Roald Dahl's Ladykilling Spy Years

Roald Dahl spy

Children's author Dahl was a real-life James Bond, says a new book.

Beloved British author Roald Dahl slept with half the East Coast while working as a spy in the U.S. during World War II, a new biography says. According to Donald Sturrock's Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl, the Welsh-born author was a real-life James Bond. After his RAF plane crash-landed in North Africa in 1940, Dahl joined a covert-service organization called British Security Coordination and began swashbuckling his way through East Coast society.

Dahl's friend Antoinette Haskell says the author "slept with everybody on the East and West coasts that had more than $50,000 a year," and that "He was very arrogant with his women, but he got away with it. The uniform didn't hurt one bit—and he was an ace [pilot]." Sturrock lists among Dahl's conquests socialite and owner of the Hope Diamond Evalyn Walsh McLean, playwright and congresswoman Clare Booth Luce, and Standard Oil heiress Millicent Rogers.

Sturrock's book also details Dahl's heartbreak over the death of his oldest daughter, Olivia, at the age of seven, from measles, and his marriages, first to actress Patricia Neal, who passed away yesterday at the age of 84, and then to Felicity Crosland, a friend of Neal's with whom he had an affair in the early '80s. 15 Steps To Surviving An Affair

A number of Dahl's family and friends spoke with Sturrock for the book, which comes out next month and is currently being excerpted in the UK paper The Telegraph. According to his youngest daughter, Lucy, Dahl's one failing as a spy was that he was somewhat less than discreet. "Dad never could keep his mouth shut," Lucy told Sturrock. "He gossiped like a girl." No word on how the BFG feels about all this.

Via The Daily Mail. Image courtesy of Puffin Books.