On January 16, 1979, the Shah of Iran Mohamad Reza Pahlavi, left the royal palace, the Peacock Throne and his beloved country Iran for the last time, commencing what became a 19-month odyssey into exile. He wondered hopelessly from Egypt to Morocco, Bahamas, Mexico, the US, then Panama and back again to Egypt where he died furtively at the age of 60. His death had profound consequences for the future of the Middle East and the world, yet the untold medical story of the last King of Iran has to date remained a puzzling mystery. By unraveling the secrecy surrounding this critical period of history, beginning from the onset of the Shah’s illness, to the diagnosis/misdiagnosis and maltreatment, “A Dying King” exposes the main causes of the Iranian Revolution, the pursuant 444 days hostage crisis, and the adversarial relations between the US and Iran.
Jorge Cervantes, MD
Dr Cervantes is a general surgeon with more than 50 years of experience at the Centro Médico ABC (The American British Cowdray Medical Center) in Mexico City. In his book “The Voice of My Memory” he details his encounters with different personalities as The Shah of Iran, Bill Clinton, Fidel Castro, Mikhail Gorbachov, Pablo Neruda, Diego Rivera and many others.
Morton Coleman, MD
Dr. Morton Coleman (New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY) is a medical oncologist who specializes in the treatment of patients with lymphoma, multiple myeloma, leukemia, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He shares his expertise through clinical professorships and as a member and chairman of numerous medical and scientific committees.
Born in Tehran on 16 October 1928, Ardeshir Zahedi is the son of General Fazlollah Zahedi, who served as prime minister of Iran after the fall of Mohammed Mossadegh. He married the daughter of the Shah of Iran, Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi; the marriage ended in divorce in 1964. Zahedi served as the country’s foreign minister (1966-1971) and its ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s.
Gaspar Garcia De Parades, MD
A graduate of Cornell University medical school, specializing in surgery at Boston hospitals run by Harvard University, Gaspar is a Panamanian hand-trained surgeon and a vocational educator. He served as President of the National Medical Association, President of FEPAFEM, Panama’s Minister of Health and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at The National University of Panama.
Manouchehr Ganji, PhD
Dr Manouchehr Ganji served as Iran’s Minister for Education from1976 to 1979, as well as Minister of Science and Higher Education during the school year of 1977-78. He had earlier acted as an advisor to Prime Minister Hoveida between the years of 1974 and 76.
Abbas Safavian, MD
Dr. Abbas Safavian was born in Shiraz in 1308. He completed his medical degree in France and returned to Iran to serve. There he taught at the Medical School and became one of Iran’s leading medical professors. He was appointed as Mohammad Reza Shah’s private physician, and was his special physician until the end of his life.
Amir Aslan Afshar
Amir Aslan Afshar was the son of Camila Saed and Emir Massoud of the Afshar dynasty (Nadir Shah). He graduated in 1939 at the Hindenburg Oberrealschule Berlin-Wilmersdorf and received his doctorate in 1942 at the University of Vienna for Doctor of Political Science. From 1977 to 1979 Afshar was Chief of Protocol at the court of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He left Iran with the Shah on January 16, 1979.
Björn Thorbjarnarson, MD.
Bjorn Thorbjarnarson went to the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell medical center as an intern/resident in 1948. He completed his residency in 1955. He joined the CUMC faculty in 1954 as an instructor. He rose to attending surgeon in 1964; clinical professor of surgery in 1968 and professor of surgery in 1972. He was acting chairman from 11/1974-09/1975.
Leon Morgenstern MD
Surgeon, scholar, humanist, medical researcher and prolific author, Leon Morgenstern (July 15, 1919 – December 23, 2012) was born in Pittsburgh. He earned his medical degree from NYU College of Medicine, then served two years with the U.S. Army Medical Corps before completing surgical training at Queens General Hospital. He moved to Los Angeles in 1952, where he became the inaugural Chairman for Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a post he held until 1988.
Lyn Boyd-Judson, PhD
Lyn Boyd-Judson is co-chair of the Oxford Initiative for Global Ethics. For over 10 years she was executive director of the University of Southern California (USC) Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics where she served as UNESCO Chair for Humanities and Ethics. For three years, she was executive director and co-chair of the board of the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights. She is currently matriculated at Oxford University in International Human Rights Law with a degree expected in 2019. She founded the Global Women’s Narratives Project and serves as its director.
Jerry Berlin, PhD
A leading aviation consulting psychologist and an experienced pilot, Jerry Berlin received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1961. He studied pilot learning, behavior, discipline, personality and thought processes for over 50 years. As a visiting professor, he lectured at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology.
Ultimately, though, it’s the stranger-than-fiction nature of this eye-opening tale that makes the film so vital and involving.
Expertly weaving old footage and current interviews, A Dying King is an exploration of the Shah of Iran’s health, both in and out of exile – and the sway it held over personal, commercial and governmental interests
“A Dying King” adds an additional piece to the puzzle of how the Shah lost his throne in Iran, an event that reverberates to this day
an interesting look inside what caused the Iran Hostage Crisis, along with long-term ripple effects with U.S. relations in the Middle East