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from the Billy Graham Library

This Date in History: Oct. 15, 1989 – Star on Hollywood Blvd.

October 15, 2012


On this date in 1989, Billy Graham became the first clergyman to be honored with a star on Hollywood Boulevard for his work as a minister of the Gospel.

The Los Angeles Times wrote about the ceremony:

During his remarks to the crowd, the man who has used television, film and radio to rail against drugs, sex and violence was unafraid to give those in show biz some advice: “I would call upon the industry today to put more emphasis on moral and spiritual values.”

And in these days of television ministry scandals, he wasted no time in pointing out to reporters that the symbol on his star is a small, old-time microphone, which signifies that he is being honored for his work in radio.

“They didn’t want to identify me as a televangelist,” he declared, adding, “I am not a televangelist.”

Asked if he minded that his name would be permanently embossed on a boulevard that for some is synonymous with sin, the 70-year-old preacher didn’t miss a beat.

“We’re all sinners,” he replied. “Everybody you meet all over the world is a sinner. The word ‘sin’ means you’ve broken with the laws of God. We’ve all done that. So I couldn’t condemn Hollywood Boulevard any more than any other place.”

Actor Kirk Cameron was present at the ceremony. At the time, he starred in the hit sitcom “Growing Pains.” Cameron remembers Billy Graham saying, “Some people may ask me why I would agree to have my name put down on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—isn’t that kind of egotistical?”

According to Cameron, Mr. Graham responded, “It may be for some, but the reason I agreed to do this is that I thought one day some little child will walk along this street and look down and say, ‘Mommy, who is Billy Graham?’ And she would be able to tell her child, ‘Son, Billy Graham was a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me explain to you what that Gospel is.’

“I was so impressed by his faithfulness to the Gospel, his perseverance over all these years, and the many exciting things he’s been able to do,” Cameron added. “Billy Graham had a very profound impact on me in terms of inspiring me to want to passionately pursue preaching the Gospel.”