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Terry Anderson is the scion of Australian aristocrats. He once served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, with top-secret clearance. His first wife died in his arms after he mistakenly shot her on a kangaroo-hunting expedition. And he is a 17-time U.S. national champion in rapid-fire pistol shooting.
So after a drive in Anderson's 2006 Bentley over the Lehman Causeway, it's a little frightening to ask the Aventura man about the two and a half years he spent in federal prison — particularly because the inquiry is related to the $75,000 cache of unregistered weapons, including machine guns and silencers, that federal agents found at his Texas home in 2003.
"Be very, very careful," he says. "It was a very simple matter of someone trying to grab a lot of money. It was done by a woman trying to get her way."
The 68-year-old Anderson is a real-life character out of a spy thriller who splits his time between Miami and Dallas. These days, his life revolves around Bentleys and Rolls-Royces. He's the South Florida version of the Most Interesting Man in the World.
Anderson's grandfather, Edward "Red Ted" Theodore, the son of a Romanian immigrant, was a union organizer who rose to political prominence in Australia and became premier of the State of Queensland in the 1920s, according to a 2004 story in New Times' sister paper the Dallas Observer.
Terry's mom, Monica, was an aristocrat who had a debut in the Court of St. James. His father died young, and Terry studied economics at Sydney University before dropping out and starting a construction business.
His passion for cars began around age 18, when he bought a hand-built Bristol automobile that could run 120 miles per hour. His parents, he says, "weren't very supportive of me in those days, so I actually went out and worked on nightshift."
The future Olympian was also interested in guns. He started pistol training at age 19 with his brother Tony, who was a member of the Australian Olympic team. A year later, he felt confident of his skills. "I wrote down the score [after a shooting practice] and suddenly realized I had just shot a score that would've been the Olympic record. And then I thought, Gee, maybe I can do this seriously," he recalled during an interview while sitting comfortably on a piano-lounge sofa in the condominium building in Aventura where he says he lives.
Guns also played a role in his life a couple of years later. His first wife, Babette, died in Australia in early 1967 after a rifle he was loading went off while both were hunting kangaroos. The bullet struck her in the head. The death was ruled accidental.
Anderson eventually overcame his grief and got more involved in pistol shooting. He won the Asian Games, and by the time he came to the United States in 1973 on a business visa, he had earned three Australian national championships. He put aside his grandfather's union heritage and expanded his Australian housing construction business in two right-to-work states: Louisiana and Mississippi. "Very quickly I found out that I was making more money [in the U.S.] than I was making in Australia," he says, "because of the Australian taxation problems, which in those days were pretty severe, and also the unions, which I didn't have to fight here."
The following year, he joined the U.S. National Guard as a reserve officer to get a green card and started coaching the U.S. national team for rapid pistol shooting. He married his second wife, a Dutch swimsuit model, around that time, but they soon divorced. The construction entrepreneur briefly coached the Brazilian shooting team and then, in 1976, wed again, to Marylynn, in New Orleans.
During the next three decades, he won 17 U.S. national pistol titles. In 1980, he was a part of the U.S. Olympics team in the 25-meter rapid-fire pistol category. But his hopes were dashed when President Jimmy Carter boycotted the Moscow Olympics as a protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
His handlers in the U.S. Army Reserve apparently thought highly of him. "I was the Pentagon liaison to Congress. I think the basic criteria for getting picked for the job was that being a reservist, I could easily be fired," he says with a smirk.
Court documents show that in the 1980s, he was on the board of directors of the Iterrand Corp., where he was given five prototype silencers to demonstrate to the Department of Defense. During those years, he was also named president of Combat Core Certification Professionals Inc., a company with four classified contracts with the U.S. government and the Department of Defense.
His third marriage fell apart in 2003. While he was traveling overseas, Marylynn turned him in to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and explosives in Dallas in exchange for immunity, according to court documents. She allowed federal agents to search and seize an unregistered cache of weapons including an Uzi machine gun, a Thompson gun from the Al Capone era, two Sten guns, and five silencers. The next day, on February 19, 2003, Marylynn sued for divorce. She later moved to take over Data Recovery Services, the company they jointly owned.
I know Terry Anderson.
I am the Sister of His first Wife.
I will never get over the fact he shot her.
My beautiful 20 year old Sister.
He says it is an accident .
What can I say. I have been looking for Him for years.
An address would be appreciated.
I have waited a long time to find Mr.Terrence Basil Anderson.