Victor Rothschild, later 3rd Baron Rothschild, was the only son of Charles Rothschild, of the wealthy Anglo-Jewish banking family, and his wife Rozsika Edle von Wertheimstein, a Hungarian baroness. He was educated at Harrow and read physiology, French and English at Cambridge University, where he played cricket. He was also known for his luxurious habits, such as driving a Bugatti and collecting art and rare books. He was a member of the Cambridge Apostles, where he met the future Soviet spies Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess. At age 26, he inherited his title following the death of his uncle Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron, and became a member of the Labour Party in the House of Lords. During World War II, he worked for the British secret service MI5. After the war, he joined the zoology department at Cambridge, where he was on the faculty from 1950 to 1970. He served as chairman of the Agricultural Research Council from 1948 to 1958 and was worldwide head of research for Royal Dutch/Shell from 1963 to 1970. Throughout his life he was an adviser on intelligence and science to the British government. At the end of his career, he joined the famed family bank as chairman. He was elected a fellow of The Royal Society in 1953. He published his autobiography, Random Variables, in 1984.