Hamlet was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on August 10, a Monday, at 8:11 AM. He wrote two novels and a book of poems, but it was as an actor and director that he gained the greatest recognition. He won two "best actor" Oscars, one for "best director," and a Grammy for his part in an ensemble performance of the best "best song" Oscars from 1936 until 1965. His career as a secret agent for the Americans in Vienna in the years immediately following World War II was disclosed only after his death in an affair of intrigue centering on the itinerary of Dimitrios Makropoulos, the most notorious terrorist of the era, whose plot to sabotage the Helsinki Olympics was foiled by Hamlet in 1952. Charles Latimer’s crisp account in The Intercom Conspiracy is a salutary corrective to more breathless versions of this memorable affair.
Hamlet was a Leo with Sagittarius rising and Saturn opposing his sun. His natal chart predicts a great career cut short. Except for his untimely death, he has the most enviable destiny of any princely male: handsome, brilliant, athletic, creative. Though prone to melancholic periods, and excessively self-conscious, he was impulsive but without the overweening arrogance and intensity of wrath that make Achilleus a less sympathetic example of the type. In the underground Achilleus told Odysseus that he would rather be an ordinary farm laborer on earth than king of all the dead, a remark that Hamlet would not have made without adding an ironic paradox or two. "O I could live in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space -- were it not that I have bad dreams": a pair of hyperboles terminating in an understatement consisting of eight quick monosyllables.
Hamlet's Venus in Gemini suggests a marked ambivalence in his love life. He looked very cool in a leather jacket and smoked as brilliantly as William Powell or Bette Davis. His moon is in Taurus, signifying a philosophical cast of mind and the tendency to go it alone rather than travel with an entourage. His Mercury in Aquarius conjunct the lightning bolt of Uranus makes it no surprise to learn that he is swift of foot, quick of mind, and heroically articulate. The emphatic placement of his Mars is in Leo, for he is on a mission. His Jupiter in Sagittarius indicates great intellectual curiosity despite Saturnine bouts of depression.
At Harvard Hamlet joined the fencing team (foil) and wrote dance criticism for the "Advocate." A Rhodes Fellowship took him to Oxford and he spent his "long vacs" in Paris, where he was among the first Americans to recognize the importance of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." In competition with his father's brother's son he wrote a sonnet cycle based on a remark Nijinsky made about the ease with which he stayed in the air while leaping. His production of "Ghosts" is still the ideal by which stagings of Ibsen are judged. A play he penned for the Mummers took the form of a debate between Brutus in "Julius Caesar" and Antony in "Antony and Cleopatra," with the Cleopatra scenes done in the nude. He is said to have had love affairs with Alma Mahler and the young Greer Garson.
Hamlet drank moderately, beer primarily, in the Blue Peacock, where he showed flashes of the wit and charm that made many a maiden overcome her inhibitions and spread her virtue. He liked lying in Ophelia's lap and discussing country matters. He was a very demanding guy, fickle, self-absorbed, a true prince. Nevertheless he impressed half the world with his martial energy, his calculated lunacy, and his jovial hospitality. The sight of Hamlet in fencing gear acted like an aphrodisiac, Ophelia confided.
Hamlet joined US Army Intelligence after recruitment by General T. J. Evans in February 1945.