Betty Mahmoody

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Betty Mahmoody (Persian:بتى محمودى) born June 9, 1945 in Alma, Michigan, is an American author and public speaker best known for her book, Not Without My Daughter, which was subsequently made into a film of the same name. She is the President and co-founder of One World: For Children, an organization that promotes understanding between cultures and strives to offer security and protection to children of bi-cultural marriages.

Not Without My Daughter[edit]

Her book, Not Without My Daughter, is an account of her experiences in 1984–86, when she left Alpena, Michigan to go to Iran with her husband and daughter for what she was promised would be a short visit. Once there, she and her daughter were held against their will. It was made into a 1991 film starring Sally Field as Betty.

According to the book, she and her husband, Sayed Bozorg Mahmoody, and her daughter, Mahtob Mahmoody, traveled to Iran in August 1984 for what her husband said would be a two-week visit with his family in Tehran. Once the two weeks were over, however, he refused to allow his wife and child to leave. Mahmoody became trapped in a nation that was hostile to Americans, a family hostile to her, and an abusive husband. According to the book, Mahmoody's husband separated her from her daughter for weeks on end. He also assaulted her and threatened to kill her if she tried to leave.[1]

She eventually escaped with her daughter. The book details her 500 mi (800 km) escape to Turkey and the help she received from many Iranians.[2][3] Upon returning to America in 1986, Betty filed for divorce in US court.

Other books[edit]

Betty Mahmoody compiled stories of other parents whose foreign spouses estranged them from their children in the book For the Love of a Child (1992).

Sayed Bozorg Mahmoody[edit]

Alexis Kouros collaborated with Mahmoody's ex-husband to create a documentary, Without My Daughter, to counter the claims in Betty's book.

On August 23, 2009, Sayed Bozorg Mahmoody died in Tehran, Iran, aged 70. The state news agency IRNA quoted his nephew, Majid Ghodsi, as reporting that he died in a hospital from kidney problems and other complications.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brophy Champion, Allison (November 2, 2008). "Not afraid of change". Star Exponent. Archived from the original on September 3, 2010. 
  2. ^ Mahmoody, B. (1991), Not Without My Daughter, St. Martin's Paperbacks; Mti edition.
  3. ^ Biography of Betty Mahmoody, AEI Speakers Bureau web site Retrieved 2010-09-15