The late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin once ordered the KGB to assassinate Hollywood icon John Wayne... Honestly I thought that this must be some kind of joke when I first read the story, but it literally happened.
Wayne was such an iconic figure during the years of the Cold War, that Stalin ordered the KGB hit because he thought that Wayne's anti-communist views and rhetoric were a threat to the stability of the Soviet Union.
This particular piece of information came to light in a book John Wayne - The Man Behind The Myth, written by film historian, Michael Munn. Munn had heard the story from legendary filmmaker Orson Welles, who had told him about the assassination plot during a dinner in 1983.
Apparently, Russian filmmaker Sergei Gerasimov, attended a peace conference in New York City in 1949. At the conference Gerasimov heard much about Wayne's extremely anti-communist views, and he went back to Russia to inform Stalin.
The FBI showed up in Hollywood to inform Wayne that agents had been dispatched from Russia in order to kill him. In true John Wayne fashion, he told the FBI agents to let the men show up and he would deal with them himself. And he wasn't joking. He apparently worked with his scriptwriter to create a plan to abduct the assassins, take them out to the beach and stage a mock execution.
No one knows what happened, but the two men who were sent to kill Wayne allegedly ended up staying in the U.S. and working for the FBI.