Celebrities who are (or were) JWs – Part 1

August 2nd, 2010

This was the very first of our popular articles about celebrities and talented performers who have some sort of past or present history connected to the Jehovah’s Witness religion. We’ve updated a few things and have added an extended video gallery at the end of the article. Our purpose is to fairly present these famous people and their often extensive talents. You may find yourself amazed and educated.

We’ll be updating the other articles in this same series over the next few weeks, adding expanded video galleries to each one. Please feel free to comment and let us know how you like the changes. Be sure to tell your friends to check us out.

This article was first published on April 15, 2009.  Within 72 hours prior to the June 25, 2009 update, American pop culture lost three of its entertainment icons: Ed McMahon (Johnny Carson’s sidekick and foil), Farrah Fawcett (every teenage boy’s fantasy girl from 1972-1982), and Michael Jackson (so-called “King of Pop” and walking example of really bad plastic surgery) – who happened to be one of the celebrities on our first list. Please note that this list has now been updated to reflect the passing of former Jehovah’s Witness, Michael Joseph Jackson.

The following is just a short list of famous persons in politics, music and movies that are or were Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are many more that we add over time, and eventually we’ll make a master index, but this will be our starting point.

Please feel free to let us know if you know of any others. You may use the comment area at the bottom of this article, or the contact form found elsewhere on this site. We’d love to hear from you.

Here are our first five celebrity Jehovah’s Witnesses:

  • Michael Jackson (performance artist)
  • Mickey Spillane (pulp fiction writer)
  • Prince (performance artist)
  • Jill Scott (actress and singer)
  • George Benson (jazz musician)

  1. Michael Jackson (1958 – ), Michael Jackson Cannes.jpg: Georges Biard derivative work: Pyrrhus16 (Michael Jackson Cannes.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commonsan American pop music recording artist and entertainer. A member of the musical Jackson family,  at the age of 11 he first performed as a member of The Jackson 5. He began a solo career in 1971. Referred to as the “King of Pop” in subsequent years, five of his solo studio albums have become some of the world’s best-selling records: Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995).  After several years of severe criticism on the part of other JWs, he was disfellowshipped sometime around 1990. There was a report that he had converted to Islam in 2008, but subsequent information indicated that he had only “studied the religion, but did not convert.” Jackson, aged 50, suffered cardiac arrest on June 25, 2009 and died at UCLA Medical Center. His three children are being raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses by his mother and sister.  [Status: Deceased]
  2. Mickey Spillane (March 9, 1918 – July 17, 2006), famous American author of crime novels, most featuring Mike Hammer, a tough big city private detective. Nearly 250 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide and Spillane was responsible for seven of the top fifteen bestselling fiction books in America. Spillane appeared as Mike Hammer in a movie version of “I, the Jury” – one of the few times in film history when an author portrayed his own character. During the 1980s, he appeared in several Miller Lite beer commercials. Spillane became a Jehovah’s Witness in 1951 and managed to survive the often bitter criticism he received from many fellow Witnesses that his novels were “too trashy and pornographic.” He remained a JW and continued with his writing career until his death. [Status: Deceased]
  3. Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson; 1958 – ) American singer and performance artist. Winner of seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and named the top male pop artist of the past 25 years in 2004. His 1984 album, Purple Rain sold more than 13 million copies in the US and was #1 on the Billboard 200 for almost six months. His Academy Award-winning film grossed more than $80 million in the US alone, and proved to be Prince’s biggest cinematic success. In 1997, Prince approached funk bassist Larry Graham about his Jehovah’s Witness faith and apparently became very interested. He was baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness in 2001. His album, The Rainbow Children, reportedly is based heavily upon Jehovah’s Witness religious themes. [Status: Apparently Active]
  4. Jill Scott (1972 – ), American actress most famed for being a jazz and rhythm and blues vocalist. She has collaborated with Eric Benet, Will Smith, and Common, and broadened her on-stage performing experience by touring Canada in a production of the Broadway musical Rent. Most recently seen playing the lead in HBO’s series, “Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” a story of a single woman trying to run her own business in Botswana. Known for her broad smile and love of life. Won a 2005 Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative R&B Performance for “Cross My Mind.” Raised by her grandmother from the age of 12 as a Jehovah’s Witness, she was never baptized. She reportedly does not identify with any particular religious organization. [Status: Unaffiliated]
  5. George Benson, (1943 – ), American musician, jazz guitarist, and singer. Won Grammy awards for his 1978 song “This Masquerade” and for his live remake of “On Broadway.” He has collaborated with Chet Atkins, Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, Al Jarreau, the Beatles and many other prominent musicians. He often appears as a guest artist on other performers’ albums. He has been described as semi-retired and living in Arizona. He apparently is still a Jehovah’s Witness in good standing. [Status: Active]

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  1. Tom Sawthelight

    All this argument about a cult that is a child molester paradise. Why argue with them? They know whats going on. Have you ever heard a fish salesman holler “rotten fish for sale”? No–They will never admit that they are a cult serving a book publishing company. That’s why they are called publishers. Publishers of NONSENSE.

