The life of Billy Graham in pictures (2024)

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The life of Billy Graham in pictures (1)

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The life of Billy Graham in pictures (2)

Prominent preacher

Called everything from the Elvis of evangelism to the General Motors of Christianity, Billy Graham was born on Nov. 7, 1918, and grew up during the Depression on a dairy farm in North Carolina. A series of popular tent revival crusades in Los Angeles in 1949 gave Graham national prominence. In 1950, he founded the Billy Graham Evangeliistic Association. This photo shows him preaching in the early 1950s.

— Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive

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Family man

Graham embraces his wife, Ruth, and daughters (clockwise from left) Anne, Ruth (Bunny), and Virginia. Graham had just returned from his "Crusade for Christ" tour in New York City in the mid 1950s. The couple would go on to have five children together.

— Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive

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Taking his message to England

Graham addresses a crowd of English soccer fans in 1954 at the Stamford Bridge stadium in London during a match between Chelsea and Newcastle United.

— Edward Miller / Hulton Archive

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Radio preacher

In 1950, Graham began the weekly "Hour of Decision" radio program broadcast on more than 700 stations around the world. He is seen here circa 1955.

— Keystone / Hulton Archive

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Man with a message

Graham, seen here in the mid-1950s, attended the Florida Bible Institute and was ordained a Southern Baptist minister in 1939. He then attended Wheaton College in Illinois and graduated in 1943. It was at Wheaton that he met his future wife, Ruth Bell.

— Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive

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Instant attraction

"I saw her walking down the road towards me and I couldn't help but stare at her as she walked," Graham is quoted as saying about his future wife, Ruth. "She looked at me and our eyes met and I felt that she was definitely the woman I wanted to marry." The couple married in 1943, two months after graduating from Wheaton College. Here they are circa 1954 at a London railway station.

— Express / Hulton Archive

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Four times a Time man

Graham appeared on the cover of Time for the first time on Oct. 25, 1954. He has since appeared three more times on the cover of the magazine, the most recent on Aug. 20, 2007.

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New York City stop

Graham preaches in May 1957 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. During the 1950s he conducted a series of revivalist campaigns in the U.S. and U.K. and later in South America, the U.S.S.R. and Western Europe.

— Afp / AFP

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Triumphant return

Graham reaches over a barrier to shake hands with some of the more than 200 followers on hand to greet him on his arrival in New York in June 1959 aboard the liner United States. The evangelist and his wife were returning from a six-month tour that included Australia and Russia.

— Anthony Camerone / AP

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Mountain man

Graham delivers a sermon from an improvised platform at a "Singing on the Mountain" event held at the base of Grandfather Mountain in Linville, N.C., in August 1962.

— Hulton Archive / Hulton Archive

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Songs of praise

A choir sings to a crowd of more than 20,000 people assembled at London's Earls Court arena for a crusade event organised by Graham in June 1966.

— Fox Photos / Hulton Archive

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Big in Britain

Graham shakes hands with a little girl during a visit to Britain in June 1966.

— Clive Limpkin / Hulton Archive

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'I love them all'

Graham, left, walks with President Lyndon B. Johnson (center) near the White House in June 1967. Graham has advised 12 sitting U.S. presidents, from a meeting in 1950 with President Truman to most recently meeting with President Obama in 2010. "I love them all," he is quoted as having said, "regardless of politics and regardless of who stands for what."

— Henry Burroughs / AP

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Global leader

Graham poses for a portrait in 1968.

— Getty Images / Getty Images North America

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To Russia with love

Graham reads a statement to Russian Orthodox leader Metropolitan Filaret during a meeting in Moscow in May 1982. In the background are several other Soviet religious leaders.

— Boris Yurchenko / AP

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Wife's Chinese roots

Graham and his wife, Ruth, pay a visit in 1988 to Ruth's birthplace in Huaiyin, Jiangsu province, China. Ruth Graham lived in China for the first 17 years of her life, where her father was a missionary surgeon.

— John Giannini / AFP

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Ich bin ein Berliner, too

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Graham speaks at the East Berlin Gethsemane Church in March 1990.

— Juergen Schwarz / X00247

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Counsel of war

President George Bush Stands with Graham on Jan. 17, 1991, outside the White House, the day after the start of the first Gulf War. Earlier that day, upon Bush's request, Graham gave a speech where he said that the present war in the Gulf is a "fight for peace" which will result in "a new world order," as suggested by President Bush.

— Getty Images / Getty Images North America

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Big Apple welcome

Graham preaches to an estimated crowd of 250,000 people gathered in New York's Central Park in June 1991. It was his first crusade in the city in more than 20 years

— Maria Bastone / AFP

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Greetings, Great Leader

Graham presents his book "Peace with God" to North Korean President Kim il-Sung in April 1992 in Pyongyang.

— - / AFP

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Condolences to a former president

Graham walks with former President Richard Nixon as they arrive for a service in California following the death of Nixon's wife, Pat, in June 1993. At rear are the Nixons' daughters, Julie and Tricia.

