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The Oscar-winning 1978 film “Midnight Express” told the story of 23-year-old college student Billy Hayes – his imprisonment for drug smuggling and his escape from a prison in Istanbul, Turkey.  But for legal reasons, neither the film nor the book, authored by Hayes, was completely accurate.  Now, Billy tells the full story of being sent to the infamous Turkish Sagmalcilar prison and eventually escaping. Locked Up Abroad: The Real Midnight Express at Wednesday June 30 at 10P et/pt.

NOTE: The live blog is now over. Billy will try to respond to any unanswered questions in the next week.

Was there a Jimmy and Max?
Yes.

Do you stay in touch with Max and Jimmy?
No I haven’t had any contact.

With all things considered, do you have any regrets?
Immense amounts of regrets, particularly for all the pain I caused my family.

What was the first thing you remember doing when you finally made it back to the United States?
I stepped off plane at Kennedy airport into a press conference and I was answering questions like I’m doing now.

Now that you can legally tell everything that happened, will you write another book with the missing details from the first one included or even look into making another movie which will tell your incredible story more accurately?
Not another movie because Locked Up Abroad did what I wanted to do for that. But I have another book that is in the process of going to publishers as we speak called Letters from a Turkish Prison 1970-1975. And it is what it exactly says, it’s a collection of all the letters I wrote home to people. They kept those letters and gave them back to me which I used when I first wrote Midnight Express but now I’ve organized them and annotated them and I’m hoping that pretty soon they’ll be coming out. I’m pretty excited about it.

Were the book and movie worth the time in prison?
That’s a good question. I have to say yes because it all led to Cannes Film Festival where I met wife who is still my wife today.

Who was the American named TEX who saw you at the airport and took you through Istanbul at gunpoint? Was he Turkish, Interpol, State Dept/CIA, Do you know even now? Did he exist or was he just a literary device?
He was a real guy. An American which is what I most liked, just because I needed to see an American, I thought that would be helpful. He never told me his name, I called him Tex in the book just because he had a Texas accent. But I’m assuming he was a DEA agent and he’s the guy that took me from the airport back to the first lockup place in Istanbul.

Did you really receive hard bastinado on your bare soles? How many strokes did you receive and was it very painful?
Yes it’s a form of punishment in the Middle East called folaka. I guess they must have hit me 8, 10, 12 times, I wasn’t counting. It hurt like hell. I thought they were killing me but I found out later it really wasn’t a bad beating because they didn’t break any bones. That’s how you know if it’s a bad beating; if they break bones. They were just teaching me a lesson. New prisoner, it’s his first night, and he got in a fight. They taught me a lesson; a very effective lesson.

Have you seen that other prisoners had been tortured in similar way? Was this method used also as a punishment for disobedience in prisons?
I didn’t seen any. But it happened all the time. That’s how they punished people; beating them on their feet with a stick.

Did you and your girlfriend stay together during and after your imprisonment?
I knew her since high school. She was one of my oldest friends in the world. I spent some time with her when I first got back in New York, but I was so crazy when I first got home and my life was so wild with all this, she went away. She was looking for someone more solid, somebody more together than me. But we have remained good friends to this day. In fact I just talked to her this afternoon on the telephone. She lives in the mountains in Colorado and does not get the National Geographic Channel, so she has a DVD of the show and is watching it as we speak.

Did you really walk the wheel? Why do people walk the wheel? What is meant by walking it in the opposite direction?
Yes I did walk it. This is a house for criminally insane, people that are totally out of their mind. They were all in there for hideous crimes. It was just something to do. In prison everybody walks. You either walk up and back or around and around, this was a natural place to walk. There is something political about it. All good turks walk to the right because the left is communist. Turkey is a very anti-communist country, so all turks walked in one direction. One morning I got down there so early nobody was there and I just was feeling a little obstinate and getting a little crazy myself and started walking the other way, which created such a furor of all the people trying to get me to walk the right way. I kept fighting to go in the opposite direction which shows that I was probably getting pretty crazy myself at that point.

Did you really fight with Rifki and bite his tongue out?
He informed on a friend of mine, and got him beaten really bad so I attacked Rifki trying to kill him, which sounds like such a terrible thing to say now, but at the time that’s what I wanted to do. I was not successful, guards came in and broke us up but in the film, they thought it would be very symbolic to have the informer’s tongue was bitten out. I did not do that, although I wanted to.

What if anything, happened during the 3 weeks it took to get back to New York. Were you on the run, or hiding in a safe place?
When I swam across the river and got into Greece, the Greek soldiers found me out in the middle of the forbidden zone. They kept me in a little cell in the woods on the military base for about 12 days while they decided what to do with me. But of course I knew they were never going to send me back to Turkey, so it was a good 12 days. I mean I can stand on my head for 12 days knowing I’m going free. Then I flew to Amsterdam for I think four or five days in Amsterdam before actually getting back to New York.

Are you originally from Milwaukee or were you going to school there?
No I went to school there. Originally I was born in the Bronx, grew up on Long Island and went to school in Milwaukee.

Comments

  1. EugeneLPhillips
    June 23, 2010, 5:24 pm

    Can anyone you know help me solve my brother’s 26yr. old murder and may file a civil suit.I feel there was a police
    coverup and why.I am a veteran army and navy 50% sevice connected with no resouces.I would be willing to talk to you on camera history or maybe my part in it.I am now 19yrs
    sober, 60yrs. old and would like very much to see the people brought to justus if they only get probation.Since I
    have been sober here in asheville,nc,a judge restored me to society and I sit on a civil jury. 2 letters of appreciation from state dart program,worked 10yrs for manna
    food bank.Please help get this done before I die.have a lot
    of health problems.Can fax Or special copy death certificate. Thanks, Eugene L Phillips ph-828-298-8269

  2. John Jones
    June 29, 2010, 2:55 am

    Who was the American named TEX who saw you at the airport and took you through Istanbul at gunpoint? Was he Turkish, Interpol, State Dept/CIA, Do you know even now? Did he exist or was he just a literary device?
    als135@yahoo.com

  3. mbalkanli
    June 29, 2010, 8:45 am

    What I see while watching the Preview Video was, even this documentary was not shooted in Istanbul. All I hope to hear from you is, confessing about how much exaggeration this movie accommodates. Looking forward to watch whole of it.

  4. aj1162
    June 29, 2010, 9:14 am

    It is well known that prisoners were tortured during interrogation. Did you really receive hard bastinado on your bare soles? How many strokes did you receive and was it very painful? Have you seen that other prisoners had been tortured in similar way? Was this method used also as a punishment for disobedience in prisons?

  5. mspearin
    June 29, 2010, 10:52 pm

    1) Are you the same Bill Hayes that did some Beckett in Hollywood a couple of years ago? (I won’t tell you how much I liked it, because then you’re bound to say your the same fellow!)

    2) Are you also the same Bill Hayes that posts on Ebert’s website under your own name?

  6. ITS_JUST_ME
    June 30, 2010, 5:23 pm

    I have a few questions! It is so neat to get a chance to ask!

    1. Was there a Jimmy and Max?
    2. Did you really fight with Rifki and bite his tongue out?
    3. Did you really try to escape through the walls & catacombs?
    4. Were you really kept in the criminally insane section of the prison?
    5. Do you stay in touch with anyone you knew while in prison? (max & jimmy mostly)
    6. Did you and your girlfriend stay together during and after your imprisonment?
    7. Did you really walk the wheel? Why do people walk the wheel? What is meant by walking it in the opposite direction?
    8. What was the first thing you remember doing when you finally made it back to the United States?

  7. hmauf
    June 30, 2010, 5:26 pm

    With all things considered, do you have any regrets?
    Were the book and movie worth the time in prison?

  8. winsum44
    June 30, 2010, 6:09 pm

    So, which is it? Taped under the arms like was said in the 1999 Alinur Velidedeoğlu – Canne interview, or the looks way more cool " Yeah, I built a cast. Yeah, that’s the ticket!" version?

  9. ITS_JUST_ME
    June 30, 2010, 6:52 pm

    One more I just thought of. Now that you can legally tell everything that happened, will you write another book with the missing details from the first one included or even look into making another movie which will tell your incredible story more accurately?

  10. ITS_JUST_ME
    June 30, 2010, 7:32 pm

    I thought of another one. What if anything, happened during the 3 weeks it took to get back to New York. Were you on the run, or hiding in a safe place? It would be interesting to hear about those 3 weeks too!

  11. ITS_JUST_ME
    June 30, 2010, 7:37 pm

    Too bad the show is only an hour! I am sure you have enough stories to fill 3 or more hours!

