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Remembering Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week, Canadians and Americans saluted Ken Taylor. He was the Canadian Ambassador to Iran when U.S. hostages were taken there in 1979, and he sheltered six hostages until Canada and the CIA hatched an escape. The Canadian Caper, as it was called, became the basis for the movie "Argo." When we interviewed Ken Taylor in 2011, he said he acted without consulting his superiors.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

KEN TAYLOR: No, I think it was a natural thing to do particularly given the nature of the relationship between Canada and the U.S. Diplomacy was in peril. These people were in jeopardy, and instinctively - I think you used the right word, Scott. Instinctively we said we'll do what we can. Join us.

SIMON: I've read that probably not a month goes by that some American doesn't come up to you and shake your hand.

TAYLOR: Yes, I enjoy that, of course, because it is in a sense saying to Canada this is what you did. And Americans and U.S. citizens have long memories, particularly when they feel themselves in a dilemma where they're looking for an ally and that ally is there and is prepared to act on their behalf whatever the consequences.

SIMON: Ken Taylor died this week of cancer at the age of 81. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.