On Nov. 10, Billy Mills and actor Robby Benson, who portrayed Mills in the film “Running Brave,” will be reunited at a showing of the film at Indiana University Bloomington, where Benson is a professor in the Media School, according to the Indian Country Today Media Network.
This showing reunites the two men, who first met over 20 years ago.
Around 1983, Billy Mills’ wife Pat came across a teen magazine her daughters were looking at which featured a photo of the actor Robby Benson.
“You have to look at his,” Pat told Billy, according to a 2003 Indian Country Today article. “He looks just like you.”
From that fortuitous event, a great friendship was made.
Los Angeles attorney and movie producer Ira Englander had been working to produce a movie – “Running Brave” -- based on Billy’s life, and Benson was the perfect actor to portray him.
“Thank God we picked Robby,” Englander said in 2003, according to Indian Country Today. “Robby really, really wanted this part. He’s an athlete, a fine one. He was wonderful. He understood what Billy Mills had accomplished. And he understands what Billy has continued to accomplish.”
At the showing this month, Mills and Benson will take part in a question and answer session. Mills will also meet with students and staff from the cultural center and is scheduled to speak to a graduate media class taught by Benson, according to Indian Country Today.
Benson said he can’t wait to see Billy and Pat again.
“Billy is one of the finest, most compassionate and purest of heart gentlemen that I have ever met,” Benson told Indian Country Today.
LaDonna Jessie BlueEye, assistant professor of applied health science in the School of Health and an organizer of the visit said it is a very exciting event to have Billy on campus.
“Billy Mills is an inspiration to so many native peoples, whether they are from reservations or small tribal communities,” she said.
The event is being held as part of Native American Heritage Month. Billy is visiting the university on a tour marking the 50th anniversary of his Olympic gold medal win in the 10,000 meter run at the 1964 Tokyo games.