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The Religious Affiliation of Foursquare Gospel Founder
Aimee Semple McPherson


Aimee Semple McPherson is one of the most famous female figures in American religious history. She was an influential early Pentecostal preacher who founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. She was particularly well known for attracting famous Hollywood celebrities to her circle of friends and congregants.

Prior to her career as a Pentecostal preacher, Aimee Semple McPherson was a member and worker in the Salvation Army. This was an important part of her history, as chronicled in the independent biopic film Aimee Semple McPherson (2006).

From: Randall Riese, All About Bette: Her Life from A to Z, Contemporary Books: Chicago (1993), page 154:

During her heyday at Warner Brothers in the forties, Bette pushed to play the part of evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson [founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel], but the proposed project was reportedly nixed by the studio censor. Some 30 years later Bette was given the opportunity to play not Sister Aimee but the secondary role of the evangelist's mother. Initially Ann-Margret was going to play Sister Aimee. Bette, who had played Ann-Margret's mother years before in Pocketful of Miracles and was fond of her, signed for the part. However, shortly before production was to start, Ann-Margret backed out of the project, and Faye Dunaway was signed to replace her.

[More about this film, not excerpted here.]

"The Disappearance of Aimee" was directed by Anthony Harvey... It was produced by Tomorrow Entertainment, and aired on NBC in 1976.

From: Kate Buford, Burt Lancaster: An American Life, Alfred A. Knopf: New York (2000), page 200:
The director [Richard Brooks, preparing to make his acclaimed movie Elmer Gantry, about an errant Protestant evangelist] had ammassed a collection of articles on the two key figures, Billy Sunday and Aimee Semple McPherson, of the great revivalist wave that swept across America in the teens and 1920s. An ex-basebal player who used his superbly proportioned and coordinated body to sensational effect during his world-famous revvial meetings, Sunday vaulted onto the platform "as beautiful," wrote journalist John Reed, "as a Greek runner," crying, "O-o-o-o-oh, come to Jesus!" More controversial because of her gender (only "fringe sects" had women preachers), McPherson roared down the aisle of her Anglus Temple in Los Angeles on a motorcycle, shoting "Stop! You're speeding to Hell!" and was the most photographed woman in America by the late 1920s.

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Webpage created 30 July 2005. Last modified 31 October 2005.
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