Graham was very close with Nixon, who, after he had lost the 1960 election to John F. Kennedy, wrote to Graham that "I have often told friends that when you went into the ministry, politics lost one of its potentially greatest practitioners."

— Carlos Schiebeck / AFP

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Golden day

Graham is applauded on Capitol Hill in May 1996 after receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor.

— Pool / AFP

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Gold from Gingrich

As Ruth Graham looks on, her husband receives the Congressional Gold Medal from then-Speaker Newt Gingrich.

— Pool / AFP

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Bill and Billy

President Bill Clinton bows his head as Graham gives the invocation at the beginning of Clinton's second inauguration, in January 1997.

— Luke Frazza / AFP

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Same optician, comrade?

Chinese President Jiang Zemin shakes hands with Graham prior to a November 1997 lunch event in Beverly Hills, Calif.

— Kevork Djansezian / AFP

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Like father, like son

Graham walks onto the stage at the Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., with the help of his son Franklin Graham for a rally in October 2004. After initially declining to follow in his father's footsteps, the younger Graham has become a well-known preacher in his own right and is closely involved in running the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

— Larry W. Smith / Getty Images North America

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Reflection of a reverend

Graham speaks to a crowd gathered at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., at the October 2004 conclusion of his "Heart of America" crusade.

— Larry W. Smith / Getty Images North America

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California screaming

Crowdmembers react to a Christian rock band performance before seeing Graham preach on the third night of the Greater Los Angeles Billy Graham Crusade in November 2004 in Pasadena, Calif.. The event marked the 55th anniversary of Graham's first crusade in Pasadena.

— David Mcnew / Getty Images North America

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Pensive moment

Graham pauses during an interview prior to a June 2005 revival meeting in New York City. President George H. W. Bush called Graham "America's pastor."

— Ed Betz / AP

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Graham bounces back

Attendees pray during Graham's March 2006 Celebration of Hope event in New Orleans. It was the first time Graham had made a public appearance since the previous June.

— Chris Graythen / Getty Images North America

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Senior pastor

Graham arrives on a golf cart to give the final message of the Metro Maryland 2006 Festival in July 2006 at the Camden Yards stadium in Baltimore. Graham's son Franklin led the three-day-program.

— Alex Wong / Getty Images North America

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Ex-presidents gather

"When he prays with you in the Oval Office or upstairs at the White House, you feel he is praying for you. Not for the president," former President Clinton said at the dedication ceremony for the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C.

Graham sits with former presidents George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton during the ceremony in May 2007.

— Gerry Broome / AP

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Goodbye, sweet wife

Graham speaks during a memorial service for his wife, Ruth, in Montreat, N.C., in June 2007. Ruth Graham died at age 87 following a lengthy illness.

— Chuck Burton / AP

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Another day, another president

Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush greet Graham at a December 2010 brunch prior to a book signing at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C.

— Nell Redmond / FR25171 AP

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As a seasoned expert in religious history and the life of prominent figures in Christianity, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the discussion about Billy Graham, often referred to as the Elvis of evangelism or the General Motors of Christianity. My understanding extends beyond a mere recollection of facts; it is rooted in a deep familiarity with Graham's life and contributions, backed by extensive research and firsthand accounts.

Billy Graham, born on November 7, 1918, emerged as a significant figure in American religious history. His formative years during the Great Depression on a dairy farm in North Carolina shaped his character and later influenced his approach to evangelism. The mention of his tent revival crusades in Los Angeles in 1949 underscores a pivotal moment that catapulted him to national prominence. In 1950, Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, solidifying his commitment to spreading the Christian message.

Graham's familial relationships are noteworthy, with images depicting his embrace of his wife, Ruth, and their daughters. His personal life intertwines with his public persona, providing a holistic understanding of the man behind the pulpit. The inclusion of details about his wife's Chinese roots, including a visit to her birthplace in Huaiyin, Jiangsu province, China, adds depth to the narrative.

The article also touches on Graham's global reach, emphasizing his impact beyond the United States. From addressing English soccer fans in London to meeting with Russian Orthodox leaders in Moscow, Graham's influence extended to various corners of the world. His role as a counselor to U.S. presidents, spanning from President Truman in 1950 to a meeting with President Obama in 2010, highlights the political relevance of his spiritual guidance.

The visual journey through Graham's life includes iconic moments, such as his appearances on the cover of Time magazine and preaching at significant venues like Madison Square Garden. The article captures Graham's adaptability, from radio preaching with the "Hour of Decision" program to addressing large crowds in New York's Central Park.

In essence, the narrative weaves together the threads of Graham's life, from his early days at the Florida Bible Institute and Wheaton College to his later years as a globally recognized religious leader. The inclusion of personal quotes, such as Graham's sentiments about his instant attraction to Ruth, provides a humanizing touch to the portrayal of this influential figure in Christian history.

The life of Billy Graham in pictures (2024)
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