Why you should care
Sometimes the real story is taking place behind the scenes.
Nobody truly interesting is ever entirely as they seem. Everyone has secrets — but some people have secret identities, and we’re not talking about Batman. The people in this series on “Secret Lives” are spies, killers, national heroes and film footnotes, a motley crew that has one thing in common: They all lived a completely different life behind the scenes.
A national hero, the groundbreaking pilot was also known as a family man. Turned out, he was a multiple-family man: He had several children by multiple women across the Atlantic, a fact unknown to the world until his kids came forward after their mother’s death.
This Vietnamese journalist was the first Vietnamese person hired by Time magazine to cover the Vietnam War. He was also a pioneer in a key spy program run by the Vietnamese government, which sent him to train as a journalist and used him to direct American press coverage — and thus American public sentiment — over the war.
Leonardo Passafaro, aka Lenny “Bull” Montana, was a security guard for a mobster on the set of The Godfather when he found his true calling: acting. One actor down due to unfortunate circumstance, Montana was called in to play a mobster … and eventually left his life of crime for the silver screen.
Amy Archer-Gilligan was a pioneer in the health care industry, opening what’s thought to be one of America’s first nursing homes around the turn of the century. She was also a killer, suspected of dozens of murders, largely by poisoning. She lives on though in a Cary Grant movie that fictionalized the story as a black comedy.
More Secret Lives
Tips for Leading a Secret Double Life: Our guide to what would-be double lifers are risking.
Leading a Double Life as a Member of the Mob: Joe Pistone, aka Don Brasco, risked his life to go undercover.
Russia’s Cross-Dressing War Hero: Aleksandr Sokolov proved himself on the battlefield in the early 19th century … while hiding the fact that he was born a woman.
Was This Blond Bombshell the CIA’s Secret Weapon? Candy Jones was a pinup girl. But she also claimed to have taken LSD as part of secret CIA experiments.