Real-Life Hero of Events Depicted in Ben Affleck’s Movie ‘Argo’ — About the Iranian Hostage Crisis — Dies. The Real Story of What Happened

Jan 2, 2013  •  Post A Comment

One of the real-life heros of the events depicted in Ben Affleck’s acclaimed movie "Argo" has died.

"John Sheardown, an unflappable Canadian diplomat in Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis who helped shelter six American “house guests” until they were secretly shuttled out of the country, died Dec. 30 at a hospital in Ottawa," reports the Washington Post, adding, "He was 88. He had Alzheimer’s disease, said his wife, Zena Sheardown."

One of the major characters in "Argo" is former Canadian Ambassador to Iran Ken Taylor. But according to the Post, Sheardown may have played an even more important role in what happened.

Says the Post, "In the days after the U.S. Embassy takeover, the six fugitive Americans assumed that the turmoil would subside quickly. They hid in the homes of their abducted colleagues and spent brief periods in other embassies, but tensions continued to build in the city and their security became ever more precarious.

"Robert Anders, another of the American diplomats seeking haven, knew Mr. Sheardown and called him to request official protection. ‘Why didn’t you call sooner?’ Mr. Sheardown replied.

"Five of the six Americans arranged passage to the Sheardown residence in the suburbs north of Tehran and arrived on Nov. 10. Mr. Sheardown, who had helped obtain permission from Ottawa, phoned Taylor to say that the ‘house guests’ had arrived. They were soon followed by the sixth American, Henry Lee Schatz, who had been hiding at the Swedish Embassy.

"The Taylors took Stafford and her husband, Joseph. The other four — Anders, Schatz, and Mark and Cora Lijek — remained with the Sheardowns."

Sheardown was not portrayed in the "Argo" movie, which had all the Americans staying with Ambassador Taylor.

One Comment

  1. Accuracy has never been a Hollywood trademark. Pearl Harbor, the hunt for Bin Laden. Plus hundred or thousands more tell the story from the perspective of the prejudices of the film makers. I realize that most likely in this instance, the brevity of the medium resulted in a few shortcuts. It is great the story got out as few people knew of this historic moment. Now if we had a government that could have protected the four in Libya, this would really be a great movie instead of a reminder of the better years behind us.

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