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Famous Methodists

Related pages:
- Methodist Science Fiction Writers
- Names of Methodist Politicians
- Largest United Methodist Communities
- Famous United Brethren

Related websites:
- Prominent Historical Methodists
- Methodist Politicians
- Wiki: Category: Methodists
- Methodist Archives Biographical Index
- United Methodist Biographies
- Historical Firsts for Women Clergy
- Religion: Methodist

Founding Fathers

Methodist Signers of the U.S. Constitution:
- William Few - Georgia
- Richard Bassett - Delaware

Methodist Senators in
First U.S. Federal Congress (1789-1791):

- William Few - Georgia
- Richard Bassett - Delaware

The same two Methodists who signed the U.S. Constitution also served as Senators in the First Congress. No Methodists are known to have signed the Declaration of Independence or the Articles of Confederation, and none are known to have served in the House of Representatives of the First Federal Congress.

Some Methodist
Comic Book Characters

- Superman
- Supergirl
- Atoman
- Superboy
Film, Television, Radio:
- George Lucas - writer, director, producer ("Star Wars", etc.)
- Brandon Routh - actor; starred as Superman in Superman Returns (2006)
- D. W. Griffith - pioneering filmmaker
- Darryl Zanuck - important Hollywood studio mogul (Fox)
- Christopher Walken - actor, movie star
- Will Rogers - popular TV and film cowboy; humorist
- Tim Curry - actor
- Fred Gwynne - actor best known as "Herman" on TV sitcom The Munsters
- David Frost - TV producer, performer, interviewer, writer
- George Lutz - real person who bought haunted house, as depicted in "The Amityville Horror" (1979 film, 2005 remake)
- Donna Reed - Academy Award-winning actress
- Tallulah Bankhead - actress; Lifeboat; A Royal Scandal; etc. (Methodist father; she was non-churchgoer)
- Robert Mitchum - actor (nominal Methodist)
- James Arness - actor
- Patricia Neal - actress
- William Christopher - actor (best known for as "Father Mulcahy" on hit TV sitcom M*A*S*H)
- Kate Capshaw - actress; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, etc. (converted to Judaism before marrying Steven Spielberg)
- Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet - television chef; formerly an ordained UMC minister
- Rex Reed - film critic
- Rush Limbaugh - popular conservative talk show host
- Horton Foote - screenwriter: Academy Awards for Tender Mercies; To Kill a Mockingbird; nomination for The Trip to Bountiful (raised Methodist; convert to Christian Science)
- Howard Keel - actor best known as "Clayton Farlow" on popular primetime drama Dallas
- Harry Reems - starred in historically popular "adult film" Deep Throat (later became an actively religous Christian)

- James Knox Polk - 11th U.S. President
- Ulysses S Grant - 18th U.S. President
- Rutherford B. Hayes - 19th U.S. President
- William McKinley - 25th U.S. President
- George W. Bush - 43rd U.S. President (convert from Episcopal Church)

- Boris Trajkovski - president of Macedonia
- Chiang Ching-Kuo - President of Taiwan (1978-88)
- Chiang Kai-Shek - head of Chinese Nationalist forces and President of the Republic of Church (Taiwan)
- Abel Muzorewa - former president of Zimbabwe (former Methodist bishop)
- Taufa'ahau Tupou IV - king of Tonga
- Oliver Tambo - African National Congress (ANC) President in South Africa (1969-91)
- Lester Bowles Pearson - Prime Minister of Canada (1963-68)

- Alben W. Barkley - U.S. Vice-President under Truman
- Hubert H. Humphrey - U.S. Vice-President under L.B. Johnson
- Walter F. Mondale - U.S. Vice-President under Carter
- Dick Cheney - U.S. Vice-President under George W. Bush

