August 12, 1964

Ian Fleming was a British writer, naval intelligence officer, and journalist. Fleming is credited with creating one of the most popular characters of all time, James Bond. His James Bond series of novels have sold more than 100 million copies, making them one of the best-selling fictional book series in history. Jamaica’s Ian Fleming International Airport is named after him.

 3 

Eli Cohen
4
Birthdate: December 26, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alexandria, Egypt
Died: May 18, 1965
Israeli spy Eli Cohen is remembered for his espionage activities from 1961 to 1965 in Syria, where he served as the chief advisor to the defense minister. He was eventually convicted and publicly hanged. His story later inspired the Netflix miniseries The Spy and the TV film The Impossible Spy.
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 4 
Hiroo Onoda
(Japanese Army intelligence officer)

Hiroo Onoda
4
Birthdate: March 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kainan, Wakayama, Japan
Died: January 16, 2014
Hiroo Onoda was a Japanese intelligence officer who had served in World War II and was the penultimate Japanese soldier to surrender. He hid in the Philippines for 29 years, unable to figure out the war had ended, until he was officially relieved from duty. He later wrote an autobiography.

Noor Inayat Khan
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: September 13, 1944

Noor Inayat Khan was a British spy who served in a secret British World War II organization called Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the war. She was also the first female radio operator to be sent into occupied France from the UK to aid the French Resistance. She was subsequently caught and executed at a Nazi concentration camp.

Robert Hanssen
4
Birthdate: April 18, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Robert Hanssen is a former FBI agent who was convicted of spying against the U.S., for the Russian intelligence agencies. Hanssen reportedly sold countless classified documents containing U.S. nuclear and military strategies. He pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty. He eventually received 15 life sentences, without parole.

 7 

Ethel Rosenberg
4
Birthdate: September 28, 1915
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: June 19, 1953
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 8 
Aldrich Ames
(Former CIA Officer & Agent for the Soviet Union & Russia)

Aldrich Ames
3
Birthdate: May 26, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: River Falls, Wisconsin

Aldrich Ames is a former CIA officer who later became a KGB double agent. He was convicted of spying and is currently serving a life sentence. He allegedly worked as a Soviet spy and revealed classified CIA data. He inspired the 1998 film Aldrich Ames: Traitor Within.

 9 
Kim Philby
(Intelligence Agent)

Kim Philby
4
Birthdate: January 1, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ambala, Punjab, British India
Died: May 11, 1988

British intelligence officer Kim Philby was also a Soviet double agent. He was part of the spy group known as the Cambridge Five and leaked classified information to the Soviet Union during World War II and the Cold War. He later defected to Moscow and spent his final years there.

 10 
Klaus Fuchs
(Theoretical Physicist and Atomic Spy)

Klaus Fuchs
3
Birthdate: December 29, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rüsselsheim, German Empire
Died: January 28, 1988

German theoretical physicist Klaus Fuchs worked on many significant theoretical calculations relating to the first nuclear weapons. He was also an atomic spy who provided information about nuclear weapons production to the Soviet Union during World War II. He was convicted and jailed for nine years, following which he resumed his career as a physicist.

 11 
Virginia Hall
(Espionage agent)

Virginia Hall
3
Birthdate: April 6, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: July 8, 1982
Virginia Hall worked as a spy, with the U.K. and the U.S., in France during World War II, under the alias Marie and Diane. Her main objective was to conduct espionage for the Allies, against the Nazi regime and the Axis powers. After the war ended, she joined the CIA.

 12 
Oleg Gordievsky
(Secret Double Agent)

Oleg Gordievsky
3
Birthdate: October 10, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Former Soviet security agent Oleg Gordievsky’s 11-year stint as a secret agent with the British intelligence service MI6 resulted in him being labeled a traitor and sentenced to death by Russia. The author of KGB: The Inside Story now lives alone, in a high-security zone in a British suburb.

 13 
E. Howard Hunt
(Author, Intelligence officer)

E. Howard Hunt
3
Birthdate: October 9, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hamburg, New York, United States
Died: January 23, 2007

 14 
Violette Szabo
(Former Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent during the Second World War)

Violette Szabo
3
Birthdate: June 26, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 5, 1945

 15 
Ashraf Marwan
(Egyptian billionaire who worked as a spy for the Israeli Mossad and deceived Israel in 1973 war.)

Ashraf Marwan
1
Birthdate: February 2, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
Died: June 27, 2007

Ashraf Marwan was an Egyptian billionaire businessman and diplomat. He is best remembered for his work as a spy for Mossad, Israel's national intelligence agency. In 2002, it was revealed that Ashraf Marwan had been working for Egyptian Intelligence and that he may have misled Mossad with wrong information in the years leading up to the Yom Kippur War.

 16 
Krystyna Skarbek
(Intelligence agent)

Krystyna Skarbek
2
Birthdate: May 1, 1908
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trzepnica, Poland
Died: June 15, 1952

 17 
Sidney Gottlieb
(American Chemist and Spymaster Who Headed Project Mkultra)

Sidney Gottlieb
3
Birthdate: August 3, 1918
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: March 7, 1999

Sidney Gottlieb was an American spymaster and chemist who played a major role in the CIA's mind-control program and assassination attempts during the 1950s and 1960s; the illegal human experimentation program which he headed was called Project MKUltra.

 18 
Donald Maclean
(Diplomat)

Donald Maclean
3
Birthdate: May 25, 1913
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: March 6, 1983

While he was a member of the British Foreign Office, diplomat Donald Maclean was also simultaneously spying for the Soviet Union as part of the Cambridge Five, supplying them confidential information. He eventually vanished from England and reappeared as a Communist in the Soviet Union, years later.

