Famous for his work with the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), he was instrumental in the Iran Hostage Crisis' "Canadian Caper" hostage rescue operation. After retiring from the CIA, he penned several memoirs and nonfiction works, including Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA (1999).
He spent his childhood in Eureka, Nevada, and his teen years in Colorado. After attending the University of Colorado, he pursued a career as an illustrator and graphic designer and was ultimately hired as an artist for the CIA's Technical Services Division.
In 1980, he received the CIA's prestigious Intelligence Star.
His marriage to Karen Mendez resulted in three children, including an artist son named Antonio Tobias Mendez. Following his first wife's death, Mendez married fellow CIA agent Jonna Goeser; the couple subsequently welcomed a son.
Mendez is portrayed by Ben Affleck in the acclaimed 2012 thriller Argo.