Terry A. Anderson

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For other people of the same name, see Terry Anderson (disambiguation).

Terry A. Anderson (born October 27, 1947) is an American journalist. He reported for the Associated Press.[1] In 1985, he was taken hostage by Shiite Hezbollah militants and held until 1991.

In 2004, he ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio State Senate.

Early life[edit]

Anderson was born in Lorain, Ohio and raised in Batavia, New York. He graduated from Batavia High School in 1965.[2]

A professional journalist, he was in the United States Marine Corps for six years, serving as a combat journalist. He also served two tours of duty in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.[3] After his discharge he enrolled at Iowa State University, graduating in 1974 with dual degrees: one in journalism and mass communication, the other in political science. 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[edit]

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. He was the longest-held of the American hostages captured in an effort to drive U.S. military forces from Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War.

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; Jerry 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 Alann Steen, Jesse Turner, and Robert Polhill.

Anderson was released on December 4, 1991 and says he has forgiven his captors.[4]

Post-captivity life[edit]

Since his release, Anderson 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 talk show guest, a columnist, and a radio talk-show host. As of 2013, he acted as Honorary Chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-profit that supports press freedom around the globe.[5]

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. Estimates put the amount he actually received at $26 million.[6]

Anderson for some time lived in Nicholasville, Kentucky, teaching journalism and diversity at the University of Kentucky.[7] In 2009, Anderson joined the faculty of the School of Journalism at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.[8][9] In November 2009, he filed for bankruptcy under chapter 7.[10]

Retired, Anderson lived on a farm in Athens County, Ohio with his second wife, Madeleine "Maddy" Bassil. He was previously married to Mihoko "Mickey" Anderson.

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 also opened the Blue Gator, a blues bar in Athens, Ohio which drew 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 2011, Anderson became a visiting professional at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.[11]

Anderson moved to Gainesville, Florida, in 2014 and teaches a course in International Journalism at the University of Florida.[12]

2004 State Senate Campaign[edit]

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.[13] He received 46% of the vote[14] in a district that leans Republican; the seat has been held by Republicans since 1977.[15]


  • 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(http://crossroads.cdlex.org/). Volume 20, Issue 3, April 12, 2009
  1. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/11/nyregion/terry-anderson-receives-hero-s-welcome-at-ap.html
  2. ^ "Bust of Anderson Finds New Home at Batavia High". The Buffalo News. April 9, 1993. "A bust of former hostage Terry Anderson, consigned to a cluttered storeroom a few months ago after standing in the Genesee Country Mall during much of his captivity, is headed for a place of honor in Batavia High School. Anderson's classmate Stephen M. Hawley, to whom he had entrusted the bust, chose to donate it to the school from which they both graduated in 1965." 
  3. ^ Say, Peggy (1991). Forgotten. Simon & Schuster. pp. 9, 14–15. 
  4. ^ "KY: Former Mideast hostage Terry A. Anderson speaks to college". Apex MediaWire. April 15, 2010. 
  5. ^ "About CPJ: Board of Directors". Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  6. ^ Phillips, Jim (2008-06-25). "Anderson may lose Athens farm". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  7. ^ Alessi, Ryan (December 19, 2008). "Former Middle East hostage Terry Anderson to teach at UK". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  8. ^ "Former AP Reporter/Middle East Hostage Teaching at UK". University of Kentucky News. January 15, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Terry Anderson Gives University of Kentucky Students a Global Perspective". YouTube.com. September 25, 2009. 
  10. ^ Phillips, Jim (November 13, 2009). "Terry Anderson, ex-hostage, files for bankruptcy". The Columbus Dispatch. 
  11. ^ http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/04/hostage_ex-terry_anderson_to_t.html
  12. ^ http://www.gainesville.com/article/20140503/ARTICLES/140509875
  13. ^ Ridgeway, James (Oct 19, 2004). "GOP Target: Terry Anderson". The Village Voice. 
  14. ^ "2004 election results". Ohio Secretary of State. November 2004. Archived from the original on May 15, 2006. 
  15. ^ Fischer, Ben (December 30, 2003). "Anderson announces candidacy". Parkersburg News and Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 23, 2004.