Exile Chic

The New Republic

You have read:

0 / 8

free articles in the past 30 days.

Already a subscriber?

Log in here

sign up for unlimited access for just $34.97Sign me up

CYCLORAMA JULY 3, 2013

Exile Chic A guide to celebrity asylums, defections, and passport swaps

Last week, Edward Snowden took flight, leaving a trail of strained diplomatic relations in his wake. After taking refuge in Hong Kong, he wanted to fly to Iceland, then reportedly set course instead for Ecuador and got stuck in Russia along the way. Swapping citizenship isn’t always so frenzied, but it has a rich history among athletes, academics, performers, and activists. Passports can be traded for reasons political (escaping censorship) or pecuniary (escaping taxes). Borders can be jumped as a sign of protest or just to facilitate divorce. Here, we present an international map of shifting nationalities.

1965
Yul Brynner
actor
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
Swiss
Summary
The Russian-born Brenner claimed that work and family complications made him drop his U.S. passport. He also had to escape the massive debts he incurred after unwittingly abusing a tax exemption.
1966
Maria Callas
opera singer
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
Greek
Summary
By abandoning her U.S. passport, Callas invalidated her unhappy marriage to a Catholic Italian businessman, which was technically illegal under Greek law.
1967
Svetlana Alliluyeva
famous progeny
Country Fled
The Soviet Union
Country Received
The United States
Summary
Josef Stalin's daughter defected to the United States, then returned to the ussr in 1984, claiming that she had not been free "one single day" in the United States. She repatriated again two years later.
1974
Jane Jacobs
Urban Theorist
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
Canadian
Summary
Burned out from battling the city of New York and concerned for her sons during Vietnam, Jacobs took Canadian citizenship in her adopted hometown of Toronto.
1978
Roman Polanski
Director
Country Fled
The United States
country received
France
Summary
Convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl, Polanski skipped town and reestablished himself in France, where he has lived ever since.
1978
Queen Noor of Jordan
royal
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
Jordanian
Summary
The former Lisa Najeeb Halaby gave up her American citizenship when she married King Hussein of Jordan.
2005
Bobby Fischer
Chess Grandmaster
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
Icelandic
Summary
After violating U.S. sanctions by competing in Yugoslavia, Fischer lived as a fugitive in Europe and Asia. He eventually accepted an offer of asylum in Iceland, where he lived until his death in 2008.
2006
Terry Gilliam
Urban Theorist
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
British
Summary
The Monty Python member held dual citizenship for 38 years before handing in his U.S. passport in protest of President George W. Bush's policies.
2009
Jaycee Chan
Actor, Singer
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
Chinese
Summary
The son of movie star Jackie Chan, he reportedly renounced his American citizenship in a bid to appeal to audiences in China.
2012
Kal-El
Superman
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
Kryptonian
Summary
Better known as Superman, Kal-El gave up his American citizenship in Action Comics #900, claiming that he no longer wanted to be viewed as an instrument of U.S. power.
2012
Donald Keene
Former Professor
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
Japanese
Summary
After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the 91-year-old Columbia academic announced that he would seek Japanese citizenship as a gesture of solidarity.
2012
Eduardo Saverin
Businessman
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
Singaporean
Summary
The Facebook co-founder decamped to Singapore in search of favorable tax rates, leading Senator Chuck Schumer to introduce a bill forbidding him from reentering the United States.
2013
Tina Turner
Singer
Citizenship Renounced
American
Citizenship Gained
Swiss
Summary
The singer lived on the shore of Lake Zurich for almost 20 years before passing a citizenship test this year.
Gérard Depardieu, Johnny Hallyday, Alain Delon
Fed-Up Frenchies
Summary
As the French government raises taxes on the wealthy, the birthplace of cinema has recently seen the emigration of such luminaries as Gérard Depardieu, the portly virtuoso who may as well be the face of French film. As if that weren't enough, famed beauty Brigitte Bardot has also said she might take up Russian citizenship to protest the treatment of animals in France.
Yoenis Céspedes, José Contreras, Yasiel Puig, and more
Cuban Baseball Players
Summary
Many of Cuba's finest athletes have been barred by the Castro regime from competing at the highest level in professional sports leagues. In order to play for the princely contracts offered by franchises like the Red Sox and the Yankees, Cuban baseball players like Yoenis Céspedes, José Contreras, and Yasiel Puig have resorted to defection, either by packing onto crowded sailboats or else slipping away during team appearances abroad.
George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev
Soviet Ballet Bancers
Summary
Ballet, like other arts, was subject to harsh censorship in the Soviet Union. Unlike their counterparts in other fields, however, dancers were often expected to tour the West as an expression of Soviet cultural mastery. Carefully choreographed junkets to Europe and North America provided Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, perhaps the two most sensational male dancers of the last century, with opportunities to defect.

share this article on facebook or twitter

posted in: edward snowden, citizenship, asylum, defections

print this article

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

You must be a subscriber to post comments. Subscribe today.

Back to Top

SHARE HIGHLIGHT

0 CHARACTERS SELECTED

TWEET THIS

POST TO TUMBLR

SHARE ON FACEBOOK