Latino stories and experiences have inspired Hollywood blockbusters like Selena and El Cantante, but the latest bio-flick has nothing to do with pop stars. Real life CIA agent, Tony Mendez was responsible for the rescue of six American diplomats who were taken hostage in Iran back in the 1970s.
His real life account is the basis of the new drama-thriller played and directed by Ben Affleck, Argo. Here are some facts you may not know about this fascinating figure in U.S. history.
- The CIA named Tony one of the 50 greatest trailblazers in the history of their organization and honored him with the Intelligence Star award. Due to the whole secret service aspect of the gig, he was not allowed to mention the honor with close family and friends. “There was no family allowed because it’s classified. I was the first one across the stage and got the Intelligence Star and then they took it back,” said the 72-year-old to The Daily News.
- Tony came up with a brilliant game plan to disguise himself as a Hollywood producer working on a made-up science fiction film titled, Argo, in order to travel to Tehran and rescue the American officials being tortured for over a year.
- Although in the movie Tony only has one child, at the time he actually had three children named, Ian, Amanda, and Toby.
- Now the hero sits on the Board of Directors for the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.
- He’s totally star struck by Ben Affleck. He told the Washington Post, “The 30-foot-tall face of Ben Affleck, saying, ‘My name is Tony Mendez’?” Yeah, not a bad lead actor to play you on the big-screen!