  12. rachelita2
    July 1, 2010, 2:13 am

    Was the reenactment filmed in Morocco? It looks nothing like Turkey.

  13. slnik
    July 1, 2010, 2:22 am

    Are you originally from Milwaukee or were you going to school there?

  14. sazanedo
    July 1, 2010, 2:23 am

    hi billy how did you hang on knowing that you were going to be in jail for life did you really escape. are you still wanted by the turkish courts. your story is very inspiring in my life. god bless. thank you

  15. Kolchak
    July 1, 2010, 2:25 am

    What about your trial? How long was the process before you received your sentence? Did you have an opportunity to plead? Did you plead guilty?

  16. Kolchak
    July 1, 2010, 2:37 am

    I’m sorry — this is a difficult question… Do you think that Patrick’s murder had anything to do with the bringing the attention of the Turkish court and them taking another look at your case and changing your sentence?

  17. hmauf
    July 1, 2010, 2:38 am

    Have you ever been back to Istanbul?

  18. baseball6
    July 1, 2010, 2:38 am

    Did you actually bite that fellows tongue as in the movie

  19. impalasscars
    July 1, 2010, 2:39 am

    I find this very interesting as I’m watching this movie on my lunch break at work. I’m maybe 1/2 way into the movie as we speak. My buddy brings all these old movies in to watch on lunch. I’m recording this episode.

  20. sofacoach
    July 1, 2010, 2:40 am

    Hi Billy – did you ever ask or did your father ever offer to help you eascpe? How often were you allowed to stay in touch with your family?

  21. calken54
    July 1, 2010, 2:40 am

    Hey Billy how real was the movie? I don’t remember your friend being killed in the movie?

  22. jwa56
    July 1, 2010, 2:40 am

    as a no. babylon student i remember the story. we used to collect money for a fund for you. my friend mike dated your sister so we had first hand info.when we heard you got out it was like wow. then we heard the stories.

  23. sotipo
    July 1, 2010, 2:41 am

    Was the language a major issue? Did you already speak Turkish or did they know the English language? Was communication difficult?

  24. Tschreider
    July 1, 2010, 2:42 am

    Were the male love acts in the film actually real.

  25. tangoromelo
    July 1, 2010, 2:43 am

    billy, were you raped or did you have to kill anyone while you were in jail?

  26. mduke3
    July 1, 2010, 2:43 am

    What was your first thought when you were sentenced to 30yrs to life?

    How did you find out what really happened to your friend? or was it just an assumption?

    Considering the experiences you went through, would you do it again? I know that sounds stupid, but I am just wondering. Some experiences form us into who we are…

    Thanks for sharing your story,
    matt.duke@yahoo.com

  27. rebeccad
    July 1, 2010, 2:44 am

    was wondering if thats how prisons are now a days over there.. how do they get away with that?? would you ever go back there to see what it is in deed like today??

  28. yagmur
    July 1, 2010, 2:47 am

    Do you think they filmed everything that you went through? I don’t think they did a good job about picking other characters.

  29. StephenMalfas
    July 1, 2010, 2:48 am

    Once you got back, did the Turks try to get you back?

  30. larogar
    July 1, 2010, 2:51 am

    What happened to Hamid "the Bear"? Was he actually killed?

  31. floralparkmutt
    July 1, 2010, 2:51 am

    When violence broke out in the prison, was there any place you could seek refuge? Were you most at risk because of your low "rank"?

  32. rebeccad
    July 1, 2010, 2:52 am

    this is more of a comment than a question.. but i just wanted to say that ive never heard of you or your story but i love locked up abroad so i stayed up to watch it tonight and i must say.. ive been on the edge of the couch since ten pm. your amazing story just blows me away. i could not imagine feeling for one minute what you felt through that whole experience. i guess to say the least.. thanks for making my night worth staying up for.. and man.. i wish you the best!

  33. GloinSummer
    July 1, 2010, 2:53 am

    Hi Billy – Do you think since you have lived through this episode of life that you take more chances now? Did the experience embolden or humble you in the years since? Do you have children and what do they think of all this?

  34. Rudy
    July 1, 2010, 2:54 am

    How long did it take to take the boat back to the mainland? Were you afraid that you maybe sailed around the island or something? Was there nothing the U.S. embassy could do? Are you still wanted in Turkey? Can you travel around the world? Why hasn’t the U.S. extradited you back to Turkey since technically you are an escaped felon?

  35. tripuchos
    July 1, 2010, 2:55 am

    Did you really bite that guys’ tongue off or was that just hollywood getting creative?

  36. sofacoach
    July 1, 2010, 2:55 am

    One more Q: I saw you on Fox this morning and you mentioned there was a lot the movie left out. Has anyone ever approached you about a possible re-make with the "real" storyline?

  37. mlynnsmith8
    July 1, 2010, 2:55 am

    Hi Billy:

    How is your life today? My husband and I admire your courage.

    Michelle Smith
    mlynnsmith8@aol.com

  38. msgmaui
    July 1, 2010, 2:58 am

    what did you have or create to "hold on to" (emotionally, spiritually, psychologically) that kept you going from one day to the next, one moment to the next??.when the world around you is a nightmare what do you find within yourself that allows you to keep it together or at the very least keep you from totally self-destructing???

  39. john316
    July 1, 2010, 2:58 am

    maybe nat geographic can cover the armenian genocide. did you have any armenian cell mates???

  40. W, Mars
    July 1, 2010, 2:58 am

    I cannot feel the least bit sorry for you. You got what you deserved.

  41. Brian S.
    July 1, 2010, 2:59 am

    In the book, it never mentions that you had been to Turkey before and brought hash back to the States. Were you not aloud to speak about that before now?

  42. 007
    July 1, 2010, 3:00 am

    Billy, amazing story, thank you! The last country I would like to be locked up in is Turkey. What do you think of Turkey today?

  43. theBRA1N
    July 1, 2010, 3:00 am

    Hi Billy, great story on NatGeo. I’m wondering about the legal representation and support from the US Consulate that you had. Were the depictions in the original movie about that fairly accurate? Also, what advise would give some poor unfortunate person in your position today? Thanks.

  44. yagmur
    July 1, 2010, 3:00 am

    Oliver Stone has really changed the story. Probably people will laugh at his movie :) His movie made Turks so upset. Thank you for real story even it is not right place and with right people:))

  45. robert
    July 1, 2010, 3:01 am

    what was your first reaction when you saw the movie?

  46. rcalderon
    July 1, 2010, 3:02 am

    Hi Billy, Do you recognize that you committed a crime in a foreign land? You were a drug smuggler. Every country has a right to protect its border and its people, which you violated. I have no empathy for you. Perhaps you should have considered a more productive and legal way to make a living back in the late sixties.

  47. marquette
    July 1, 2010, 3:02 am

    Hey Crazy,
    John Collins, Marquette. Like to hook up. musicjones101@yahoo.com. Still in LA?
    Good to see you on TV amigo.

  48. Marisa
    July 1, 2010, 3:02 am

    Hey Billy, remember my mom Pamela Vitale? It’s her daughter, Marisa, you used to babysit me and my brother and now I’m watching you on TV after all these years, so cool!! I remember vividly a thanksgiving at your house and all I ate were olives. That ended badly for me, ha ha. I was young then, but I remember you so well!

  49. tufba
    July 1, 2010, 3:02 am

    How did you get to the Greek borderline from Imrali? Which cities did you pass from? I can guess you did not go to the Istanbul shore, but what was the route like?

  50. rbocash2000
    July 1, 2010, 3:03 am

    Billy, you are one of the bravest men on this earth. It is amazing you survived capture, beatings and final escape. I want to ask a question that you may not want to answer. I mean no disrespect to you. I am worried about a friend who is locked up abroad like you. Were you ever sexually molested? I am very worried about my friend. He is feminine. He is not able to take care of himself. How much danger is he in of being used and abused? I am sorry to have to ask you this question. He will be released in 3 years. I pray for him every day.

  51. jcblm5145
    July 1, 2010, 3:05 am

    billy how acuratly did the actors porteay you and did the show take place in same location you were at?

  52. KimJaffeEnterlin
    July 1, 2010, 3:05 am

    Hi Billy’
    This is Dave Enterlin,Seton Hall’65.
    I used to ride the bus with you and Barbara.
    Glad to see you’re ok.

  53. Jennifer
    July 1, 2010, 3:07 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. I saw the movie when I was a teenager and before I started traveling internationally. It made me very aware that the laws we take for granted in the U.S. do not apply everywhere.