- Hillary Clinton - senator from New York; former First Lady with Pres. Bill Clinton
- Geronimo - Apache Indian leader; his final 1886 surrender was last significant Indian guerrilla action in U.S. (1903: convert to Methodism)
- Warren Christopher - U.S. Secretary of State (1993-97)
- Willard Wirtz - U.S. Secretary of Labor (1962-69)
- Arthur Henderson - British Member of Parliament, Foreign Secretary, diplomat; 1934 Nobel Peace Prize (convert from Congregationalism)
- Eugenie Anderson - 2nd female U.S. Ambassador (to Denmark, then Bulgaria)
- Michael D. McCurry - Mike McCurry was the White House press secretary (1994-1998)
- Alf Landon - Governor of Kansas 1933-1937; Republican candidate for U.S. Pres. in 1936 (lost to FDR in biggest landslide since 1820)
- Tom Bradley - mayor of Los Angeles
- Harold Washington - first black mayor of Chicago
- Lurleen Wallace - first woman governor of Alabama
- Jesse H. Jones - U.S. Secretary of Commerce (1940-1945)
- Joycelyn Elders controvoersial U.S. Surgeon General (September 1993 to December 1994) who focused on public health and sexual topics
- Mack McLarty - White House Chief of Staff under Pres. Clinton
- Lee H. Hamilton - 9-11 Commission vice chairman
- J. Caleb Boggs - Governor and Senator from Delaware
- Terry Sanford - Governor and Senator from North Carolina
- David L. Boren - Governor and Senator from Oklahoma
- Dale Bumpers - Governor and Senator from Arkansas
- Vernon Jordan - important advisor to Pres. Bill Clinton

Senators/Congressional Representatives:
- George McGovern - U.S. Senator and presidential candidate
- William Brockman Bankhead - U.S. Representative from Alabama (Democrat); Speaker of the U.S. House 1936-40
- Dennis Hastert - Republican U.S. Representative from Illinois (14th District); Speaker of the House since 1999
- John Edwards - U.S. senator from North Carolina; 2004 Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate
- Sam Brownback - U.S. Senator from Kansas (converted to Catholicism while in office)
- John Tower - U.S. Senator from Texas, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, 23 years in Senate
- Margaret Chase Smith - U.S. Senator, served as a Senator longer than any other woman
- Alcee Hastings - former judge in Florida, impeached in 1988; U.S. Congressman from Florida (1992-?); 1st black Rep. from Florida since Reconstruction
- Ben Nelson - Governor of Nebraska (1991-99); U.S. Senator from Nebraska (2001-?)
- Sam Nunn - prominent U.S. Senator from Georgia (Democrat, served 1972-1996)
- Bob Mathias - won 1948 and 1952 decathlon Olympic gold medeals; U.S. Congressman from California 18th District (1967-1974)
- Louis Stokes - U.S. Representative from Ohio's for 15 terms, 1969-1999 (African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church)
- Floyd Flake - U.S. Representative from New York's 6th District (pastor in African Methodist Episcopal Church)

- Harry Blackmun - US Supreme Court Justice (1970-94); author of Roe v. Wade (1973), which forced national legalization of abortion
- Alfred P. Murrah - chief judge of 10th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals (1959-1970); Murrah Federal Building destroyed in Oklahoma City bombing (1995) was named after him.
- Fred Vinson - US Supreme Court Chief Justice (1946-53)

- Karen Carpenter and Richard Carpenter - famed, top-selling mellow singing duo "The Carpenters"
- W. C. Handy - Father of the Blues ("Saint Louis Blues," "Memphis Blues")
- George Beverly Shea - was America's most beloved Gospel singer
- Dionne Warwicke - singer
- Toni Braxton - popular pop, R&B singer
- Tori Amos - singer/songwriter/pianist
- Nina Simone - singer, pianist, composer
- Roberta Flack - singer, composer, musician
- Ethel Waters - African-American singer, inducted into Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1984; known as "Sweet Mama Stringbean"

- Stephen King - best-selling horror writer (raised in a nominal Methodist home)
- Stephen Crane - novelist, poet; author of The Red Badge of Courage, etc.
- Jack Williamson - grandmaster science fiction author
- Edward Eggleston - late 1800s American historian and novelist; novels include: The Hoosier School-Master; The Circuit Rider
- Robert A. W. Lowndes - science fiction author and editor; Believers' World and other novels
- Jack MacLane - (real name Bill Crider) horror writer, author of novels such as Goodnight Moon
- William Apess - early 1800s mixed race (Native American/white) author: A Son of the Forest; On Our Own Ground; etc.
- Augustus Baldwin Longstreet - author: Georgia Scenes (essays), Master William Mitten (novel); President of Emory College, U. of Mississippi & U. of South Carolina
- Craig Claiborne - food editor for New York Times
- E. J. Pratt - important Canadian poet whose collections include Newfoundland Verse, etc.

