Celebrities who are (or were) JWs – Part 1

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)

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Celebrities who are (or were) JWs – Part 6

Our articles about famous and infamous celebrities continue to be reader favorites. This is the sixth in a series of brief profiles of past and present people who, besides being famous for their personal fame and news worthiness, have also been connected to some degree with Jehovah’s Witnesses during their lifetimes.

It is clear that being both famous and a Jehovah’s Witness is not easy. Some Witnesses manage to handle their association quietly and discreetly. They let their professional accomplishments speak for themselves – and otherwise stay out of the limelight. Others, however, find their fame and achievements often shadowed by their association with the religion. By far, most find that being a Witness is incompatible with being a celebrity – and then face the decision to either quit the religion or choose to leave their professional career behind.

This latest group of five is a mixed bunch. Some are in, some are out, some have relationships that are tenuous and limited, but they still count as having connections to Jehovah’s Witnesses at some point in their lives. You might find a few surprises on this list. Be sure to check out and enjoy our new video gallery at the end of the article. Feel free to comment.

  • Jean Terrell (singer)
  • Sherri Shepherd (TV personality)
  • Hank Marvin (musician)
  • “Xzibit” (singer)
  • Rodney King (newsmaker)

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Celebrities who are (or were) JWs – Part 5

As our readership continues to expand, one trend is very apparent: Everyone seems to be interested in celebrities and other famous individuals who might be Jehovah’s Witnesses.

As the editor of Ex-JW.com, I receive three or four emails per day requesting more articles about JWs who may have reached some level of fame during their lives. I’ve also received a few suggestions that I might follow up as I have more time, while others (such as the one about Pee-wee Herman’s recent conversion, or that serial killer Ted Bundy studied with the JWs while in a Florida prison) will be written off as simple Internet graffiti. In any case, I’m pleased to see that so many of our readers continue to enjoy these articles about famous and infamous people who have made more than passing contact with our favorite religion.

This group of names includes a couple of entertainers, a pair of athletes, and the wife of one major politician who may have affected the course of world history. If you have any suggestions for other celebrity JWs, please let me know by sending a email to Contact@Ex-JW.com.

Here is our fifth set of five famous individuals who are, or were at one time, associated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses:

  • Kid Gavilan (athlete)
  • Evelyn Mandela (politician’s wife)
  • Dave Meyers (athlete)
  • Selena Quintanilla (singer)
  • Michelle Rodriguez (actor)

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Celebrities who are (or were) JWs – Part 4

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)

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The [Two] Three Funerals of Michael Jackson

Update: Michael Jackson’s third funeral took place on September 3, 2009 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

According to news reports, the private affair was open to only a few family members and some notable celebrities. Gladys Knight, renowned member of Gladys Knight and the Pips and a music legend in her own right, reportedly sung a special song during the brief ceremony. No media or television representatives were allowed to attend.

Jackson’s final internment will be in Forest Lawns’s “Great Mausoleum,” final resting place to numerous entertainment legends. It is also the location of the reproductions of the statues of “David” and “Moses” originally sculpted by Michaelangelo and the stained glass reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper.”

Among the other notable people interred in the mausoleum are Clark Gable, George Burns, Walt Disney, Nat King Cole, and John Wayne. Dozens of other famous entertainers are buried or interred in other publicly accessible areas of the Glendale memorial park including Marilyn Monroe and members of the “Three Stooges.”


During the days leading up to Michael Jackson’s memorial at Staples Center in Los Angeles, there was much speculation about how “The King of Pop’s” funeral was going to be handled.

At first it was announced that the Jackson family would have a “private funeral” that would be closed to the public and the press. It might be held at Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County near Los Olivos, California – or maybe not. It could be held in the Los Angeles area and then Michael Jackson’s body would be buried at the ranch site – or maybe not.

As hundreds of people began to gather around the entrance and along the roadside leading to Neverland Ranch, it soon became apparent that privacy for the family would be impossible if the funeral was held at that location. Anything more elaborate that would involve the public would not only cause a major uproar among the residents of that remote area, but also put a severe strain on local roads, public facilities, and law enforcement agencies.

Late in the week of Jackson’s death, the family and AEG Live, the producers of Jackson’s now canceled London concerts, announced that a public memorial performance would be held at Staples Center, a large sports arena near downtown Los Angeles. Staples Center is owned and managed by another subsidiary of AEG. A plan was put into place to distribute 17,000 free tickets to 8,500 winners of an online lottery. All other attendees would be guests and dignitaries invited by the family and AEG.

A big question left unanswered was whether Michael Jackson’s funeral would be included aa a part of the memorial performance. Would Michael Jackson’s coffin even be there? Would the Jackson family actually appear? And, if they did, would his brothers or sister Janet perform during the performance segment?

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Celebrities who are (or were) JWs – Part 3

Reading about celebrities who have either been Jehovah’s Witnesses or may have had some connection the religion during their lifetimes has become even more popular with the recent passing of Michael Jackson. Everyone seems to want to know what other famous people have been JWs, especially movie or rock stars, even if they have only been inside a Kingdom Hall a time or two.

This time we will dig a little deeper and highlight five people that you may not have been aware were Witnesses or they may have faded into obscurity before their time. All were well known when they were in the limelight and excelled in their professions.

Here is our third set of five celebrity JWs (or close enough to be considered):

  • Joyce Holden (actress)
  • Terrence Howard (actor)
  • Margaret Keane (artist)
  • Patti Smith (singer)
  • Lou Whitaker (athlete)

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