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As part of an Allied mission tasked with saving works of art during World War II, a homesick James Rorimer told his wife in a December 1944 letter from liberated Paris that he was working hard but worried about how much he was achieving.Rorimer, then 39 and a curator at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, went on to carry out his mission successfully, helping to discover where works of art looted by the Nazis were tucked away across Europe. He was a leading figure in a group of 350 men and women from Allied countries attached to the U.S. Army's Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section. In the new movie "The Monuments Men," Matt Damon portrays a character inspired by the real-life Rorimer, who died in 1966 at age 60 . One of Rorimer's major feats was gaining the trust of Rose Valland, the French art expert who had been allowed to stay behind at Paris' Jeu de Paume after the Nazis made it the base for their looting operation.
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