- John Wesley - founder of Methodism (but he was a life-long Anglican)
- Charles Wesley - hymn composer; John Wesley's brother (1701 - 1788); co-founder of Methodism (he was "the first Methodist," although officially he was a life-long Anglican)
- William Booth - ordained Methodist minister who founded a new religious denomination: the Salvation Army
- Francis Asbury - first general superintendent or bishop of American Methodism
- John Fletcher - early Methodist leader
- Richard Allen - founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
- Oral Roberts - controversial famous evangelist, charismatic televangelist (converted to Methodist from a Pentecostal Holiness church in 1968)
- George Whitfield - prominent early Methodist preacher
- John R. Mott - missionary, statesman, honorary first president of the World Council of Churches
- William Edwin Sangster - had largest Sunday-evening congregation in London during WWII; later head of the Methodist Church's home mission department
- Leslie Dixon Weatherhead - teacher, preacher and writer; president of the British Methodist Conference
- E. Stanley Jones - prominent missionary in India
- Ralph Sockman - nationally known radio preacher and televangelist
- Anthony Flew - philosopher; formerly one of world's leading atheists; announced he believed in existence of God in 2004
- Norman Vincent Peale - popular American preacher, inspirational author; (ordained in Methodist Episcopal Church, but converted to Dutch Reformed)
- Henry McNeal Turner - the first black postmaster; later Methodist bishop/intellectual
- Ralph Reed - former head of the Christian Coalition
- Don Wildmon - ordained Methodist pastor in Mississippi; moral crusader; led successful anti-pornography campaigns and boycotts, including getting Waldenbooks and 7-Eleven to drop obscene publications; founder and executive director of American Family Association
- Gregory S. Neal - Methodist preacher; possible heir to ministry of eccentric televangelist Gene Scott
- Larry Varvel - real-life Methodist preacher who is basis for Supergirl's same-named Methodist minister

- Alistair Cooke - esteemed BBC broadcaster; author of Alistair Cooke's America
- Charlayne Hunter-Gault - journalist, long with NewsHour on PBS
- Mumia Abu-Jamal - journalist, Black Panther, political activist, known for his 1982 conviction and death sentence on charges of a police officer, and for a nationally popular counter-culture campaign to free him (raised methodist; convert to Islam)
- Dorothy Thompson - journalist expelled from Germany in 1934 by Adolf Hitler, personally; author of non-fiction book incl.: I Saw Hitler! (1932), Let the Record Speak (1939), The Courage to be Happy (1957)
- Scott Pelley - investigative journalist on TV's 60 Minutes
- Gwen Ifill - television journalist; Washington Week, Lehrer News Hour, etc.
- David Goodnow - TV journalist; was a CNN anchorman

- Peter Doub - founder of Greensboro College
- Bob Jones - founder of Bob Jones University
- Daniel Payne - first black college president (founder of Wilberforce University)
- Mary McLeod Bethune - educator

Religious Scholars:
- J. Gordon Melton - founder of the Institute for the Study of American Religion; author of Encyclopedia of American Religion and many other books; vampire expert; Methodist minister
- Jan Shipps - author; world's preeminent non-Latter-day Saint historian specializing in Mormon history and culture (an active Methodist)
- Diana L. Eck - Harvard professor of comparative religions and Indian; heads the Pluralism Project (raised Methodist)
- William Foxwell Albright - Biblical archaeologist; authenticated the Dead Sea Scrolls
- John Heyl Vincent - Methodist Bishop and founder of the Chautauqua Movement, adult education programs

- Harriet Tubman - abolitionist, freed slaves using "Underground Railroad"
- Rosa Parks - black woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus helped launch the U.S. Civil Rights Movement
- Albert Lutuli - South African civil rights activist, pres. of African National Congress, Nobel Prize recipient
- Frances Willard - suffragette and prohibitionist
- Sojourner Truth - abolitionist, black activist (convert to SDAs)
- Gaylord Nelson - Founded Earth Day in 1970
- James Farmer - black, blind co-founder of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which he led from 1942-1965; received Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998; memoir: Lay Bare the Heart (1985)

- Jackie Robinson - professional baseball player
- Tom Landry - professional football coach; director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes
- Wesley Branch Rickey - professional baseball player, executive; signed another devout Methodist -- Jackie Robinson -- to play for Dodgers
- Bart Starr - football player
- Fran Tarkenton - professional football player

- Thomas Welch - founder of grape juice company
- Gustavus Swift - founder of Swift and Company (meat producers)
- Ray L. Hunt - Chairman of Hunt Oil

- Walter Reed - 19th Century scientist who proved that mosquitos spread Yellow Fever
- Arthur Schawlow - Nobel Prize-winning physicist known for his work on lasers
- William D. Phillips - Nobel Prize-winning physicist; awarded for his contributions to laser cooling

- Jack Cole - comic book artist; creator of the popular character "Plastic Man"
- Lynd Ward - known for his novel Gods' Man (1925), a story told entirely in woodcuts

- Walter Reed - famed Army doctor
- John Wesley Hardin - gun fighter; one of deadliest gunslingers in the old West
- Ted Bundy - infamous serial killer
- Ken Lay - was C.E.O. of scandalous and criminal large energy corporation Enron
- John Poindexter - prominent U.S. Defense Dept. official; became controversial as National Security Advisor under Pres. Reagan for Iran/Contra involvement

Some additional U.S. Senators who were Methodists:
Howell Heflin - Alabama (1979-97)
Jeff Sessions - Alabama (1997-)
Zell Miller - Georgia
Richard B. Russell - Georgia (1933-71)
Johnny Isakson - Georgia (2005-)
Daniel Inouye - Hawaii, (1963-)
Larry Craig - Idaho
James A. McClure - Idaho (1973-91)
Dick Lugar - Indiana (1977-)
James Harlan - Iowa (until 1873)
Pat Roberts - Kansas (1997-)
Debbie Stabenow - Michigan
Robert Torricelli - New Jersey, (1997-2002)
Jeff Bingaman - New Mexico
Richard Burr - North Carolina (2005-)
Craig Thomas - Wyoming
Birch Bayh - Indiana (1963-81)

Some additional U.S. Representatives who were Methodists:
Dan Boren - Oklahoma (2005-)
Lloyd Doggett - Texas 10th (1995-2005)
Larry Combest - Texas 19th (1985-2003)
Solomon Ortiz - Texas 27th
Gene Green - Texas 29th
Pete Sessions - Texas 32nd (1997-)
Ralph Hall - Texas 4th
Joe Barton - Texas 6th
John Culberson - Texas 7th
Denise Majette - Georgia 4th
Sue Myrick - North Carolina 9th
Kay Granger - Texas 12th
Bob Clement - Tennessee
Bob Franks - New Jersey 7th (1993-2001)
Bud Cramer - Alabama 5th
Charlie Norwood - Georgia 9th
Ed Bethune - Arkansas 2nd (1979-85)
Emanuel Cleaver II - Missouri 5th (2005-)
Jake Pickle - Texas (1963-95)
Jeff Miller - Florida 1st
Jim Kolbe - Arizona 8th
Jim McCrery - Louisiana 4th
Jim Saxton - New Jersey 3rd
John Brademas - Indiana 3rd (1959-81)
Mac Collins - Georgia 8th
Marion Berry - Arkansas 1st
Norm Mineta - California
Richard Baker - Louisiana 6th
Rob Portman - Ohio 2nd (1993-)
Robert Matsui - California 5th
Russ Carnahan - Missouri 3rd (2005-)
Steve Buyer - Indiana 4th
Wayne Gilchrest - Maryland 1st
Bennie Thompson - Mississippi
Bill Young - Florida (1971-2003)
Bob Barr - Georgia (1995-2003)