 19 
John Cairncross
(British civil servant)

John Cairncross
3
Birthdate: July 25, 1913
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
Died: October 8, 1995

 20 
Richard Sorge
(Journalist, Intelligence Officer)

Richard Sorge
3
Birthdate: October 4, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan
Died: November 7, 1944

Richard Sorge was a German journalist and Soviet military intelligence officer. He was active before and during the Second World War. He worked undercover in both Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan under the codename, "Ramsay." He was arrested, tortured, and hanged in 1944. In 1964, he was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

 21 
Theodore Hall
(Physicist)

Theodore Hall
4
Birthdate: October 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Died: November 1, 1999

 22 
Odette Hallowes
(Intelligence agent)

Odette Hallowes
2
Birthdate: April 28, 1912
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Amiens, France
Died: March 13, 1995

 23 
Markus Wolf
(Intelligence officer)

Markus Wolf
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hechingen, Germany
Died: November 9, 2006

 24 

David Greenglass
2
Birthdate: March 2, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died: July 1, 2014

 25 
William Stephenson
(Fighter pilot, businessman and spymaster who served as the senior representative of the British Security Coordination (BSC) for the western allies during World War II)

William Stephenson
3
Birthdate: January 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: North Point Douglas, Winnipeg, Canada
Died: January 31, 1989

 26 
Duško Popov
(Double agent)

Duško Popov
2
Birthdate: July 10, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Titel, Serbia
Died: August 18, 1981

 27 
Konon Molody
(Soviet spy)

Konon Molody
2
Birthdate: January 17, 1922
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cobalt, Canada
Died: September 9, 1970

 28 
Edwin P. Wilson
(Businessman)

Edwin P. Wilson
2
Birthdate: May 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nampa, Idaho, United States
Died: September 10, 2012

 29 

Ursula Kuczynski
2
Birthdate: May 15, 1907
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany
Died: July 7, 2000

 30 
Tamara Bunke
(Communist revolutionary East German/Cuban spy Journalist)

Tamara Bunke
1
Birthdate: November 19, 1937
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: August 31, 1967

 31 
Theodore Schurch
(Soldier, Spy)

Theodore Schurch
3
Birthdate: May 5, 1918
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England
Died: January 4, 1946

 32 
Peter Wright
(Intelligence officer)

Peter Wright
2
Birthdate: August 9, 1916
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chesterfield, England
Died: April 27, 1995

 33 
Miles Copeland, Jr.
(Musician, businessman, CIA founder)

Miles Copeland, Jr.
2
Birthdate: July 16, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Died: January 14, 1991

 34 

John Vassall
2
Birthdate: September 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: England, United Kingdom
Died: November 18, 1996

 35 

John Gardner
2
Birthdate: November 20, 1926
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Northumberland, England
Died: August 3, 2007

 36 
George Koval
(U.S. Born Soviet Spy)

George Koval
1
Birthdate: December 25, 1913
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sioux City, Iowa, United States
Died: January 31, 2006

American chemical engineer George Koval was one of the most significant Soviet spies of the 20th century. Born to Belarusian immigrants in Iowa, Koval later moved to Russia with his family. Codenamed Delmar, he later worked in the U.S. atomic laboratories and supplied classified information to Russia.

 37 

Sasha Filippov
1
Birthdate: June 26, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Volgograd, Russia
Died: December 23, 1942

 38 
Harro Schulze-Boysen
(Military officer, Spy)

Harro Schulze-Boysen
1
Birthdate: September 2, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kiel, Germany
Died: December 22, 1942

Madeleine Damerment
1
Birthdate: November 11, 1917
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lille, France
Died: September 13, 1944

 40 

Andree Borrel
3
Birthdate: November 18, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bécon-les-Bruyères, France
Died: July 6, 1944

 41 
Yuri Shvets
(Former Major in the KGB between 1980 and 1990)

Yuri Shvets
0
Birthdate: May 16, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ukraine

 42 
Jovica Stanišić
(Head of the State Security Service (SDB) within the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia from 1992 until 1998)

Jovica Stanišić
0
Birthdate: July 30, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ratkovo, Serbia

 43 

Heba Selim
0
Birthdate: 1947 AD
Birthplace: Egypt
Died: 1974 AD

Duncan Scott-Ford
0
Birthdate: September 4, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Plymouth, Devon, England
Died: November 3, 1942

 45 

Eileen Nearne
0
Birthdate: March 15, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 2, 2010

 46 
Pearl Cornioley
(British wartime agent)

Pearl Cornioley
1
Birthdate: June 24, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 24, 2008

 47 
Hotsumi Ozaki
(Journalist, Spy)

Hotsumi Ozaki
0
Birthdate: April 29, 1901
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Shirakawa, Gifu, Japan
Died: November 7, 1944

 48 
Alan Nunn May
(Physicist)

Alan Nunn May
3
Birthdate: May 2, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Birmingham, England
Died: January 12, 2003

British physicist Alan Nunn May went down in history as a traitor who betrayed Britain and the U.S. by passing on confidential information about the Manhattan Project, or the development of the atom bomb, to the Soviet Union, as a spy. Sentenced to 10 years of hard labor, he served 6.

Benita von Falkenhayn
1
Birthdate: August 14, 1900
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: February 18, 1935

 50 
Ruzi Nazar
(Former CIA against the Soviet Union)

Ruzi Nazar
1
Birthdate: January 1, 1917
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Margilan, Uzbekistan
Died: April 30, 2015