Looking like a famous actor or musician means you can probably make a decent living doing impressions, making special appearances or doing porn. Looking like a world leader, though, means you might end up helping win a war, being hunted by foreign governments or ... doing porn.
We're not kidding. All of that happened to the following people, including the porn, whether they liked it or not ...
#5. Fake British Officer Helps Win the Battle of Normandy
Here's how one random dude who happened to look like a British military commander wound up in one of the most epic Nazi-fooling plans ever created.
Gen. Bernard Montgomery was the badass British Army officer responsible for planning the D-Day invasion of Normandy, and thus the intro for every World War II video game ever made. His middle name was literally "Law." On the other hand, M.E. Clifton James (middle name literally "Clifton") was an Australian actor with a slight drinking problem ... who happened to look exactly like Montgomery. British intelligence noticed this, and got an idea.
Left: Gen. Montgomery. Right: His drunken Aussie doppelganger.
It all began when James volunteered for the British Army as an entertainer -- the army was so impressed by his talents that they assigned him to the Pay Corps instead (the guys in charge of paying soldiers). The Aussie, however, was eager to contribute his acting abilities to the war effort, so he signed up for the Pay Corps Drama and Variety Group. It was there that he began performing his impression of Montgomery, which was apparently the highlight of the show.
James' resemblance to Montgomery got him the attention of MI5, who saw in him the perfect opportunity to troll some Nazis. James was flown to London and given the mission to pass himself off as Montgomery in other countries to make the Germans think the Allied invasion would be coming from Southern France, not Normandy. In order to immerse himself in the role, James followed Montgomery for a while, stopped smoking and drinking (the general was abstinent) and even started using a prosthetic finger, since Montgomery had lost a finger on his right hand in World War I.
No, we don't know if it was the middle one. But we think it's pretty safe to just assume that.
With his training complete, James was sent to Gibraltar in Winston Churchill's private plane and began attending parties as Montgomery, running off his mouth about made-up plans in the general proximity of known Nazi spies.
In his book I Was Monty's Double, James claimed that the German high command even planned to assassinate him at one point, believing he was Montgomery, but Hitler himself vetoed the plan until they could learn what he was up to. James then traveled to North Africa, where his mission was to walk around with a real general and point across the Mediterranean while whispering to each other and giggling.
The Nazi spies completely bought the ruse, causing their superiors to shift the armies from the north to the south, clearing the way for Normandy.
"Alright, but next war we have to base our military strategy off of something besides drunken gossip."
James spent the weeks leading up to D-Day hiding in Cairo and presumably opening tabs under Montgomery's name in every Egyptian bar. And then, as recognition for his invaluable service, James was unceremoniously sent back to his crappy Pay Corps job, having to lie to everyone about where he spent the past five weeks. Once the war was over, though, he finally managed to snatch a couple of movie roles -- "Himself" and "General Montgomery" in the 1958 film adaptation of his book.
#4. Latif Yahia Gets Shot 26 Times for Looking Like Saddam Hussein's Son
Going to school with a kid who looks exactly like you can cause a lot of inconveniences, like being punished for shit you didn't do, getting ass kickings meant for someone else ... or, you know, being targeted for assassination by the U.S. military and asked by your employer to shoot a guy in the head. Just ask Latif Yahia, a former school mate of Saddam Hussein's son Uday who ended up becoming his unwitting body double.
That's the double on the right, looking like Uday. And that's Uday on the left, looking like Freddie Mercury.
According to Yahia, in 1988 he was serving his obligatory stint in Iraq's military when his old pal Uday offered him a job as his "fiday," which roughly translates to "similar-looking person who gets shot at instead of me." Yahia initially refused the generous offer, but a week of solitary confinement and nasty threats against his sisters led him to reconsider.
The famous Iraqi Douche medal.
However, being deliberately sent to places where they knew Saddam's son would be a target wasn't even the worst part of his job, because at least he got to be away from Uday. Yahia soon found out that Uday was a psychopath by his own right: One time, he murdered his father's chauffeur in the middle of a party, finishing him off with an electric carving knife in front of numerous world leaders. Another time, Yahia claims Uday put a gun in his hand and ordered him to shoot a guy -- Yahia could only react by turning equally crazy and slitting his own wrists in front of him.
And then, when Uday met a girl who happened to like his double more than him, he repaid Yahia for saving his life all those times by shooting at him.
"Sorry, I thought he was me, and I hate that guy."
In late 1991, Yahia escaped Iraq with the help of the CIA and used his knowledge of the Hussein family to help bring down Saddam's regime. When Uday was killed in a gunfight in 2003, Yahia lamented that he never got to have his revenge ... except when he sold his story to Hollywood for millions, that is.
Hollywood is much less concerned with accurate casting than Saddam's Iraq.
Another double of a Hussein family member was also involved in the film industry, but in a completely different way ...
#3. Saddam Hussein Look-alike Is (Almost) Forced into Porn
Mohamed Bishr knew that looking like Saddam Hussein had its drawbacks: Even after Hussein died, he still got weird looks in the street and was constantly asked to sign South Park and Hot Shots DVDs (or at least that's what we would have done). What he, or anyone else, never could have seen coming was that someone would try to force him to act in a porn movie recreating Saddam's sex life.
One where he's having sex with Saddam himself? We'd buy that.
Saddam reportedly had several official body doubles, but Bishr wasn't one of them -- he was just an Egyptian dude with a similar bone structure and an irrational attachment to his beard. According to Bishr's sons, when Saddam was in hiding, Bishr was even attacked by people who wanted to turn him in and collect the reward. That was probably the most bizarre thing that had happened to Bishr ... until 2011, when he was approached by three Iraqi men in black suits and offered $333,000 to star in a porno. This was either a plan to sell the tape to the media pretending it was real, or a misguided attempt to revive the "Saddam Sex Party" series after the star's untimely death.
"Don't mind me. Just warmin' up my fuck face."
Bishr said no to the offer, but this didn't deter the dedicated would-be film producers. Instead of hiring an actual porn actor and simply sticking a beard on him, a few days later they ambushed Bishr while he was going into a coffee shop and threw him into a van. Bishr says he heard the men arguing about something, possibly the details of the plot, before throwing him out of the moving van and speeding off.
We don't know if we should fear or admire him for still having that beard.
The weirdest part, though? The U.S. military had the same insane idea. Before taking down Saddam in 2003, the CIA considered creating grainy footage of the dictator having sex with a boy to embarrass him. While the plan didn't get very far, the CIA porn-making division did manage to produce at least two films before being shut down: One was a tape of Osama bin Laden drunkenly bragging about how many boys he has bedded, and the other one ...