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Mendez and Chambers named their purported science-fiction film project “Argo,” for the raunchy punchline to a knock-knock joke and in a sly nod to the mythological ship that Jason used to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Advertisements in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter promoted the film as a “cosmic conflagration.”. With a Canadian passport in hand, Mendez flew to Tehran on Jan buy shellac for pointe shoes uk sale. 25, under the name Kevin Costa Harkins. (He chose an Irish identity, he later said, because the Irish are “nonthreatening” and “ubiquitous around the world.”) Supported by a second CIA agent known as Julio, he spent a few days preparing the six diplomats, teaching them their new identities — including as a cameraman and set designer — and preparing them for potential interrogations at the airport..
Before dawn on Jan. 28, they headed to Tehran Mehrabad International Airport for an early Swissair flight to Zurich. After being delayed for an hour because of a mechanical problem, the flight took off and cleared Iranian airspace, leading Mendez to celebrate by ordering a bloody mary and delivering a toast: “We’re home free.”. The diplomats returned to a heroes’ welcome in the United States, where Canadian flags were flown from town halls, and billboards reading “Thank you, Canada” cropped up around the country. Mendez met with Carter in the Oval Office and received the Intelligence Star, one of the CIA’s highest honors. But his and the CIA’s role in the rescue operation was concealed until 1997, when Mendez was honored as one of 50 “trailblazers” who shaped the agency’s first 50 years buy shellac for pointe shoes uk sale.
Antonio Joseph Mendez was born in Eureka, Nevada, on Nov. 15, 1940, to a mixed-heritage family (Italian, Mexican, Welsh) that he later credited with helping him blend in around the world. He was 3 when his father died in a copper-mining accident; his mother worked several jobs. The family had little money, and Tony contributed by digging up bat guano in caves, loading it onto a toy wagon and selling it to his Mormon neighbors as fertilizer, $1 per gunny sack buy shellac for pointe shoes uk sale. He sometimes dated his covert operations experience to an incident in which he posed as a girl to gain entrance to a couples-only school dance..
Mendez graduated from high school in Denver and, unable to cover tuition, quit the University of Colorado after one year buy shellac for pointe shoes uk sale. He was an illustrator at Martin Marietta, drawing parts for an intercontinental ballistic missile, when he saw a help-wanted ad in a newspaper: “Artists to Work Overseas — U.S. Navy Civilians.” Consumed by wanderlust, he went to interview and was handed a CIA recruitment guide. Mendez retired in 1990 with a rank equivalent to that of a two-star general. He wrote several memoirs including “The Master of Disguise,” co-authored with Malcolm McConnell. The book, along with Bearman’s article in Wired, served as the source material for “Argo,” which won the Oscar for best picture. (It took some liberties with the facts, Mendez said, including adding a chase scene and writing out two of his children.)..
Mendez’s first wife, Karen, died of lung cancer in 1986. In 1991 he married Jonna Hiestand, an expert on clandestine photography who also served as the CIA’s chief of disguise buy shellac for pointe shoes uk sale. In addition to his wife of Reston, Virginia, who confirmed his death, survivors include two children from his first marriage, Amanda Mendez of Smithsburg, Maryland, and sculptor Toby Mendez of Knoxville, Maryland; a son from his second marriage, Jesse Mendez of Charleston, West Virginia; several sisters; and two grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son from his first marriage, Ian Mendez..