In an era when 80% of big cinema releases are apparently remakes, where is the Dusko Popov movie? Who?
A triple Cancerian (Sun, Venus + Neptune conjunct) and double agent, he ostensibly spied for the Nazi regime but was actually employed by British MI6. Popov was instrumental in Operation Fortitude, an elaborate ruse that helped to secure an Allied nations victory.
To the Germans, he played the part of ‘wealthy playboy womanizer turned informant’ to the hilt. He was rich – the scion of a banking family – and he was avidly interested in women.
He’d plausibly pop up to visit a Nazi official to ask if the “war effort” would interfere in his attempts to import a Rolls Royce, seemingly oblivious to the greater drama swirling around. German files show they saw him as a useful idiot – they also expressed astonishment that women liked him so much, though they did note Popov’s “olive skin and heavy-lidded green eyes.”
Aside from the Cancerian goo-goo appeal, he had a Moon in Taurus and Mercury + Mars in Leo opposite a Lilith-Uranus conjunction. He had a taste for unusual women and while senior intelligence officers initially expressed concern about his flamboyant lifestyle, it became brilliant cover.
If I were a film director, I’d zoom in on Popov’s six week stay at Portugal’s Casino Estoril. It was the Summer of 1941: He’d been given a briefcase of cash – a million dollars in today’s money – with which to recruit German spies in New York. Instead, he was at the iconic beachside casino to hand the briefcase and various intel to the Americans.
Ian Fleming, a British intelligence officer who would later go on to write the James Bond novels, was there to observe the misson but allegedly not make actual contact with their double agent.
The place was crawling with spies, Mercury was Retrograde over Popov’s Sun-Venus and he was having a raging romance with Simone Simon, best known as the star of the original B-list cult-horror flick Cat People.
Allegedly, he was also trying to warn the FBI that the Germans had intel of an impending attack on Pearl Harbor, but the director – J Edgar Hoover – loathed him and disregarded the information. None of this was subtle: Popov turned 29 and put all the Nazi spy money – intended for the Americans – on the Baccarat table, a bet that was thankfully refused by the casino. Was it a stunt to divert attention? A pre-Saturn-Return wig-out?
There is far more to his story than this tiny vignette, of course. Despite his risky missions, Popov had a relatively long life and untold adventures, many of them still secret. His superiors at MI5 and MI6 admired his cool courage, saying he had ‘ice in his veins’ but I also see the Sun-Venus-Neptune – he was fluid, elusive, glamorous and, in his own fashion, incredibly compassionate.