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Betty Mahmoody

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Betty Mahmoody

Not Without My Daughter

Sayed Bozorg Mahmoody


Mahtob Mahmoody smiling, with short hair, wearing eyeglasses, a scarf, and a black shirt.

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9 June 1945 (age 76), Alma, Michigan, United States

Betty mahmoody interview 1990 part 1 2

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.


Mahtob and Betty Mahmoody are smiling. Mahtob with short hair, wearing eyeglasses, a scarf, and a black shirt while Betty wearing eyeglasses and a black shirt.

"Not Without My Daughter" Meet the real Betty Mahmoody, played by Sally Field. Harrowing story!

Not Without My Daughter

Betty Mahmoody with a serious face in front of a podium and microphones, wearing eyeglasses, and a black long sleeve top.

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.

Betty Mahmoody smiling with crossed arms on her chest, with a photo of her daughter, with short hair, and wearing a pink long sleeve blouse.

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, her husband separated her from her daughter for weeks on end. He also assaulted her and threatened to kill her if she tried to leave.

Mahtob and Betty Mahmoody are smiling. Mahtob with short hair and wearing a black coat while Betty wearing eyeglasses, a necklace, and a black blouse.

She eventually escaped with her daughter. The book details her 500 mi (800 km) escape to Turkey through the snowy Iranian mountains and the help she received from many Iranians. Upon returning to America in 1986, Betty filed for divorce in the USA.

Other books

Mahtob Mahmoody smiling, with short hair, wearing a black coat over a black shirt.

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

The book "My Name is Mahtob" was written by Mahtob Mahmody featuring an innocent boy smiling.

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

Betty Mahmoody with a serious face and open mouth, with short hair, and wearing a black necklace.

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.

On the left, is the book "Not Without My Daughter" by Betty Mahmoody features the eyes of a lady. On the right, the book "My Name is Mahtob" by Mahtob Mahmoody features an innocent boy smiling.

Betty Mahmoody with a serious face, short hair, wearing pearl earrings, a necklace, and a blue blouse.


Betty Mahmoody Wikipedia