Some additional U.S. Governors who were Methodists:
Janet Napolitano - Arizona
Roy Barnes - Georgia (1999-2003)
Dirk Kempthorne - Idaho (1999-)
Robert Ehrlich - Maryland
Kirk Fordice - Mississippi (1992-2000)
Bob Taft - Ohio
James B. Edwards - South Carolina (1975-79)
Richard W. Riley - South Carolina (1979-87)
Jim Hodges - South Carolina (1999-2003)
Frank G. Clement - Tennessee
Rick Perry - Texas
John Connally - Texas (1963-69)
Charles Turnbull - Virgin Islands
George Ryan Illinois (1999-2003)
Wilford B. Hoggatt - Territorial Alaska (1906-09)

Additional Methodists
Additional Methodists, from Wikipedia (; viewed 12 August 2005): Absalom Jones; Adam Clarke; Alan Walker; Albert C. Knudson; Albert Outler; Andrew Hunter; Anna Howard Shaw; B. T. Roberts; Borden Parker Bowne; Branch Rickey; Calvin Fairbank; Canaan Banana; Charles M. Schulz; Clement A. Evans; Edgar S. Brightman; Edwin Lewis; Emanuel Henry Custer; Fanny Crosby; George Thomas, 1st Viscount Tonypandy; George Whitefield; Georgia Harkness; Gideon Ouseley; Henry Boehm; Hudson Taylor; Hugh Beaumont; Hugh Price Hughes; Isaiah Benjamin Scott; J. S. Woodsworth; Jack Adkisson; James Cone; James L. Farmer, Sr.; James W. Kemp; John B. Cobb; John Chivington; John McClintock; John Miley; Joseph McCarthy; Kathleen Richardson; Kathryn Kuhlman; Kevin Adkisson; Mary Monnett Bain; Nathan Bangs; Paul Wecker; Phoebe Knapp; Phoebe Palmer; Rayner Stephens; Reggie Sanders; Richard Watson; Sam Pollard; Samuel G. Plantz; Samuel Porter Jones; Stanley Hauerwas; Thomas C. Oden; Toshiro Mifune; Wilbur Fisk; William Burt Pope; William F. Albright; William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth; William Morley Punshon

People who were not Methodists:
- Wright Brothers - Orville and Wilbur Wright, inventors of the airplane, were not Methodists, but have sometimes been mistakenly claimed as such.
- James Dobson - conservative author, activist, host of radio show "Focus on the Family" (he is actually a member of the Church of the Nazarene, which is an offshoot of Methodism)

Related Links

  • Methodist Archives Biographical Index - at John Rylands University Library of Manchester

  • United Methodist Biographies - at The General Commission on Archives and History for The United Methodist Church: brief biographical notes a few influential figures in early Methodist history - John Wesley (1703-1791); Philip Otterbein (1726-1813); Francis Asbury (1745-1816); Thomas Coke (1747-1814); Harry Hosier (ca. 1750-1806); Jacob Albright (1759-1808); Richard Allen (1760-1831); Frances Willard (1839-1898); Anna Oliver (1840-1892)

  • Historical Firsts for Women Clergy - more Methodist biographies at the General Commission on Archives (Charity Opheral, Lydia Sexton, Margaret Newton Van Cott, Helenor M. Davisson, Anna Howard Shaw, Ella Niswonger, Maud K. Jensen, Gusta A. Robinette, Marjorie Matthews, Jean Barkley Alnor, Kay F. Alnor Moyer)


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Special thanks to Rev. J. Gordon Melton (an ordained Methodist minister and one of the nation's leading religious sociologists) and to Rev. Dave Swinton for their excellent suggested additions to this list - each contributing at least 14 names.

Copyright © 2002 by
Web page created 28 December 2000. Last modified 19 April 2007.

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