Celebrities who are (or were) JWs – Part 4
Our readers continue to enjoy articles about famous (and in some cases, infamous) people who are or were Jehovah’s Witnesses with careers in the arts, sports, literature, and even politics. This list includes Naomi Campbell, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Larry Graham, Chet Lemon, and Gloria Naylor.
Ex-JW.com is pleased to see that so many of our readers continue to enjoy articles about famous (and in some cases, infamous) people who are or were well-known due to their careers in the arts, sports, literature, and even politics.
This selection of names covers just about every category imaginable. We’re sure that there are many more celebrities or high-achievers that should eventually be included on one of our lists, so if you know of someone we’ve missed, please let us know by sending a email to Contact@Ex-JW.com.
Here is our fourth set of five celebrity JWs (or close enough to be considered):
- Naomi Campbell (super model)
- Dwight D. Eisenhower (politician)
- Larry Graham (musician)
- Chet Lemon (athlete)
- Gloria Naylor (author)
- Naomi Campbell (1970 – ), One of the world’s top models, she began her career at age 15. She has appeared on the covers of most major fashion magazines. She has also appeared in videos produced for major recording artists including Bob Marley, Culture Club, George Michael, and Michael Jackson. Valerie Campbell, her glamorous mother, has admitted that she is a devout Jehovah’s Witness, and raised her daughter Naomi to be one. “I was raised to be a Jehovah’s Witness, but I let it slip,” she told the London Daily Mail. “Now I have found it again, I feel much more at peace with myself and the world around me…I brought up Naomi as a Jehovah’s Witness, but she must choose her faith for herself…I do give her literature on the subject though when she asks for it.” Since 2000, Miss Campbell has been involved in several incidents involving assaults on her employees and at least one incident involving a police officer. [Status: Inactive]
- Dwight David Eisenhower (1890 – 1969), Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces in Europe and Africa during World War 2, Holding the highest rank in the American military as General of the Army (5 Stars), he was credited with managing the successful invasion of France and the Low Countries in June,1944 that led to the final Allied Victory over Adolf Hitler’s German military forces. After the war, he became NATO’s Supreme Commander with orders to protect Europe and North America against aggression by the Soviet Union. In 1952, he was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate, winning the election over Senator Adlai Stevenson. As 34th President of the United States, he ended the war in Korea and led the United States into a period of relative peace and prosperity during the 1950s. When he was five years old, his parents joined the International Bible Students (AKA, Russellites), followers of the WatchTower Society, who took the name Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. The Eisenhower home served as the local WatchTower meeting Hall from 1896 to 1915. Eisenhower’s father stopped associating due to “Pastor” C. T. Russell’s failed prophesies that Armageddon would occur in 1914 and 1915, but still received a Jehovah’s Witness funeral when he died in the 1940s. Ida, Ike’s mother, continued as an active Jehovah’s Witness until her death in 1946. Even though he and his brothers left the religion in 1915, he enjoyed a close relationship with his mother throughout their lifetimes. A Watchtower printed Bible was used for his second inauguration in 1957. In 1953, just after his first inauguration, he was baptized and confirmed as a Presbyterian. During his retirement years, he was a member of the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Although often derided as a “do-nothing President,” he has most recently been ranked among the ten best to have served in that high office. America clearly “liked Ike.” [Status: Deceased]
- Larry Graham, Jr, (1946 – ), accomplished musician and song writer. He built his reputation based on his unique style playing bass in the highly successful funk rock band Sly & the Family Stone from 1967 to 1972. He pioneered the art of slap-pop playing on the electric bass, a style that later became a major influence on modern funk music. When the Family Stone disintegrated due to lead singer Sly Stone’s drug problems, he formed his own band, Graham Central Station. His group had several hits in the 1970s, including “Hair.” In 1975, Graham became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. His biggest hit was “One in a Million You”, a cross over hit, which reached number 9 on the Billboard chart in 1980. In 1998, he recorded another solo album called “GCS 2000,” which was a collaboration with Prince. Graham wrote all the songs except one that was co-written by Prince. The album was co-arranged and co-produced by Prince, and most of the instruments and vocals were recorded by both Graham and Prince. He later toured with Prince as his bassist in 1997-2000 and appeared in Prince’s 1998 video Beautiful Strange and Prince’s 1999 DVD Rave Un2 the Year 2000. It’s been reported that Mr. Graham was instrumental (no pun intended) in guiding Prince to become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. [Status: Active]
- Chet Lemon (1955 – ), American professional baseball player. Born in Mississippi, he attended college in Southern California and excelled as an athlete. Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1972, he played for them seven years. He was traded to Detroit in 1981, joining a team that was stocked with young stars. He retired from baseball at the end of the 1990 season. During his professional career he spent most of his time as a center-fielder, hitting 215 home runs, with 884 RBIs, 396 doubles, a lifetime .273 batting average, and a career fielding percentage of .984. He was named to the American League All-Star team three times and played on the World Series winning 1984 Detroit Tigers team. After being introduced to the religion by a fellow player when he was 19, he became a Jehovah’s Witness shortly after entering major league baseball. While playing in Detroit, he was close friends with Lou Whitaker, also an active Jehovah’s Witness. Although he suffered a rare spleen disease and went through a major abdominal operation without accepting blood transfusions in 2001, Lemon was last reported to be the head baseball coach for Eustis (Florida) High School. [Status: Active]
- Gloria Naylor (1950 – ), American writer and educator. She was born in New York City to Roosevelt and Alberta McAlpin Naylor shortly after they moved there from Mississippi. A very shy child, she lived in New York City until she graduated from high school in 1968. As a young woman, she became a Jehovah’s Witness “pioneer,” serving in New York, North Carolina, and Florida. Within a few years, she decided that missionary life and being a Jehovah’s Witness was not for her. She returned to New York City to attend college while working as a hotel telephone operator. She initially studied to become a nurse, but decided to pursue a degree in English at Brooklyn College. In 1981, she entered Yale University on a fellowship and in 1983 received an MA in Afro-American studies. After she published her first novel The Women of Brewster Place in 1982, she wrote for her master’s thesis at Yale what would become her second novel in 1985, Linden Hills. The Women of Brewster Place won her the American Book Award for “Best First Novel” and the Distinguished Writer Award from the Mid-Atlantic Writers Association. She served as writer in residence at Cummington Community of the Arts and as a visiting lecturer at George Washington University. During the 1980s she worked as a cultural exchange lecturer in India for the United States Information Agency and taught at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Princeton, Boston, Brandeis, and Cornell. Naylor also received several prestigious awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1985, the 1986 Candace Award from the National Coalition of One Hundred Black Women, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1988, and the 1989 Lillian Smith Award. [Status: Disassociated]