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Switched at Birth (film)

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Title: Switched at Birth (film)  
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Subject: Ariana Richards, 43rd Primetime Emmy Awards, They're Playing Our Song, 1990s in film
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Switched at Birth (film)

Switched at Birth
Video cover
Directed by Waris Hussein
Produced by Ervin Zavada
Written by Michael O'Hara
Starring Bonnie Bedelia
Brian Kerwin
John M. Jackson
Ariana Richards
Erika Flores
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Cinematography Robert Steadman
Edited by Paul Dixon
James Galloway
Distributed by Columbia Pictures Television
Release dates April 28, 1991
Running time 186 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Switched at Birth is a 1991 American television film directed by Waris Hussein. It is based on the true story of Kimberly Mays and Arlena Twigg, babies switched soon after birth in a Florida hospital in 1978.[1]


Within days of Arlena Twigg's birth in Florida in late 1978, she is found to have a chronic illness. Blood tests reveals that she is not the biological daughter of Regina and Ernest Twigg. Arlena is ill throughout her life and dies at the age of nine. Subsequently, her parents search for their biological daughter, who they find is being raised as Kimberly Mays by a man who believes that he is her father.


Factual basis

Kimberly Mays and Arlena Twigg were born within a few days of each other in a Wauchula, Florida hospital in November 1978. Kimberly went home with Bob Mays and his wife, Barbara, who died of ovarian cancer when Kimberly was three. Ernest and Regina Twigg of Sebring, Florida took home the Mays' biological daughter, whom they named Arlena. The Twiggs learned that Arlena had the wrong blood type to be their biological daughter at age 9. Following Arlena's death, the Twiggs sought information about their biological daughter and located Kimberly Mays, who was later the subject of a custody battle between her biological parents, and Bob Mays, the man who raised her after she was switched at birth. Bob Mays had agreed in 1989 to grant the Twiggs visitation rights to Kimberly, but later cut off the visits. The Twiggs then sued for increased visitation or custody of Kimberly. A Wauchula circuit court ruled in 1993 that Kimberly would be allowed to cut off all contacts with her biological family and that Bob Mays was her psychological father.[2] Though Kimberly won the right to stay with Bob Mays, she later ran away and moved in with the Twiggs. Her early adulthood was troubled, as she battled marital woes and lost custody of her own child for a time.

The court battle was also the subject of a book entitled The Baby Swap Conspiracy by Loretta Schwarz-Nobel.

Barbara Mays's parents' surname name was changed from Coker to Hill in the film.


  1. ^ Drew, Mike (April 28, 1991), "Emotions Aren't Only Thing Being Exploited in New TV Movie",  
  2. ^ Morrison, Frank West; Tweel, Ronald R. "Balancing Parents' Rights v. The Best Interest of Children: Custody Determinations Between Biological Parents and Others". Retrieved June 20, 2011. 

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