There’s many things associated with the words Federal Bureau of Investigations or FBI. Many people think of stealthy assassinations, James Bond type missions, and secret investigations. The FBI is a domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, but it also has a significant influence over the rest of the world, and has 60 offices in the US embassies and consulates. A person is usually under investigation by the FBI for very dire reasons, usually having to do with a threat to national security. However, it’s not just criminals with FBI files. Since the FBI was formed in 1908, they have collected information about actors, musicians, and other people in the public arena, and must of this information is now available to the public at the FBI’s Records Vault online. This said “Vault” was executed in 2011, and it is an FBI reading room with up to 6,700 documents that offer details of investigations on public personas. Many of these people would be considered “non-threatening”, but were still being monitored for very interesting reasons. Here are the celebrities who racked up a pretty hefty file with the FBI.
In 1922, TIME described Keller as a “blind-deaf mute who has become a highly educated and intelligent young woman.” She was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, and she had become ill with a fever at 19 months old, resulting in vision and hearing loss. Helen Keller was famous for being the first deaf and blind person to receive a Bachelor’s degree. She’s also immortalized for the way she broke the stigmatism and stereotype about people with these kinds of disabilities, and had become a well-known advocate. It’s hard to believe that she might have an FBI file, but indeed she does. Helen Keller had been a socialist who opposed president Wilson at the time. She had been a supporter of birth control and she as actually a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, which made her a rebel for the times. This obviously caught the attention of the FBI, although nothing ended up coming out of their investigation.
Whitney Houston was an A-list musician, meaning her turbulent history with drugs, money and relationships had been a very public affair. In fact, her FBI file reads much like a bedtime story in a way. The FBI report on Houston details an investigation into threatening letters, which included a batch of 79 love letters written by a “superfine” to Houston and an alleged $250,000 extortion attempt by a friend of hers. They were threatening to expose details about her relationship with Bobbi Brown, if they were not given the money. The singer told the FBI agents that she considered the woman who wrote the letters “a friend” and that she, “did discuss personal things” with her, and that Houston’s father sent the person a confidentiality agreement along with a sum of money. The case was closed soon after.
There’s many conspiracy theories that circulate around the CEO of Apple. Many people wonder, what did Steve Jobs really have on that iPhone? Well, you might be surprised to learn that the FBI wasn’t interested in his technology whatsoever. What they were interested in, was that he was considered for an appointment on president George H.W. Bush’s Export Council, which required an extensive background check. According to this file, “several individuals questioned Jobs’ honesty, stating will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals.” The report had details about Jobs experimentation with LSD in his teens, calling his use “a positive life changing experience.”
Anna Nicole Smith
Famous model and reality television star was the subject of a federal investigation that probably sounds like the base for an extremely corny movie about scandal and betrayal. The FBI investigated whether Anna Nicole Smith had been involved in the plot to kill her late husband’s son between the years of 2000 and 2001. The alleged target was E.Pierce Marshall, who had been at the center of a legal fight to keep Smith from collecting his father’s oil wealth, which was valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. The FBI documents gave no evidence of Smith’s involvement in such a plot, and there was also no indication how authorities became aware of any alleged scheme. On July 3rd, 2000, when she had been told why she was being questioned the model “began crying and denied ever making such plans,” the report said. An FBI agent wrote: “Smith adamantly denied ever contemplating such a crime.” Prosecutors then agreed the case could not go forward.
The West Coast rapper, who died back in 1996, has an extensive FBI file, but it is mostly concerned with the things that were done to him, instead of the things he had done. The file is a lengthy 122-page file, and it makes it clear that Shakur and Eric “Eazy E” Wright were threatened and extorted by a group considered a domestic terrorist organization by federal authorities. FBI agents described an extortion scheme that saw them receiving death threats from an anonymous telephone caller, at which point the Jewish Defense League, described as “a violent right-wing terrorist group”- would offer protection to him for money.
It’s no secret that John was a big believer in anti-war and was a leftist. Throughout most of the 1970s, Nixon’s administration and the FBI attempted to revoke Lennon’s U.S. visa, so that he could be deported. Nixon believed that John Lennon’s influence on the young people could debilitate his chances at re-election. Historian Jon Wiener says, “The ’72 election was going to be the first in which 18-year olds had the right to vote. Before that you had to be 21. Everybody knew that young people were the strongest anti-war constituency, so the question was, for Lennon, how could he use his power as a celebrity to get young people into the political process?” However, Nixon won the re-election regardless, and he continued to serve until the Watergate investigation forced him to resign in August 1974, which ended the fight against Lennon. In October 1975, the New York State Supreme Court overturned the deportation order. Judge Irving Kaufman declared, “The courts will not condone selective deportation based upon secret political grounds. Lennon’s four-year battle to remain in our country is testimony to his faith in this American dream”
We know Marilyn Monroe as the actress, and we know her as Marilyn Monroe, the sex symbol, however previously redacted FBI files now reveal a different side to her; Marilyn Monroe, suspected communist. Yes, the beautiful icon during the late 50s and early 60s was under the unwavering eye of J. Edgar Hoover’s organization for her leftist tendencies. So was her husband, playwright and author Arther Miller. Informants reported on the actress’ late-in-life “mutual infatuation” with the self-exiled leftist Frederick Vanderbilt Field, whom she associated with while in Mexico in 1962 for a furniture shopping trip.There’s one page that states information from an anonymous tip that claimed that miller was a “CP” member and the group’s “cultural front man.” The fact that Miller and Monroe were married in a religious ceremony was described as “cover up” and Monroe had “drifted into the Communist orbit.” Her file also included some theories about her 1962 death. An excerpt from Normal Mailer’s biography of Monroe, the author implicates the FBI and CIA, which they definitely weren’t too thrilled about.
