By the time he died under mysterious circumstances in Paris in 1979 at the age of sixty, David Karr had reinvented himself numerous times. His remarkable American journey encompassed many different worlds―from Communist newspapers to the Office of War Information, from muckraking columnist to public relations flack, from corporate raider to corporate executive, from moviemaker to hotel executive, from international businessman to Soviet asset. Once denounced on the floor of the Senate by Joseph McCarthy, he became a trusted adviser to Sargent Shriver, Scoop Jackson, and Jerry Brown.
As a New York businessman Karr orchestrated a series of corporate takeovers, using a variety of unscrupulous tactics. With virtually no business experience, he became CEO of Fairbanks Whitney, a major defense contractor, only to be quickly ousted by outraged stockholders.
After settling in Paris, he arranged the building of the first Western hotel in Moscow, obtained North American rights to the marketing of the 1980 Moscow Olympics mascot, and won the contract to sell Olympic commemorative coins.
Karr died suddenly and mysteriously in 1979. The French press exploded with claims he had been murdered, naming the KGB, CIA, Mossad, and Mafia as suspects. A British journalist later accused him of plotting with Aristotle Onassis to assassinate Robert Kennedy on behalf of the PLO.