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Dean Reed had one of the strangest careers in the history of popular culture. Failing to gain recognition for his music in his native United States, he achieved celebrity in South America in the early 1960s and then, unbelievably, became the biggest rock star in the Soviet Union, where he was awarded the Lenin Prize and his icons were sold alongside those of Josef Stalin. His albums went gold from Bulgaria to Berlin. He made highly successful movies and, naively earnest, was an unwitting acolyte for socialism; everywhere he went, he was mobbed by his fans. And then, in 1986, at the height of his fame, right after 60 Minutes had devoted a segment to him, finally giving him the recognition he had never attained at home, he drowned in mysterious circumstances in East Berlin.