Billy Graham Fast Facts

Here's a look at the life of evangelist Billy Graham.

Birth date:
November 7, 1918

Birth place: Charlotte, North Carolina

    Birth name: William Franklin Graham, Jr.

    Father: William Franklin Graham, Sr., dairy farmer

    Mother: Morrow (Coffey) Graham

    Marriage: Ruth (Bell) Graham (August 13, 1943-June 14, 2007, her death)

    Children: Nelson Edman, 1958; William Franklin, III, 1952; Ruth Bell, 1950; Anne Morrow, 1948; Virginia, 1945

    Education: Florida Bible Institute, Th.B. (Theology), 1940 (now called Trinity College); Wheaton College, B.A., 1943

    Religion: Baptist

    Other Facts:
    Grew up on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina.

    Graham has been listed by Gallup as one of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World" more than 50 times.

    Has met with every U.S. president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

    Has preached to over 215 million people in more than 185 countries.

    Billy Graham's illnesses include fluid on the brain, prostate cancer, and Parkinson's Disease.

    1934 -
    Graham becomes "born again" after hearing an evangelist preach in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    December 4, 1938 - Graham is baptized in Silver Lake, Florida.

    1939 - Is ordained by a Southern Baptist Convention church.

    1943-1945 - Takes over a Chicago radio program, "Songs in the Night".

    1944 - Works with Youth For Christ organization and travels the country speaking at rallies.

    1947 - Accepts the presidency of Northwestern Schools, an educational complex founded by the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis.

    1948 - Resigns from Youth For Christ.

    1949 - Holds crusades in tents in downtown Los Angeles. Originally scheduled for three weeks, the crusades are so popular they run for seven weeks.

    1950 - Founds the Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA) to establish order and policies for his crusades.

    1950 - Begins a weekly Sunday night radio program, "The Hour of Decision".

    1950s - Founds World Wide Pictures (founding dates vary from 1950-1952). To date has currently produced and distributed over 130 productions, translated into 46 languages. Most are short films shown in churches.

    1952 - Begins a daily column of advice, "My Answer", still distributed by Tribune Media Service.

    1954 - Crusade in London lasts twelve weeks and draws huge crowds.

    1956 - Founds the magazine Christianity Today. (Some dates say 1957.)

    1957 - Crusade at Madison Square Garden in New York City runs nightly for sixteen weeks and is covered by the national press.

    1981 - Wins the Religious Broadcasting Hall of Fame award.

    1983 - Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award.

    1986 - Wins the National Religious Broadcasters Award of Merit.

    1996 - Awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

    1999 - First non-musician to be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

    2000 - Wins the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award, for monumental and lasting contributions to the cause of freedom.

    2001 - Honorary Knighthood, Honorary Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire.

    November 2000 - Franklin Graham takes over for his father as Chief Executive Officer for the BGEA.

    March 2002 - Tapes of private conversations between President Nixon and Graham are released where he joins Nixon in making anti-Semitic remarks. