Tammy Faye Messner, the onetime first lady of TV evangelism, died Friday at the age of 65; she had battled cancer for years. Terry Gross interviewed the former Tammy Faye Bakker on January 15, 2004, about the rise and fall of the ministry she led with ex-husband Jim Bakker, the puppet show that gave them their start, and her surprising later life as a gay icon.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder and pastor of Lynchburg, Va.,'s Thomas Road Baptist Church and an outspoken leader of the religious right, died yesterday at age 73; we remember him with an interview recorded in the early days of Fresh Air's national broadcast. In 1979, Falwell founded a movement he called the Moral Majority and helped return the Republican Party to power with the election of President Ronald Reagan. Falwell also founded Liberty University, an evangelical institution believed to be the largest of its kind. Rebroadcast from March 14, 1986.
Richard Gilman, who died Saturday at age 83, was a writer and professor at the Yale School of Drama. Ben Brantley of The New York Times writes, "Mr. Gilman was one of a breed of philosopher-critics... who came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s. They located in modern drama the elements of abstraction, alienation and absurdity that had long been at the core of discussions of other forms of art and literature." In this archive interview from 1987, Gilman recounts his conversion from Judaism to Catholicism and then to atheism.
We remember former Episcopal Bishop of New York, Paul Moore. He died Thursday at the age of 83. Moore was known for his activism and concern for human rights. He was part of the civil rights movement and protested against the Vietnam War. As Bishop, he brought the church into dialogue with the poor and oppressed in New York. And he transformed the Cathedral of St. John the Divine into a thriving place for the community. In 1997 he published his memoir, Presences: A Bishop's Life in the City. This interview first aired December 15, 1997.