Bill Hayes is a world-famous film director, actor and writer based in America. He gained prominence for his autobiographical book titled Midnight Express, in which he shared all his experiences in and out of Turkish prison. He was found guilty of smuggling hashish, for which he was put into a Turkish prison. He was one of those thousands of US citizens who were serving sentences for a drug charge.
Hayes was born in 1947 on 3rd April in New York City. He was an American student when he was caught while trying to smuggle hashish out of Turkey in 1970. Hayes was sentenced to a Turkish prison for four years and two months, and before his release date, he was informed that authorities want to penalize him for smuggling with a life sentence instead of releasing him. He was imprisoned in Istanbul at Sagmalcilar Prison, where an incident happened, and in 1972, he was then transferred to Bakirkoy Psychiatric Hospital, also known as Lunatic Asylum.
The United States Department of State pressurized Turkey to transfer Hayes’s sentencing to the United States. Still, the foreign minister of Turkey named Melih Esenbel states that he cannot dispute a sentence issued by a Turkish court. In 1975 on 12th May, the Turkish Constitutional Court declared forgiveness and bail to all drug offenses where Hayes’ sentence was reduced from life to 30 years. Afterward, he was shifted to Imrali Prison in 1975 on 11th July.
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Hayes released a book titled Midnight Experiences in which he shared all his life experiences, and the boom was later adopted in a film where Brad Davis was starred as Billy Hayes. Alan Parker directed the film, and Oliver Stone did the screenplay. There were many differences from the real story, and amongst all the differences, there was one where Hayes killed the prison guard named Hamidou, ‘the Bear.’ In reality, the prison guard was killed by a released prisoner in 1973. The reason that prisoner killed Hamidou was that Hamidou insulted his family and beat him, and all this happened before the actual escape of Hayes.
The film adaptation and book were inaccurate because of multiple legal reasons. In one of the interviews, Hayes admitted that he smuggled hashish from Turkey to the United States, and in fact, his lawyer warned him and told him that he could get arrested for such things. In 1987 also, Hayes was quite active in the entertainment industry, and he used to do writing and acting. In 1987 he appeared in a film titled Assassination of Charles Bronson, where he played the role of a hired killer. One of Hayes’s most famous writers and directing was Southside that released in 2003, for which he even won multiple awards.
No details about Billy’s marriage and children are given.
The estimated net worth of William Billy Hayes, who is a famous director, actor and writer, is approximately $500 thousand. His journey has been full of ups and downs, and he spent most of his life in prison.