Kenneth Douglas “Ken” Taylor, born on October 5, 1934, and passed away October 15, 2015, Kenneth was a Canadian diplomat, educator and businessman, best known for his role in the 1979 covert operation called the “Canadian Caper” when he was the Canadian ambassador to Iran.
With the cooperation of the American Central Intelligence Agency, Kenneth helped six Americans escape from Iran during the Iran hostage crisis by procuring Canadian passports for the Americans to deceive the Iranian Revolutionary guard, posing as a Canadian film crew scouting locations.
Before the escape, the six Americans spent several weeks hiding in the homes of Kenneth and another Canadian diplomat, John Sheardown.
Kenneth is portrayed by Gordon Pinsent in the Canadian 1981 television film, Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper which dramatizes the cover story for the operation.
The later 2012 American film, Argo, focuses more on the CIA and Hollywood’s role, with Taylor played by Canadian actor Victor Garber.
Kenneth was born in Calgary, Alberta. He completed his BA at Victoria College of the University of Toronto and his MBA at the University of California, Berkeley.
He was a brother of the Sigma Chi fraternity and was later honoured with its highest award, Significant Sigma Chi.
After returning from Iran, Kenneth was appointed Canadian Consul-General to New York City.
In 1980, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada along with his wife Pat and other Canadian personnel involved in the escape, and was also awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal that same year.
He returned to the University of Toronto for several years as the Chancellor of Victoria College.
Kenneth left the foreign service in 1984 and served as Senior Vice-President of Nabisco (RJR Nabisco after 1986) from 1984 to 1989.
He was the founder and chairman of public consulting firm Kenneth and Ryan.
Kenneth moved to the United States and lived in New York City until his death at age 81.
Kenneth died at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been treated over the past several of months for Stage 4 colon cancer.
Even though Kenneth lived in the United States, he never became an American citizen.
Kenneth Douglas Taylor died at age 81 in October 2015.