Ken Taylor, former Canadian Ambassador to Iran, died Thursday after a two-month battle with colon cancer according to the Associated Press. Ambassador Taylor and his wife, Pat (Dr. Patricia Taylor), became Canadian heroes in United States and Canada in 1980 for sheltering Americans during the Iran hostage crisis, and ultimately helping them escape Iran safely.
Younger readers might have learned of Canada’s involvement in the Iran hostage crisis only from the 2012 Ben Affleck directed Oscar best picture Argo. Unfortunately, Argo was so inaccurate that reportedly a postscript line onscreen at the end of the movie [the Toronto International Film Festival screened version] lead Taylor’s friends to regard the postscript as an “insult” to both Taylor and Canada. When Affleck heard about the controversy, he met with the Taylors and ultimately removed the offending postscript and replaced by a new one stating: “The involvement of the CIA complemented efforts of the Canadian embassy to free the six held in Tehran. To this day the story stands as an enduring model of international co-operation between governments.”
The Canadian documentary Our Man in Tehran (2013) (youtube link) does a much better job in setting the record straight by conducting detailed interviews with the hostages, Ambassador Taylor and his wife Pat, Canadian Foreign Minister at the time Flora MacDonald, and Prime Minister at the time Joe Clark. And it is both entertaining and insightful.
With the passing of Ambassador Taylor, the unlucky ones (like this reporter) will never have a chance to meet Ken face-to-face. So one of the purpose of this article is to collect and find some gems of online videos and audio interviews ofAmbassador Taylor. In a sense, the sharing of digital memory of this wonderful Calgary-born Canadian hero in his own words and words of key participants at the time.
President Carter Fact-Checks the Movie ‘Argo’ (6 minutes)
Finally, reports of the passing of Ambassador Taylor came quickly and from a wide range of media in Canada and United States. The following is a selection of them, for the record.
“The movie’s fun, it’s thrilling, it’s pertinent, it’s timely,” Taylor said in 2012 of Argo. “But look, Canada was not merely standing around watching events take place. The CIA was a junior partner.”
27 Oct, 2015 Update: Adding a few more clips I found on YouTube.
CTV W5 program (around Argo release time), Ken Taylor – Former Canadian Ambassador to Iran
4 Nov, 2013, The Agenda with Steve Paikin – Our Man in Tehran