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Tony Mendez, the spy who inspired the 2012 thriller movie Argo, passed away Saturday after a battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 78 years old.
The 25-year CIA veteran smuggled six State Department employees out of Tehran during the 1979-1981 hostages crisis in Iran by pretending his was an Irish filmmaker with a crew from Canada and it served as an Oscar-winning plot for the Ben Affleck motion picture.
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Mendez left behind his wife Jonna Mendez, a former chief of disguise for the CIA where she worked for 27 years. They married in 1991 and their son Jesse was born in 1993 when she retired.
Director-actor Affleck paid tribute to the late Mendez on the day he died.
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'Tony Mendez was a true American hero. He was a man of extraordinary grace, decency, humility and kindness,' Affleck posted on Twitter. '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. #RIPTonyMendez.'
The endeavor had been life or death: Iran had undergone a revolution – kicking out the American-backed shah and installing Ayatollah Khomeini as the Supreme Leader of the now Islamic Republic.
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On November 4, 1979, militants had taken over the US Embassy in Tehran, and the six had fled to the Canadian Embassy.
Mendez 'created the false documents and the disguises that a CIA officer posing as a businessman smuggled into revolutionary Iran and delivered to the Canadian Embassy, where the six were hiding,'...
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