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Stage Name

Birth Name

Mata Hari Margaretha ( Marguérite) Geertruida Zelle

        Mata Hari was a famous Dutch dancer who almost danced nude ( Rare for the time.) She was the second child of Adam Zelle and his wife Antje van der Meulen ( Only girl in a family of four boys.) 'Mata Hari' was to become one of the most infamous spies in history altho there is some who feel she was just a scapegoat. She was married in 1895 to a Naval officer in stationed in Java and was also the mother of two children ( Norman & Juana.)

    After her divorce she would start to use the name "Mata Hari" which was Malayan for 'Eyes of the days' or 'The Sun'. Her dancing career started when she moved to Paris and danced at Emile Guimet's ( Museum) in 1905. The dance she did was a Siva dance, which used shawls that she slowly removed and danced very provocatively for the time, she was an instant success, she claimed to be trained in exotic ritual dance styles, however, a professional dancers work is usually short lived and hers was no exception, it would only last from 1905 to 1912.

    Her fame made it easy to travel to various European countries, so the French Secret Service asked Mata Hari to mix and mingle with the Germans and find out as much information as she could. However, the French became suspicious of her and arrested her of espionage and being a double-agent when she tried to cross the French border to visit a lover. She was interrogated and confessed to being a German spy code-named H21 ( New reports say she was framed.) When she went to trial and the verdict of guilty came in, she would be executed by a French firing squad on 10/15/1917, ( As she was a convicted of being a double spy for Germany and France.)

    She was immortalized in the movie which starred Greta Garbo and Ramon Navarro in the title role in 1932. At her execution, it is rumored that she blew a kiss towards the firing squad.

There is another by the name of MATA and Hari, however they were pantomime dancers during the 1960's that used a similar name (the 'and' inserted between Mata / Hari).

Birth Place

Birth Date



Leeuwarden, Holland 8/7/1876 - 10/15/1917 Campbell or John Macleod Norman John (1897)
                  Juana Louise (1898)


Publications / Magazines

1931 - Mata Hari - Courtesan & Spy ( By Coulson) 1927 - On Special Missions ( By Chas Luceeto)
1931 - Underworld of Paris, Secrets of Surete, ( By Morain) 7/1929 - Dance Magazine ( Pt 1)
8/1929 - Dance Magazine ( Pt 2)
1951 - The World’s 30 Greatest Women Spies” ( By Singer) 3/1935 - Official Detective Magazine
11/1939 - Time Magazine
1964 - Eye of the Lion ( By Lad Tucker) 12/18/1939 - Life Magazine
1964 - Murder of Mata Hari (Waagenaar) 1/26/1940 - Family Circle Magazine
1967 - Diary of Mata Hari 4-1939 - Spy Stories Book ( Mag)
1970 - Famous Spies - Frank Surge 1942 - Liberty Magazine
$ 1978 - The Rise and Fall of Mata Hari( Ostrovsky) 7/28/1947 - Life Mag (Japan's Mata Hari)
$ 1979 - The Last Summer of Mata Hari 2/8/1948 - American Weekly Magazine
$ 1984 - The Diary of Mata Hari ( Jenkins) 1948 - See Magazine
$ 1986 - Mata Hari ... The True Story 10/26/1952 - Grafic Magazine
$ 1986 - The Man Who Loved Mata Hari (Sherman) 9/1958 - Uncensored Magazine
$ 1987 - Mata Hari's Lost Words ( Oughton) 7/1962 - Caper Magazine
1990 - Eye of Dawn - Mata Hari ( Ostrovsky) 7/1964 - True Magazine
$ 1992 - The Fatal Flower ... Myth of Women In ...      
$ 2002 - The Red Dancer ... Life and times of Mat Hari      
$ Mata Hari: Roman ( Pallas)      
$ Mata Hari -1876-1914 ... de levende legende
$ Mata-Hari ... ( Plaja)    

Actresses Portraying Mata


Great Garbo (1932) Mata Hari - Noche Africana
Jeanne Moreau (1962)      
Sylvia Kristel      

Night Clubs



n/a Emile Guimet's Museum Theater 1910 - Antar ( Monte Carlo)
            1942 - Mata Hari Musical



Dance Types

1932 - Mata Hari [DVD] (Garbo) Spies-Dirty Game Of Espionage Belly Dance
$ 1986 - Mata Hari [DVD]       Hindu
$ 1996 - A&E Mata Hari Biography [DVD]       Indonesian Dance (Danse Indienne)
$ 1998 - Mata Hari/ Red Baron ...[DVD]       Siva Dance
Masterpiece and Myths V1.       Turkish Dance
Mata Hari - Agent H.21. ( French)            
Readers Digest - Great Mysteries From The Past            
the Legend and True Story of a Spy[DVD]        


  1. Other dancer with the same name was Mata and Hari.
  2. Here's a good Mata Link - Crime Library

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