    How do you think telling your story has affected people who intend to travel outside the U.S.

  54. totsuka
    July 1, 2010, 3:07 am

    Do you think we should make pot legal here in the USA? Personally, I don’t think so. tks

  55. silvana
    July 1, 2010, 3:09 am

    I was watching on T.V a lecture given by Betty Mahmoody’s husband, Fahed Mahmoody. It was at the university in Tehran and he made a comment on the author of your book William Hoffer. It was mentioned that he was racist to towards the Moslem culture and wanted to falsly portray to the rest of the world on how bad the Moslem people are. It is believed he exagerated every detail in the book Midnight Express to give the readers an impression how horrific the middle eastern countries or Moslem culture operate. What do you make of this?

  56. terrone
    July 1, 2010, 3:09 am

    Billy,

    I read your book while I was living abroad with a family in Marseilles, France. I was sixteen, and the family and the girl’s friends were ok, but being French, not the nicest people to be around all the time. I escaped into your book at night, and at times in the afternoon. I really felt one with you, and your book was a real adventure. I don’t know if it was your book, but before doing my Junior year in Florence, I wanted to visit Istanbul, but I took well to Italy, and did not travel outside of it too many times. Thanks for sharing your story, and maybe I’ll hit up Turkey with my wife. My friend at work said to be careful because they are always trying to cheat you. Do you think it is worth visiting? How can you travel off the beaten path, and keep from having people aggressively trying to swindle you?

  57. jpwestbound
    July 1, 2010, 3:10 am

    Why did Greece allow you to return to the USA and not send you back to Turkey?

  58. calken54
    July 1, 2010, 3:10 am

    Hey Billy I know about guilt we all have it, we all do bad (dumb)things. It was good your dad did come and see you and your mom stayed home. That would of been hard for her. What would I do? I don’t know you can only say your sorry so many times.

    Take care sorry your dad passed.

    Ken Reid

    krrvannuys54@sbcglobal.net

  59. John Jones
    July 1, 2010, 3:10 am

    Do you still smoke pot?

  60. Brucefont
    July 1, 2010, 3:11 am

    Hi Billy -

    Why was the movie version "Midnight Express" so very different from your real story? The version that you just told could not have been more different. Why was that?

    Bruce
    Miami, FL

  61. bayeleigh
    July 1, 2010, 3:14 am

    Billy – you mentioned at the beginning of the show that this was the first time you could tell the real story as you had been prevented from doing so before due to legal reasons. What kind of legal issues could have prevented you from telling the real story until now? I can only think that the Turkish government would be the entity having an issue…

  62. jcblm5145
    July 1, 2010, 3:14 am

    Billy, how accurately did the show describe your experiences. Was the show shot in the same places you were at?

  63. tim_68_58
    July 1, 2010, 3:14 am

    How much money did you make off a kilo in 1970? I know it wasn’t worth it now. Was your girlfriend in Turkey with you when you were arrested? I look forward to reading your new book.

  64. jarch
    July 1, 2010, 3:15 am

    Billy, The guys in alaska are looking for peeps to fish the Keni. You in? Next July 3rd week. Great show!!!!! R was in tears. Talk you soon. Say hi to W. for us.

    Arch

  65. t.duffey
    July 1, 2010, 3:16 am

    billy, please move on and forgive yourself. your story kept me from doing exactly what you tried to do so many years ago. you have saved countless people from that kind of terror by telling your story, be well, td.

  66. Vaughn
    July 1, 2010, 3:20 am

    How did you know where the river was between turkey and greece and how long did it take to get there? thanks

  67. ITS_JUST_ME
    July 1, 2010, 3:21 am

    What is anything, did you say when they changed your sentence from 4 years to 30? Did you get the chance to talk in court? Was it anything like the scene in the movie?

  68. ghia6b
    July 1, 2010, 3:21 am

    what do you do today.

  69. wsimari
    July 1, 2010, 3:22 am

    Your book was a favorite of mine years ago. I seem to remember something about your escaping by floating away inside an oil drum. Was this not the case? Your TV story doesn’t mention it. I also remember much about a British friend that differed from the TV version. Was the book a fictionalized version of the real story?

