A couple days ago a Facebook friend shared a story about an upcoming movie, The Crowded Room. In the movie Leonardo DiCaprio portrays Billy Milligan, who was diagnosed with 24 different personalities.
Billy Milligan was born William Stanley Milligan on 14 February 1955 in Miami Beach, Florida. His mother was from Ohio and they returned to Ohio when he was a boy.
Milligan was charged with kidnapping, robbing, and raping three women near The Ohio State University campus in October 1977. He was diagnosed with 24 personalities and, because of his multiple personality disorder, was acquitted by reason of insanity. His acquittal is believed to be the first of its kind in America.
Milligan spent ten years in Ohio mental hospitals before he was released in 1988.
Milligan was incarcerated at the Lima State Hospital for the Criminally Insane for a few years. My dad worked there during the time Billy was there and mentioned him a few times.
Milligan was a talented artist and my dad asked him to paint a still-life on canvas. It is a large piece that measures 26 x 32 inches with the frame. The painting hung in my parents’ dining room for several years, but my mom was never really fond of the painting because the background is so dark. She gave the painting to me several years ago.
His signature “Billy” and the date, 80. 
Milligan was also incarcerated at the Athens State Hospital, aka The Ridges, in Athens, Ohio, near Ohio University. Ohio University professor Daniel Keyes wrote a book about Milligan in 1981, The Minds of Billy Milligan.
Our son Jeff got his master’s degree from Ohio University and Joe and I used to walk through the grounds at The Ridges when we visited him. The grounds are currently owned by the university and people walk there for exercise now.
Milligan was released in 1988 and was discharged from the Ohio mental health system and the Ohio courts. After that he moved to California.
Billy Milligan died of cancer on 12 December 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.
The movie starring DiCaprio is supposed to be released sometime in 2017.
The Columbus Dispatch, “Billy Milligan/1955-2014: Man with the Famous Insanity Plea Dies;” 17 December 2014; (www.dispatch.com : accessed 27 July 2016).
Billy Milligan, Wikipedia; (https://en.wikipedia.org : accessed 27 Jul 2016).
hello,i worked 31 yrs in corrections ,my first 6 yrs at lima state hospital, Billy was a pt on the unit i worked ,i played basketball with him,observed him while he painted a 75 ‘ mural on wall in entrance to prison,,he also drew me a pencil drawing of an eagle that he signed simply billy with a line coming out of the y in his name going under name. In the landscape mural at LSH there was a small building like a outhouse qans he painted a figure looking out the window it had no detail and appeared like a shadow, i remember asking him who it was ,i cant remember what he told me, I was watching movie split which made me recall him,i was 24-26 when he was there at LSH,,i thought little at that time about his multiple personalities,
How interesting! Did you happen to work with my dad during the time you worked a LSH? Thank you so much for writing and sharing the information.
I know one of his old friends from the 70’s . She has three of his large portrait paintings which look pretty good to me. She said that he once sold minute paintings fom her front yard in columbus in the 70’s
Interesting story. He was a talented artist. Thanks for writing!
Hi Tim! So excited to see your message and that you actually knew and interacted with Mr. Milligan. My name is Dr. Jodi Domanic and I am very interested in Billy Milligan and his artwork. I not only have my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, which makes me very interested in Mr. Milligan’s psychopathology, but I more recently have become a Script Supervisor on Film and TV series and just finished working on “The Crowded Room” for Apple TV which is a limited series based on Billy Milligan. Tom Holland, more known as Spiderman, plays Billy. I’ve read everything I can about Billy to prepare for the show and hope that the show sheds light on the mental health troubles with which he had to deal. I am VERY interested in Billy’s artwork and would love to find a piece to purchase but am not having much luck. I’d love to know if you or anybody you know has a piece that they would like to sell. Thanks much. Jodi
We have a couple of his paintings and a signed copy of his book. He used to hang out with my mom a lot his sister was married to one of her friends. Wonder if they’d ever be worth anything? He wasn’t the greatest artist.
Interesting information. There may an interest in his artwork if and when the movie comes out. Thanks for writing!
I wish I could remember his sisters name. You could get in touch with her if you can, and let her know that I was truly sorry to hear that Bily passed away. I lost touch many years ago with him when I moved to Florida. I was at Billy’s sisters house one time in the hot tub who is she and her husband? I believe it was so many years ago probably around 1998. I can’t remember I thought a lot of Billy he gave me one of his paintings and we were friends. Yeah it really broke my heart to hear that he passed of cancer, I would love for his sister to get in touch with me. I’m not sure how that’s possible but if you can get her the message, I would appreciate you passing. My condolences on to her.
Thank you so much Shelley
I do not know the family but perhaps she will read this.
I have two paintings done by Billy while he was at the Athens State Hospital. I had friends who knew him.
I met him once. I purchased the paintings from him at that time.
It seems he painted a lot and there are probably quite a few of his paintings out there. Nice to hear from you and thanks for writing.
Hi Karen. I was the Script Supervisor on the tv show shoot this past year for what will be “The Crowded Room” out on Apple TV probably in the Spring. I read the Daniel Keyes book on Billy Milligan and learned as much as I could about him because we are loosely telling his story. And I am so very very interested in his art work. I would love to know if you or anyone you know in the area might have any of his artwork for sale. I’m having a hard time finding it online. Thank you so much for any advice.
Nice to hear from you, but I am sorry, I don’t have any of his artwork anymore. I don’t know where any would be available. I see you wrote to Tim and he may not check the comments here often. I will try to pass on your email to him. Thanks for reading!
Thanks so much for replying to me Karen! And thank you for trying to pass on my e-mail to Tim. So glad I found your website. It is now in my favorites!
Hello, my name is Katie, I’m 29 years old and I was diagnosed with DID in ‘96 and I just finished watching the documentary on Netflix about Billy.
It’s a heartbreaking, fascinating and enlightening telling of mental health when it is not treated or even believed at times. I’m thankful to have been born in a time and to a family where mental health was something that we all openly discussed.
Seeing Billy’s paintings, they speak to me in a way, knowing I’m not the only one suffering from this illness, and being thankful for my treatment, and feeling remorse for Billy. I’m thankful I now know his story, I hope one day to be able to find and afford one of his paintings. Thank you for the stories and photographs, Karen!
Thank you for writing and sharing your story. Wishing you all the best on your journey and a very Merry Christmas.
It’s so interesting to read all the stories about people who had met Billy. I’ve never read anything bad, he always seemed to be very polite and sympathetic. I’m very interested in his life and in his art work after reading his book and seeing the documentary about him. I’ve done a lot of research through the internet to get an own opinion about him and his story. I developed a great deal of compassion for him and for me he is the most interesting person I’ve ever seen. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet him and talk to him as I have so many questions. So glad that some people are sharing their story they had with him. Is there still a chance to find any of his belongings or paintings? As I’m afraid of being ripped off and I don’t want to support any phonies who are just trying to make money out of his notoriety. But I would be so happy to have something from him to keep with me.
Thank you for sharing your story here Karen!
Thank you for writing. There is always the possibility of finding something but you are correct to be cautious in determining its authenticity. Good luck with your search.