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Terry A. Anderson (born October 27, 1947) is the best known, and longest held, hostage of a group of Americans believed to be captured by Shiite Hezbollah militants in an attempt to drive U.S. military forces from Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War.


Early life

Anderson was born in Lorain, Ohio and raised in Batavia, New York. A professional journalist, he was in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, where he was a combat correspondent (1969-70). After his discharge he enrolled at Iowa State University, studying broadcast journalism and graduating in 1974. Then he joined the Associated Press, serving in Asia and Africa before being assigned to Lebanon as the chief Mideast correspondent in 1983.

Hostage in Lebanon

On March 16, 1985, Anderson had just finished a tennis game when he was abducted from the street in Beirut, placed in the trunk of a car, and taken to a secret location where he was imprisoned. For the next six years and nine months, he was held captive, being moved periodically to new sites. His captors were a group of Hezbollah Shiite Muslims who were supported by Iran in supposed retaliation for Israel's use of U.S. weapons and aid in its 1982–83 strikes against Muslim and Druze targets in Lebanon.

Held at the same time were several other U.S. citizens, including Thomas Sutherland, an administrator at the American University of Beirut; Catholic priest, Father Lawrence Jenco; Presbyterian minister Benjamin Wier; Jeremy Levin, CNN's Beirut bureau chief; Frank Reed, head of the Lebanese International School; Joseph Cicippio, deputy controller of the American University of Beirut; Edward Tracey, an itinerant poet; and Professors Allen Steen, Jesse Turner, and Robert Polhill.

Anderson was released on December 4, 1991.

Present life

Since his release Anderson has been actively involved in freedom of the press issues. He has taught courses at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He has also been a frequent talk show guest, a columnist, a radio talk-show host and an activist for charitable causes.

He has written a best selling memoir of his experience as a hostage, entitled Den of Lions. He filed suit against the Iranian government for his captivity, and in 2002 was awarded a multimillion dollar settlement from frozen Iranian assets.

Retired, Anderson now lives on a farm in Athens County, Ohio with his second wife, Madeleine "Maddy" Bassil (Sulome's mother.) Gabrielle, Anderson's older daughter from his previous marriage to Mihoko "Mickey" Anderson, whom he met and married while stationed with the U.S. Marine Corps in Japan, lives in Tokyo and works as a paralegal. Anderson's younger daughter, Sulome, lives in Manhattan and graduated from New York University's (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts as a theater major.

With some of his settlement, Anderson and actress Kieu Chinh co-founded the Vietnam Children's Fund, which has built schools in Vietnam attended by more than 12,000 students. He also created the Father Lawrence Jenco Foundation with a $100,000 endowment to honor and support people who do charitable and community service projects in Appalachia. His friend, Father Jenco, who died in 1996, also wrote his memoirs, Bound to Forgive, to which Anderson wrote the preface.

A lifelong fan of blues music, Anderson has also opened the Blue Gator, a blues bar in Athens, Ohio which draws regional and national acts, from Cincinnati's Greg Schaber to Delta blues legend Big Jack Johnson.

In an interview in the spring 1995 newsletter of the School of Journalism Alumni Association, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, by Will Norton Jr., Anderson is quoted:

Is there going to be peace in the world? I’m a Christian. I believe eventually there will be, at the second coming. I think we are moving into an era of greater, or if not peace, at least of greater prosperity.
Think about it: In the last 10 to 15 years there are hundreds of millions of people in the world who are living in a greater degree of individual responsibility and freedom and perhaps dignity than there were 15 years ago. That’s true in eastern Europe, in Latin America, even in Asia.
That great process of history, of thousands of years of an increase in a dignity of the individual, seems to have been halted for a good period of time by the growth of totalitarian societies, and those are breaking up now.
Certainly the totalitarian instinct has not gone away. There are a great many wars going on and struggles by peoples, but that ice jam, that blockage that was representative of the domination of a third of the world by communism, is gone. I think that’s reason for great optimism.

In 2009, Anderson joined the faculty of the School of Journalism at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky[1][2]. In November of 2009, he filed for bankruptcy under chapter 7.[1]

He is currently teaching journamlism at the University Of Kentucky

2004 State Senate Campaign

In December 2003 Terry Anderson announced his candidacy on the Democratic ticket to represent the 20th District in the Ohio Senate. Anderson's opponent was Republican candidate Joy Padgett, who had been appointed to the seat earlier in the term. Padgett ran controversial[citation needed] ads suggesting that Anderson would be soft on terrorism; the ads showed Anderson shaking hands with one of his former kidnappers.[3] He received 46% of the vote[4] in a district that leans Republican; the seat has been held by Republicans since 1977.[5]


  • Harvey, L. 2009. Former hostage Anderson speaks on captivity, forgiveness (Based on Anderson's Keynote speech for the Lexington Kentucky city-wide Reconciliation Week program at the W.T. Young Library auditorium at University of Kentucky, Lexington KY on March 6, 2009). Cross Roads Newsletter (Newsletter for the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, KY( Volume 20, Issue 3, April 12, 2009
  1. ^  Village Voice on controversial anti-Anderson ad
  2. ^  Election results from Ohio Secretary of State
  3. ^  Parkersburg (West Virginia) News & Sentinel coverage of Anderson campaign announcement
  4. ^  Former AP Reporter/Middle East Hostage Teaching at UK
  5. ^  University of Kentucky video
  1. ^ [ /13/anderson.ART_ART_11-13-09_B1_ORFLIED.html?sid=101 "Terry Anderson, ex-hostage, files for bankruptcy"]. /13/anderson.ART_ART_11-13-09_B1_ORFLIED.html?sid=101. 


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