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