'Ashley Wilkes' Was a Spy
Howard's plane shot down after delivering message to Franco
By Elizabeth Wolff,  Newser User
Posted Oct 6, 2008 11:31 AM CDT
Leslie Howard in Gone with the Wind in 1939.
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(Newser) – Best remembered as one of Scarlett O'Hara’s love interests in Gone with the Wind, actor Leslie Howard was also a British secret agent who died returning from a clandestine war mission on behalf of Winston Churchill, the Guardian reports. The Luftwaffe shot down Howard's plane in 1943 after the actor delivered a secret message to Francisco Franco.

"Thanks to him, at least in theory, Spain was persuaded to stay out of the war," says the author of a new book on the subject.