  2. [ famous jehovah's witnesses in the philippines ] Best Web Pages | (KoreanNetizen)

    […] Celebrities who are – Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses OnlineApr 15, 2009 – The following is just a short list of famous persons in politics, music and movies that are or were Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are many more … ex-jw.com/celebrities-jws-1 […]

  3. aaron stanley

    I am an ex jehovah witness. I always wanted to be a misician but was not allowed. My dreams were shattered. I would love to have contact with ex jehovah witness musicians and actors.


  4. Tom Sawthelight

    To anyone on this board. When you need something done call someone who can fix your problem such as auto mechanic,electrican that is when you let someone think for you. But when it comes to spiritual things you let no one think for you. Think for your self. On spiritual things that person you ask dies and goes back to the ground just like you do. He has no more idea about the bible than you do. Especially that governing body. In conclusion think for your self.

  5. jesse lopez

    Ex Jdubb here biblelover316@gmail.com

  6. armond craig whitlock


  7. mike

    Prince,Michael Jackson and the Williams sisters.Just what I would want for neighbors.NOT!Two freaks and two roided up,rude and lewd wome…are they female?

  8. sharon hopkins

    i did,t know michral jackson was a jehovah wittness

  9. john sawthelight

    Sally–Everything you said is absolutely true.But everything you said applies to the watchtower.You along with them you are a cult,you along with them do say the world is coming to an end along with Armageddon. You are brainwashed. You do look the other way at child molesters. In fact you even talk like a brainwashed person does. You do not face reality. You do follow men.Everything negative applies to Jehovah witnesses. In fact me myself was one up until 9 years ago.When I read Ray Franz’s book, that was it. Ray was on the governing body for 9 years. And could not take it any more. It was all a pipi dream to him.He told it all. He was too nice a guy to belong to such a cold hearted bunch of book publishers dressed in a religious suit. They are now under investigation of child molestation by the Australia government. Not by apostates which you people blame all your problems on. No it is now a government doing it. Better get out while you can. They are being sued by hundreds of kids that were molested. The watchtower is paying out millions of dollars in molestation cases. How do you feel knocking on a door and that is brought to your attention? I would be ashamed to knock on a persons door with that reputation. How can you face people? Elders are quitting because they will be sued also.I know many that are stepping down. For their own good. This shows that they were only holding on their positions for the glory of it. No more. They are jumping ship fast as they can. I was in that nonsense for 32 years. But no more. Free at last free at last. I thank Almighty God for releasing me.

  10. Famous Jehovah’s Witnesses: Which Other Celebrities Are Or Were Practicing Like Prince? [VIDEO] | The USA Times

    […] and his reconstitute of “On Broadway,” might be semi-retired though he is still an active member of a Jehovah’s Witness […]

  11. Constance Noonan

    I was a dedicated, baptized Witness for 12 years. I temporary pioneered whenever I could, and I had parts at Circuit Assemblies. I truly loved learning the Bible. The Witnesses did teach me a lot. Prior to becoming baptized as a JW, I was born and raised into an Irish Catholic family.

    However, I saw the “lack of genuine brotherly love” for others who were not baptized …just studied but never got baptized! Also, I despised the hypocrisy. I saw elders’ teenagers behaving one way and not getting publicly reproved. However, publishers who got drunk, were publicly reproved. Such a double standard which I did not agree with or respect!

    The priests in the Catholic religion who were pedophiles were abhorrent! Yes, they are part of Christendom, but non the less …still child molesters and calling themselves Christians. Totally disgusting!! Then I found out the same thing was going on with lots of JW kids by elders and/or ministerial servants! Check out http://www.Silentlambs.com. So, these dirty little secrets are going on behind closed doors and if the child/teenager reports the crime to the Police, then the JW child/teenager is disfellowshipped? Arevyou kidding me?! Now we have a “Theocratic Organization” that is committing FELONIES and therevis a COVER UP and that is alright is Jehovah’s eyes?! What is the difference between Catholic priests and these JWs who are committing the same crime?

    Some of the elders felt they were above the law! What a joke!

    I disassociated myself with this cult! Their views of 1914 changed. 1975 came and went! 750,000 Witnesses left after 1975 came and went. They believe in Replacement Theology which is NOT Bible based. There are many brothers in Bethel who are gay! This cult shatters a person’s dreams and then the WT Society takes absolutely no ACCOUNTABILITY for their actions! It divides families when a family member is disfellowshipped. Many exJWs have committed suicide after losing their family. Let’s be real here …we live in a broken world. Most everyone is either hurting or broken in one way or another. Where is the love that Jesus taught rather than the condemnation and shame? Jesus said, “You will know my disciples by the love they have among themselves.” I got to the point where I could not find this love. So, I gave up my college dreams and ambitions for 12 years. Then it was time to leave this cult and pursue my educational dreams in life!! That I did. Even the “Truth Bk” had a chapter explaining the importance as to why it is wise to examine your religion. Check it out bc I studied that book. The JWs need to practice what they preach to others. Maybe if you look deep inside you will open up your eyes. After all, Jesus said the Pharisees of his day were hypocrites and they had the same self-righteous attitude like the Witnesses do today (not all of them but some of them do).

    Bottom line: Everyone will definitely be accountable before Jehovah God …even the Witnesses!!!

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