'Pretty Woman' Producer Admits He Was an Israeli Spy

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Arnon Milchan, an Israeli-born businessman-turned-filmmaker responsible for the greatest prostitution love story of our time , told prime-time Israeli television on Monday that he was a spy for his country who, among other things, helped boost Israel's fledgling nuclear program. 

"I did it for my country and I'm proud of it," Milchan, 68, told Uvdaan Israeli investigative program. "When I came to Hollywood I detached myself completely from my physical activities to dedicate myself to what I really wanted — filmmaking," he added. Milchan, who produced classic '80s and '90s films like Pretty Woman, Fight Club and L.A. Confidential, is currently the chairman at New Regency Productions.

Part of Milchan's duties as a operative was to obtain information to support Israel's defense programs and negotiate arms deals. Shimon Peres, Israel's current president, recruited Milchan to the Bureau of Scientific Relations in the 1960s, The Guardian reports. "The bureau, which worked to obtain scientific and technical information for secret defence programmes, closed down in 1987," the paper adds. One of his feats, he says, was parlaying deals to help support the apartheid regime in South Africa so that it could provide Israel with uranium. 

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And Milchan, being the entertainer that he is, made it sound kinda fun. "Do you know what it's like to be a 20-something-year-old kid [and] his country lets him be James Bond? Wow! The action! That was exciting," he said.

Milchan also did some acting himself. It turns out Hollywood isn't really a fan of nuclear espionage and arms dealers. But apparently it only takes half an hour to convince big wigs otherwise. "Hollywood, they don't like working with an arms dealer, ideologically... with someone who lives off selling machine guns and killing. Instead of someone talking to me about a script, I had to spend half an hour explaining that I'm not an arms dealer," Milchan said. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.