I met Billy Hayes through a number of means. He is a lifetime yoga practitioner (primarily Iyengar)--literally what he was allowed to keep in prison when he was arrested in 1970 was a book called Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar, and he has practiced every day since his arrest!! I am an avid yogi with favorite forms being Iyengar and my beloved Kundalini, so there is that.
Then Billy has been an actor and director in show biz as well as a writer, and I first saw him on stage years ago in LA where he was mesmerizing. I don’t think I put two and two together initially that this gifted Billy Hayes was THE Billy Hayes, but by 2013 we jointly minted the show, Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes, which he is performing around the world. We have completed a pilot Billy Hayes Presents Famous Prison Escapes which features stories about myriad escapes, including that of Timothy Leary--no joke.
Additionally, Billy lectures to youth and formerly incarcerated, is active in prison yoga programs, continues to write often non-cannabis related literature, and is always open to acting and directing.
Introducing Yogi, Author, and Cannabis Connoisseur Billy Hayes to HipSilver!
BILLY HAYES – Since publishing his best-selling book, Midnight Express, BILLY HAYES has had an extensive career as an actor, director, screenwriter and public speaker. His second book, Midnight Return, explores his life after prison and the parallel lives of those he left behind. Completing the trilogy in early 2013, Hayes published The Midnight Express Letters: From a Turkish Prison 1970-1975.
Hayes has written and directed several plays including Cock & Bull Story, which received the 1992 L.A. Drama Critics Circle, L.A. Weekly, and Drama-Logue awards. In 2006 Hayes received the LA Weekly Best Actor Award for his performance in the one-act play, Shuffle, Shuffle, Step, a tribute to Samuel Becket. He is a member of the Actors’ Studio West Playwright/Director Unit.
Hayes credits the Yoga he has practiced every day since he was incarcerated with getting him through the hard times and keeping him centered. Billy met his wife, Wendy West, at the Cannes Film Festival when Midnight Express premiered there in 1978. They’ve been married since 1980 and currently live in Las Vegas.
HipSilver is so happy to welcome Artist and Icon, Billy Hayes, as one of our contributors!