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Tony Mendez (1940 – 2019), Ex-CIA spy inspired the movie “Argo”

(Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Led the daring rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran in 1980

Tony Mendez (1940 – 2019) was the ex-CIA agent who led the daring rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran in 1980. His story was immortalized in the 2012 movie “Argo,” in which he was portrayed by Ben Affleck. Iran took over the U.S. embassy after their revolution in 1979. Mendez masterminded the escape of the U.S. citizens from the homes of two Canadian diplomats by passing them off as members of a film crew.

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Died: Saturday January 19, 2019. (Who else died on January 19?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 78 from Parkinson’s disease.


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Secret Mission: Though Mendez was a legendary “master of disguise” agent within the CIA, his role in the rescue was kept secret until 1997. The mission was called the “Canadian Caper” for the role the Canadian diplomats played in hiding the Americans.

Ben Affleck paid tribute on Twitter: "Tony Mendez was a true American hero. He was a man of extraordinary grace, decency, humility and kindness.” "He never sought the spotlight for his actions, he merely sought to serve his country. I'm so proud to have worked for him and to have told one of his stories."

Former CIA colleague praised Mendez: “Tony was one of the best officers to ever serve at CIA. His work was unique, and it help to protect our nation in significant ways. He will be missed. May he Rest In Peace.” – Michael Morell on Twitter

Full obituary: The Baltimore Sun

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