Real heroes behind Argo hostage drama in S'pore

Real heroes behind Argo hostage drama in S'pore
The then Canadian ambassador to Iran, Mr Ken Taylor, and his wife, Pat, housed stranded American diplomats in their home during the 1979 hostage crisis in Teheran.

While at work one day, research scientist Mrs Pat Taylor received a telephone call from her diplomat husband, Ken, informing her that they would be having house guests.

It sounded innocuous enough a statement but Mr Taylor was then the Canadian ambassador to Iran, and in Teheran in 1979, nothing was straightforward.

Mrs Taylor, 84, recalls: "I said, 'Fine, just talk to the butler and get the rooms ready.' I thought it was only going to be for a few days but, of course, it turned out to be three months."

The house guests were six Americans, four diplomats and two wives, on the run after the United States Embassy had been seized by Iranian revolutionaries. They were then housed by the Taylors and immigration officer John Sheardown.

The Americans eventually escaped by posing as a Canadian film crew scouting for locations.

The events were later dramatised in the Canadian television movie Escape From Iran: The Canadian Caper (1981) and, more recently, in the Oscarwinning film by Ben Affleck, Argo (2012).

The Taylors are in Singapore at the invitation of Swiss bank Lombard Odier to meet their clients and to talk about their diplomatic life as well as about financial risk management. Mr Taylor retired from the foreign service in 1984, entered the private sector and later took up chairmanship of the consulting firm Taylor And Ryan in 1991.

Argo has once again cast the spotlight on the Taylors. While calling the movie a "very exciting drama", Mr Taylor, 79, also says in his rich bass voice: "It was purely a Hollywood production and Hollywood isn't about history, it's about entertainment.

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