BIO

Tony MendezTony Mendez is a retired CIA officer, an author and an award-winning painter with an international reputation.  He lives and works in his studios and gallery on his forty-acre farm in rural Maryland.

In 1965 CIA’s Technical Services Division recruited him.  Born in the loneliest town on the loneliest road in America, Eureka, Nevada, Tony led two lives.  For 25 years he worked under cover, often overseas, participating in some of the most important operations of the Cold War. To his friends he was a quiet bureaucrat working for the U.S. military.  To the CIA he was their disguise master.  From Wild West adventures in East Asia to Cold War intrigue in Moscow he was there.

He moved into the CIA’s executive rank over the course of his career.  Mendez and his subordinates were responsible for changing the identity and appearance of thousands of clandestine operatives, allowing them to move securely around the world.

In January 1980 he was awarded the Intelligence Star for Valor for engineering and conducting the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the hostage crisis.  This rescue operation involved creating an ostensible Hollywood film production company, complete with personnel, scripts, publicity and real estate in LA.

When Mendez retired in November 1990 he had earned the CIA’s Intelligence Medal of Merit and two Certificates of Distinction.  Seven years later, in September 1997 on the fiftieth anniversary of the CIA, he was one of fifty officers chosen from the tens of thousands who had worked at CIA over its first fifty years awarded the Trailblazer Medallion.  This honor recognized him as an “officer who by his actions, example, or initiative…helped shape the history of the CIA.”

He published his first book, The Master of Disguise, in November 1999.  Since then Mendez has appeared in various national media to include twenty-two documentaries.  In September 2002 he published his second book with his wife Jonna entitled “Spy Dust.” Warner Brothers has made a feature film based on the rescue of the hostages out of the Canadian embassy in Tehran.  The film, called ARGO, which stars and was directed by Ben Affleck, will open nationally in October 2012.  Tony has just finished a complete retelling of the operation (ARGO: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled off the Most Audacious Rescue in History), which will be published just prior to the film’s release (Sept 13th 2012.)

Mendez continues to paint, to lecture and consult to the U.S. Intelligence Community. He has published articles in their journals and he and his wife are founding board members of the International Spy Museum in Washington DC.

At the 60th Anniversary of CIA’s Office of Technical Service, Tony Mendez’s parent organization, General David Petraeus, now Director of Central Intelligence called out Tony as one of three OTS officers in sixty years who had made a difference in how the CIA did its work. That, combined with plaudits from four previous Directors of Central Intelligence in reviewing his new book, ARGO, lend credence to his innovative spirit and courage.

the-master-of-disguise-siteTo learn more about Tony Mendez, his wife Jonna Mendez, and their other books visit their website The Master Of Disguise.

Matt BaglioMatt Baglio is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, which was published by Doubleday in 2009. The book has been translated into over eighteen languages, and adapted into a feature film in 2010, starring Anthony Hopkins. Baglio also served as a technical consultant on the film, which grossed nearly $100 million worldwide.

A tenacious researcher, Baglio strives to inhabit the worlds he documents in his books. In the process of working on The Rite, he interviewed close to twenty exorcists and sat in on more than thirty official Catholic exorcisms, one of only a handful of outsiders ever to do so.

Baglio’s interests are varied and over the years he has worked as an editor and contributor for a variety of magazines and news organizations including COLORS and the Associated Press.

Currently Baglio is at work on a variety of projects, including a novel, as well as a graphic novel that is being illustrated by an artist who has worked for Marvel and DC.

Born and raised in southern California, Baglio divides his time between California and Italy.

Matt-Baglio-siteTo learn more about Matt Baglio and his other books visit his website at www.mattbaglio.com