(April 1, 1901-July 9, 1961)
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Author and editor at Time magazine (1939-48)
Appeared before the House Unamerican Activites Committee to accuse Alger Hiss of being a Soviet spy (1948)
Wrote the autobiography 'Witness' (1952)
Why he might be annoying
As a teen, he lived with a New Orleans prostitute called 'One-Eyed Annie.'
He dropped out of Columbia after a play he wrote for a literary magazine was denounced as blasphemous by other students.
He joined the Communist party (1925).
He spied for the Soviet Union.
His first attempts to warn the FBI about Soviet spying in the US were ignored because he refused to provide names.
His accusations against Hiss remained controversial for decades.
A defense psychiatrist at Hiss' perjury trial called Chambers 'a psychopathic personality' and 'a pathological liar.'
He had bad teeth.
Why he might not be annoying
He broke with the Communists after the Stalinist purges and the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact.
After Hiss denied ever even meeting Chambers, both were questioned separately by HUAC about the time they were allegedly committing espionage together.
Chambers provided so much detail (such as bird-watcher Hiss' excitement at spotting a prothonotary warbler) that it was clear they had known each other.
A review of deciphered Soviet cables by a bipartisan Senate committee concluded that Hiss was indeed guilty (1997).
He posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan for his contribution to 'the century's epic struggle between freedom and totalitarianism.'
He translated 'Bambi' from the original German into English (1924).
Credit: C. Fishel
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