Elizabeth "Betty" Peer MacDonald grew up in Hawaii. During World War II, she worked for the Morale Operations branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA, in Ceylon alongside Julia McWilliams, later Julia Child, and Paul Child. After the war, she had assignments with Voice of America and the State Department, and joined the CIA in 1958. She married as her second husband Lt. Col. Richard Heppner (d. 1958) and then Frederick B. McIntosh. She wrote her memoirs and other books about the role of women spies.