During the Cold War, accusations began flying that Communists had infiltrated American society on a variety of levels. Many believed that Communists had infiltrated American schools, government, and especially American movies. Chaplin’s file chronicles a series of letters sent to the FBI from anonymous sources linking Chaplin with several prominent figures within the Communist party. The letters accused Chaplin of donating $1,000 to the Communist Party, and holding a fundraiser in his studio for William Z. Foster, who was the chairman of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA. They were convinced enough that he was a threat in fact, that they enlisted their British equivalent, M15, to spy on him. After a trip to London in 1952, the U.S. Attorny General prevented Chaplin’s re-entry into the U.S, which ended up being the last straw. Chaplin moved with his wife to Switzerland, where he died 25 years later.
Michael Jackson’s files were released after his death, which gave an insight into the extremely turbulent life and unparalleled talent. The files had to do with his child molestation trials in 1993 and 2004. The file itself is 333 pages long, and after his death Journalists searched relentlessly through the pages for any new insight into Jackson’s life and the investigations of him. Los Angeles police, who were investigating child molestation allegations against Jackson, called the FBI’s Los Angeles office in September 1993, to suggest the agency look into a “possible federal violation against Jackson concerning transportation of a minor across state lines for immoral purposes (Mann Act),” one document said. Despite the FBI monitoring Jackson for more than a decade, the files didn’t contain any major revelations about his private life, and so the case was never brought up against him federally.
Yeah, who doesn’t love Lucy? Well, apparently the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She was investigated by the FBI due to the fact that records showed that when she registered to vote in 1936, she listed her party affiliation as a “Communist,” which is an obvious way to land you on their list of “look-intos.” Ball claims that she did this on her voting registry to make her socialist grandfather happy, and that she had never actually been an active member of the party. Although the committee forgave her, J.Edgar Hoover never really forgot. The FBI director continued to collect evidence about Ball, even though the FBI claims that it never officially investigated her, despite a 156-page file on her.
As lead singer of the Grateful Dead, sure Garcia partied like a rock star, which was bound to raise a few hairs on the necks of some FBI agents. It was during this time that the Bureau continued to go after long-haired hippies suspected of corrupting innocent youth. However, they never came up with any substantial proof on Garcia, despite that fact that fans consumed copious amounts of drugs at Grateful Dead show. Alas, the investigation never went any further.
The creator of the Happiest place On Earth in fact had a very odd and complex relationship with the FBI, seeing as he has a 570 page file. It seems Walt Disney had meetings with the FBI to try and incorporate them into his vision. He wanted to incorporate the FBI’s Golf War tactics involving: an aggressive public relations campaign, and a sweeping program of invasive and illegal surveillance into children’s shows and amusement park rides. However before all that, Walt Disney was a secret informant to the FBI, and reported to the Bureau the names of the people in Hollywood he believed to have been associated with communism. In return for Disney’s information, J.Edgar Hoover allowed Disney to film in FBI headquarters in Washington DC.
After an extremely successful baseball career, he was the first black player in Major League Baseball and he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. After his election, Robinson became involved in politics, supporting presidential bids by Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, and Hubert Humphrey. Robinson’s file begins in 1966, chronicling his involvement in the Civil Rights movement, and connection with the Harlem opening of a center for the International Workers Order, which was apparently a supposed Communist organization.
He was a heartthrob during Hollywood’s Golden Age, achieving stardom in films such as “All That Heaven Knows, Giant, Pillow Talk” and one of the many films he appeared in as the love interest of Doris Day. However, although he was known for his masculinity and virility, it was a somewhat open secret in the Hollywood circuit that Hudson was a homosexual, something that was considered taboo during those times, especially for a lead actor appearing with numerous female love interests. Since it was such a big scandal during this time, the FBI drew up a report about his activities through a 34-page file that was released, (however most of the comments were blacked out). The report indicated that he was having an affair with a man, one page of the file saying, “In view of the information that Hudson has homosexual tendencies, interviews will be conducted by two mature, experienced Special Agents.”
Louis Armstrong was one of the most influential figures in the jazz genre with a career spanning five decades and different eras of jazz. Louis Armstrong was a trumpeter, composer, and singer, with his signature gravelly voice being one of the main traits that made him famous. Armstrong loved to share his music with the world, as he and his band were constantly touring around the United States, Europe, Africa, Australia, and even the Soviet Union. Although he’s on this list as a celebrity with an FBI file, he was never the subject of any controversy or suspicious activities. Armstrong just happened to be in a situation that came to involve the FBI. In November 1970, jewelry that was estimated to be valued $30,000 was stolen from Century Plaza in Los Angeles and Armstrong’s name was reference in connection to the activities. He was never actually under formal investigation.