Hollywood Double Agent: The True Tale of Boris Morros, Film Producer Turned Cold War Spy

Hollywood Double Agent: The True Tale of Boris Morros, Film Producer Turned Cold War Spy

by Jonathan Gill


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The Cold War and the Golden Age of Hollywood meet in this story of the remarkable career of Boris Morros, film producer and Russian double agent

Boris Morros was a major figure in the 1930s and ’40s. The head of music at Paramount, nominated for Academy Awards, he then went on to produce his own films with Laurel and Hardy, Fred Astaire, Henry Fonda, and others. But as J. Edgar Hoover would discover, these successes were a cover for one of the most incredible espionage tales in the history of the Cold War—Boris Morros also worked for Russian intelligence.

Morros’s assignments took him to the White House, the Vatican, and deep behind the iron curtain. The high-level intel he provided the KGB included military secrets and compromising information on prominent Americans: his friends. But in 1947, Morros flipped. At the height of the McCarthy era, he played a leading role in a deadly tale. Jonathan Gill’s Hollywood Double Agent is an extraordinary story about Russian spies at the heart of American culture and politics, and one man caught in the middle of the Cold War.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781419740091
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 04/07/2020
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 621,994
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Gill is a professor of American history and culture at the University of Amsterdam, formerly on the faculties of Columbia, CCNY, Fordham, and the Manhattan School of Music. He has written for the New York Times, the Village Voice, The Nation, the Guardian, and other publications. He divides his time between New York City and Amsterdam.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Endgame, January 20, 1957 ix

Part I

Chapter 1 Enter Boris, 1891-1914 3

Chapter 2 Broken Chords, 1914-22 11

Chapter 3 The Golden Land, 1922-25 21

Chapter 4 The Entertainer, 1925-33 33

Chapter 5 Cover Stories, 1933-34 41

Chapter 6 Paradise and Its Discontents, 1934-35 47

Chapter 7 Gateway to Hollywood, 1935-36 61

Chapter 8 A Double Life, 1936-38 69

Chapter 9 Declaring Independence, 1938-42 79

Chapter 10 Turnabout, 1942-43 95

Chapter 11 Chord and Discord, 1943-44 111

Chapter 12 Spook's Ball, 1944-45 123

Chapter 13 Getting to Carnegie Hall, 1945-47 137

Part II

Chapter 14 Double or Nothing, 1947 149

Chapter 15 Boris Loves Money! 1947-48 159

Chapter 16 Pontifex Maximus, 1948-49 171

Chapter 17 Inside the Temple, 1949 181

Chapter 18 Believing In Tears, 1949-50 195

Chapter 19 My Own FBI, 1950-51 209

Chapter 20 Atomic Bonds, 1951-52 225

Chapter 21 In Chains, 1952-54 241

Chapter 22 The Agent in Black, 1954-55 251

Chapter 23 A Cooked Goose, 1955-57 263

Chapter 24 Above the Fold, 1957-63 275

Notes on Sources 295

Index 315

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