Dr. Benway

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Dr. Benway is the name of a recurring character in many of William S. Burroughs' novels, including Naked Lunch and Nova Express. He is referred to only as "Dr. Benway" or "Doc Benway" (his first name is never revealed). He lacks a conscience and is more interested in his surgical performance than his patients' well-being.

Cultural references[edit]

In the 1984 film Repo Man, Dr. Benway is paged over the intercom in the hospital.

In the 1991 film adaptation of Naked Lunch, Benway was portrayed by Roy Scheider.

In 2004, in Season 5 of C.S.I., a surgeon who accidentally kills patients during back-alley gender reassignment surgery is named Dr. Benway.

In the 2010 film Beyond the Black Rainbow, the antagonist, Dr. Barry Nyle, is shown taking pills from a prescription bottle with a "Benway's Pharmacy" sticker on the label.

In the 2012 Simon R. Green novel The Bride Wore Black Leather,[1] Doctor Benway is a staff physician at the Hospice of the Blessed Saint Margaret in London's Nightside, where she cares for "people who have been taken and changed, physically and mentally, to adapt them to live on other worlds, or in other realities." Unlike the original Doctor Benway, Green's is female, cares deeply about her patients, and has a first name—Emily, but she also has roots in 1960s drug culture, where she was known as Princess Starshine.

Internet persona[edit]

The character and name was appropriated for what was perhaps the first online persona ever recognized. This virtual character posted on the Community Memory BBS, the first electronically accessible bulletin board system.[2]


  1. ^ Green, Simon R. (2012). The Bride Wore Black Leather. New York: Ace. p. 310. ISBN 978-0-425-25644-2. 
  2. ^ Community Memory Project, 1972-74, at The WELL, including information about Benway