Terry A. Anderson (born October 27, 1947) is an American journalist. He reported for the Associated Press. In 1985, he was taken hostage by Shiite Hezbollah militants or the Islamic Jihad Organization and held until 1991. In 2004, he ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio State Senate.
Anderson was born in Lorain, Ohio and raised in Batavia, New York. He graduated from Batavia High School in 1965. 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. 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. He then joined the Associated Press, serving in Asia and Africa before being assigned to Lebanon as chief Mideast correspondent in 1983.
On March 16, 1985, Anderson, who was the Middle East bureau chief for the Associated Press, 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; David P. Jacobsen, administrator at the American University Hospital of Beirut; Presbyterian minister Benjamin Weir; 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.
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. He has written a best selling memoir of his experience as a hostage, titled 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.
Anderson for some time lived in Nicholasville, Kentucky, teaching journalism and diversity at the University of Kentucky. In 2009, Anderson joined the faculty of the School of Journalism at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. In November 2009, he filed for bankruptcy under chapter 7. In 2011, he became a visiting professional at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. In 2013, he acted as Honorary Chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-profit that supports press freedom around the globe. In 2014, he moved to Hidden Village in Gainesville, Florida, to teach a course in International Journalism at the University of Florida.
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. Lawrence Jenco was a former Catholic Relief Services director in Beirut who also was kidnapped. The two men met in jail. Jenco, who died in 1996, wrote his memoirs, Bound to Forgive, to which Anderson wrote the preface.
In December 2003 Terry Anderson announced his candidacy on the Democratic ticket to represent the 20th District in the Ohio Senate. His opponent was Republican candidate Joy Padgett, who had been appointed to the seat earlier in the term. Padgett ran controversial ads suggesting that Anderson would be soft on terrorism: the ads showed Anderson shaking hands with one of his former kidnappers. He received 46% of the vote in a district that leans Republican; the seat has been held by Republicans since 1977.
Anderson has been married twice. He met his first wife, Mihoko "Mickey" Anderson, while he was a Marine stationed with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service in Japan. They had one daughter, Gabrielle Anderson (born 1976). They later divorced. In 1982, he married a Lebanese native from a Maronite Christian family, Madeleine Bassil; they had one daughter, Sulome Anderson, born in 1985, three months after he was taken hostage. His daughter Sulome, a freelance journalist based in New York City and Beirut, is known for posing for a photograph kissing her formerly Orthodox Jewish boyfriend with a placard stating "Jews and Arabs REFUSE to be ENEMIES."
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:
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.