What happened to Billy Milligan, the inspiration for Danny Sullivan in “The Crowded Room”?

What happened to Billy Milligan, the inspiration for Danny Sullivan in "The Crowded Room"?

Billy Milligan was a real person who inspired the character Danny Sullivan in the TV series “The Crowded Room.” Let’s explore what happened to Billy Milligan and how his story influenced the show.

Billy Milligan's Background and Diagnosis

Billy Milligan was born in Ohio, USA, in 1955. In the late 1970s, he became known for his involvement in crimes like robbery, kidnapping and rape. However, what made his case unique was his diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), where multiple personalities exist within one person.

Milligan's Defense and Media Attention

Milligan’s defense team argued that his actions were influenced by the different personalities within him. The court recognized his DID diagnosis, leading to significant media attention. This was one of the first instances of DID being used as a criminal defense in the United States.

Acquittal and Treatment

In 1978, Milligan was acquitted of his crimes by reason of insanity and was committed to a psychiatric hospital. During his time there, he received therapy and underwent extensive psychiatric evaluations to better understand his condition.

Daniel Keyes and "The Minds of Billy Milligan"

Author Daniel Keyes became interested in Milligan’s story and conducted interviews with him. The resulting book, “The Minds of Billy Milligan,” published in 1981, explored Milligan’s life and the experiences of his different personalities.

Inspiration for "The Crowded Room"

The success of Keyes’ book attracted attention from the entertainment industry, leading to the development of “The Crowded Room” as a TV series. The show draws inspiration from Milligan’s life and explores the challenges of living with DID through the character of Danny Sullivan, portrayed by Tom Holland.

Following his acquittal, Milligan continued to face difficulties with his mental health, including managing his different personalities. Unfortunately, Milligan passed away in 2014 at the age of 59 due to cancer.

"The Crowded Room" as a Fictional Exploration

The Crowded Room” serves as a fictionalized portrayal of Milligan’s experiences, highlighting the complexities of living with DID. While the series takes inspiration from Milligan’s story, it is important to recognize that it incorporates creative elements and is not a direct retelling of his life. 

The show raises awareness about DID and provides viewers with insights into the challenges faced by individuals with this condition.