'Not Without My Daughter' Iranian father dies
23-Aug-2009 (4 comments)

TEHRAN — Iranian Bozorg Mahmoody, whose American ex-wife portrayed him as abusive in a controversial best-seller after escaping Iran with their daughter, died Saturday, official IRNA news agency reported.

Mahmoody, a US-educated doctor, "died in a Tehran hospital this morning because of kidney problems and other complications," his nephew Majid Ghodsi told IRNA. He was 70.

His ex-wife Betty Mahmoody portrayed him as abusive and domineering in the controversial best-seller "Not Without My Daughter" which she penned after fleeing Iran with the couple's daughter Mahtob in 1984.

"He thought of his daughter till the end and passed away without seeing Mahtob," Ghodsi told IRNA.

The book and its 1991 movie adaptation, starring Sally Field as Betty and Alfred Molina as Mahmoody, was met with angry reaction from Iranians offended by what they considered a "biased" depiction of their culture.

Betty Mahmoody claimed in her book that her husband brought the family to Iran on a short visit but later forced them to stay and prevented her from leaving for the United States with their daughter.

Under Iran's sharia-based law, the father is considered the main guardian of the child and married Iranian women need their husband's consent to apply for a passport.

Iran and the United States cut diplomatic ties after the 1979 Islamic revolution and the seizure of US embassy in Tehran

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True or not

by Abarmard on

The story is one sided and we will never know the truth. I wish the daughter luck since this should be hard for her. Rest is meaningless.

Darius Kadivar

I don't know for the Book but the Movie was Good for what it was

by Darius Kadivar on

I never read the book so I cannot really comment on it but I did not find anything particularly shocking about the movie which was not anti Iranian but Anti fanaticism and certainly gave an accurate image of life in Iran and particularly in certain circles during the terrible War Years with Iraq.

The film even shows Iranians who are different and against the regime who help her and her daughter leave IRan.

It was not  a Masterpiece in Cinematography but it did not aim at that either. To reduce Hollywood to such a B Movie that could have been made and has been about other disfunctional families is a naive. This story could have been about any other nationality it just happened to be an Iranian American one. But the Movie never got any awards at the Oscars that year so it is naive just like for the Movie 300 to think that there was a Hollywood conspiracy there.

Coming from a similar cosmopolitan background myself ( My mother French and Father Iranian and a Surgeon), I simply felt that the husband deserved to have his say in this story. Also my parents NEVER had the type of problem in this dysfunctional family. Unlike the Mahmoudy family My parents loved one another and the Revolution only consolidated and re-enforced their love for one another when we had to leave Iran.

I think that Betty Mahmoudy's story was simply the story of a failed marriage probably from the start. But the international success of the book and subsequently movie was certainly something that was exploited by the editors and that is not something one can honestly blame on her.

I knew of similar cases in Iran after the Revolution when the husband had gone crazy and hateful for his american wife and forced her to become traditional. This despite the man's education since he was a doctor like my father.

Some people like Ebrahim Yazdi aka Mr. Green Card were just as schizophrenic. They studied and lived in America and became staunchly anti American.

In the end I think this was a Love Story that ended badly for the husband and the marriage but it took a particular twist because of the political climate and context. This was a Gem for the Editors in America given the controversy over the US Embassy takeover a few years earlier.

Who of the two Betty or her Husband Bozorg Mahmoudy are sincere or truthfull?  I guess we will never know ...

But honestly I did not find the movie Racist or anything of the sort. It depicted much of what was taking place in Iran at the time when the story is supposed to take place and that is the Iran Iraq War.

That the story Book or Film was exploited one way or another is another debate for which I have no real evidence ...

Its just sad that a family and couple's life and love for one another was destroyed because of Politics and the Revolution.

Others paid a far larger price I guess but in the end its about how two people were not made for one another ...


Darius Kadivar

FYI/SON DROIT DE REPONSE: Bozorg Mahmoody (1939-2009)

by Darius Kadivar on

Fouzul Bashi

Victim of propaganda

by Fouzul Bashi on

Dr Mahmoody was one of the first targets selected by Hollywood for their negative campaign on Iran and Iranian. That lousy, racist, hateful movie changed the way Iranian men were perceived in the west and portrayed him from in the worst biased ways. At least now he has peace. Roohash shad