Another Cameo by ‘Forrest Grier’

October 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

Remember the July/August 2011 issue featuring Rosey Grier ’56 H&HD?

The cover shot was a play on Rosey’s Forrest Gump-like ubiquity in American history. From a friend to Jackie and Robert Kennedy in the 1960s, to a frequent guest star in ’70s sitcoms, to a player in the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-’90s, Rosey just seems to pop up everywhere.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me, really, when Rosey’s name surfaced in a Wired magazine feature I read yesterday afternoon. The story explains the unlikely way the CIA helped smuggle six American embassy workers out of Iran in 1980. The plan was fascinatingly elaborate; the Americans were disguised as a Canadian film crew for a fictional production company, supposedly scouting out locations in Tehran for a fake sci-fi flick. It’s the true story behind Ben Affleck’s new movie, Argo, which opens today.

Where does Rosey Grier fit in? Well, the escape plan was so detailed that the fake movie required a real script. A Hollywood makeup artist hired by the CIA suggested a project he’d been approached about months earlier — a big-budget adaptation of a zany fantasy novel called Lord of Light, complete with robots, spaceships, and levitating cars. One of the film’s prospective stars: Rosey Grier.

The real movie fizzled out during the production stage in 1979, but the script, with its painstakingly detailed scenes and concept drawings, was a perfect candidate for the CIA’s ruse.

Makes me wonder if Rosey’s name comes up in Argo. Planning to see the movie this weekend? Let us know if Rosey gets a mention at pennstaterletters@psu.edu.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

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Entry filed under: The Penn Stater Magazine. Tags: , , .

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