  70. Croftware
    July 1, 2010, 3:22 am

    In Dec 1969, I reported for duty as a young lieutenant with the US Air Force at that NATO base at Karamursel. We were given a briefing on Turkish drug laws and cautioned to avoid any involvement with drugs. To press the point home, the briefer mentioned the trials and living conditions of a young American who had been caught trying to leave Turkey with hash. Scared us all straight. Once, I traveled with the Catholic priest from the base to visit a NATO soldier who had been arrested for some non-drug offense and sentenced to 3-4 years in a low security prison nearby. The prison was primitive and crumbling, but otherwise clean and well-ordered. The inmates, however, seemed to be at peace with their conditions and staff. As bad as it was, I felt it could be a lot worse.

    Years later, it was an aha moment when the movie "Midnight Express" came out.

    When I became a unit commander in Texas–a state that also had tough drug laws–and the movie came out, I made the movie required viewing.

    Sorry…sorry you had to learn hard lessons the worst way…sorry I found it easy to use your experience as an object lesson. But, I’m glad you found a way out and I’m delighted that none of the airmen under my command were arrested for drug offenses.

    Stay well.

  71. Kev
    July 1, 2010, 3:24 am

    Was there several other Americans in the prison you were in? If so what were they in for?

  72. sogle
    July 1, 2010, 3:25 am

    Billy, your movie was an inspiration to me. I remember buying the poster and hanging it in my room as a kid. I went on to get an international business degree, but as a white boy, nobody was hiring my type to work overseas. I took a job as an ESL teacher in Abu Dhabi. Now I’m an attorney. I was surprised that drug smugglers were at the bottom of the food chain in prison. Here, child molesters are.

  73. StephenMalfas
    July 1, 2010, 3:27 am

    Did the Turks ever try to get you back?

  74. annalsa
    July 1, 2010, 3:29 am

    Hi Billy, do you ever think about going back to Turkey, do you think you will be able to get through it?

  75. humbleguy
    July 1, 2010, 3:29 am

    Hello Mr Hayes

    I missed the part on how you escaped although I saw the movie. Did you really wear a policeman’s suit and the guards opened the door for you?

  76. Kev
    July 1, 2010, 3:33 am

    Do you keep in touch with Patrick’s family?
    Do you spare them any royalties from your book, movie and netgeo show? Very good movie and show. I’m very glad you made it out of there.

  77. ITS_JUST_ME
    July 1, 2010, 3:36 am

    Once you made it to the beach (after you escaped from the island) how did you know where you were? How did you know where to go to make it to the border?

  78. TommyBoy
    July 1, 2010, 4:04 am

    Crazy,
    It’s Tom mathei from Marquette. Can’t believe I’m watching you on TV after all these years. Have not spoken to Archie or Bob McB since the letter writing campaign to get you home safely. Remember the house on 16th street…. card games with Howie Dennis and the boys. Where are you living now? Do you know Mike Kelly from MU? He is in show biz in Calif… just thought you might know him. Hope you are well. You look no worse for wear.

  79. silvana
    July 1, 2010, 4:26 am

    Hi Billy,
    How much profit did you receive after the making of the movie and the completion of the book?
    Your an amazing and strong soul?

  80. mjohnstone
    July 1, 2010, 4:29 am

    Billy. There was a shower scene in the movie. Was that part true or Hollywood ?

  81. sharon.gagon
    July 1, 2010, 4:35 am

    Billy, I watched the show tonight about your true story, wow, it made me cry too. bless your heart sweetie, you were so brave to excape. If your on FB I would like to add you as friend. the movie was so different. I know you still feel hurt over the pain your parents took. have you had any counseling? like to hear if it works if you do have help with it? take care billy god bless your heart and family blessings sharon from phoenix 007 silverfox

  82. sharon.gagon
    July 1, 2010, 4:46 am

    I"m sharongagon@yahoo.com or 007silverfox in FB and twitter do you have any of these? god bless you and your wife, do you have children? I have sympathy for you and what you have been thru , its amazing you made it. sorry about your parents, I know that really hurts you. we sure have to be strong. bless your heart sharon from phoenix

  83. sharon.gagon
    July 1, 2010, 4:49 am

    I"m anxious to get the new project your working on. good luck and bless your heart sharon from phoenix

  84. sharon.gagon
    July 1, 2010, 4:58 am

    As soon as the book comes out,I want to buy it, I would to come to your book signing where ever that is. I would be happy to meet you in person, and get the book signed, I"m so happy you got home and are free, god bless you and your wife blessings sharon

  85. Emceespice
    July 1, 2010, 6:44 am

    Who is the actor that plays you in this piece?

  86. jbconway46
    July 1, 2010, 11:38 am

    Is there any way to get in touch with Bill directly? I was one of his college roommates, I tried to help him when I worked for the Justice Department in 1973 and I saw him briefly in NYC shortly after he escaped. I very much enjoyed seeing the true story on NatGeo.

  87. Billy Hayes
    July 5, 2010, 4:33 pm

    For: mspearin—–yes I did a tribute to Samuel Beckett in 2006 and actually won an LA Weekly best actor award…it was one of my all-time favorite acting jobs

  88. RU4Reel72350
    February 15, 2011, 10:41 am

    Merhaba Billy: I too was in a Turkish jail around the same time as you. I was in Izmit prison from 1972 to 1974. Until May 19th 1974 to be exact. Granted amnesty. (AF) Never understood why you didn’t come under the amnesty for the 50th year of republic that Kamil Attaturk had declared. Always wanted to meet you someday and chat about our experiences. No one really knows until you’ve been there and done that.

  89. RU4Reel72350
    February 16, 2011, 2:14 am

    Merhaba Billy: I too was in a Turkish jail around the same time as you. I was in Izmit prison from 1972 to 1974.  Until May 19th 1974 to be exact. Granted amnesty. (AF) Never understood why you didn’t come under the amnesty for the 50th year of republic that Kamil Attaturk had declared. Always wanted to meet you someday and chat about our experiences. No one really knows until you’ve been there and done that.

  90. Noel Sheridan
    New Zealand
    October 8, 2012, 12:05 am

    I’m sorry I did’t see this article 2 years ago. To lesleenatgeo Would it be possible to forward my name and email to Billy. We were together in Istanbul. I still have a few old photos of us taken in the prison at Istanbul. I look foward to a meeting one day, Billy.

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  92. federico conforto
    Rome London
    February 9, 2013, 5:23 am

    Good morning mr H,ayes , im the founder and owner of the italian bookclub based in rome and opening soon in london, we d love to interview you in rome or london or usa, the web site http://www.theitalianbookclub.com . We started 3 month ago and , unespected becoming popular , we had short interview with Wilbur Smith in Rome on january, italian popular actor, italian writer well known or anonymous , an author from belgium and usa JL Morin that wrote an interesting book about wall street occupy , ! Since i was child i heard about your terrible story and the movie , and now thanks to internet j m coming you asking if i have chance to interview you , what amazing exsperience
    I m looking forward to hearing from you soon
    Federico Conforto

  93. wail
    egypt
    February 22, 2013, 12:47 pm

    the music of the movie was great billy it helps us more to go by your side and every time i see the movie i say to myself common billy run run run really it was the midnight express i watch the movie may be once per month on my pc hope you are well

  94. tony blakeley
    london england
    May 8, 2013, 8:49 am

    Hello billy I no its hell in turkey I’ve been there for a hoilday what part of grease did you go to get out of hell mate ???

  95. John Meyer
    usa
    January 1, 8:40 pm

    Were you ever held in the Yalova prison? I visited two Americans there when I was a First Lieutenant at Karamursel. It has been a long time and I am trying to remember who it was that I visited in those days

  96. Kathy
    Ct
    January 5, 7:59 pm

    Hello, Just had to know all these years later. We lived on Great East Neck Rd W. Babylon and played together w/Billy /Brian Hayes…. All these years our family thought you were the same person as depicted in the movie Midnight Express. I realize you may never see this but had to put it out there. So many years have gone by & hope you are now happy & healthy ………….

  97. Marco
    Baltimore
    March 23, 8:41 pm

    Mr. Hayes,
    I just watched the movie Murder in the First and you either played one of the jurors, or it was your twin. I have a pretty awesome visual memory so I am sure it was you, but I could be wrong!

    Regards,
    Marco B.

  98. Aaron
    Louisiana
    April 25, 7:56 am

    Bill, your story is an inspiration to my wife and me. I noticed a few comments above regarding you “getting what you deserved” and so forth. People don’t understand what we go through if they don’t actually go through it themselves. Thank you for all the lives you’ve encouraged with the sharing of your brokenness.