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Canadian Envoy Who Helped U.S. Diplomats Escape Tehran Dies

Ken Taylor, a former Canadian ambassador who helped shelter American diplomats after the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was stormed in 1979, has died.

He was 81.

In November 1979, Taylor and another Canadian official sheltered six American diplomats in their Tehran homes after Iranian student radicals rampaged through the embassy and took 52 Americans hostage.

While the hostages ended up spending 444 days in captivity, the six that got away conspired with their Canadian hosts to escape Tehran with Canadian passports and forged Iranian visas in what became known unofficially as "The Canadian Caper."

The group, pretending to be a Hollywood crew scouting locations for a movie called Argo, successfully caught a plane to Switzerland in January 1980.

The story of the escape was retold in the 2012 movie Argo featuring actor Ben Affleck in the role of real-life CIA operative Tony Mendez, who helped concoct the escape plan.

Taylor, who was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the U.S. Congress in 1980, criticized the movie for minimizing Canada's role in the Americans' rescue.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters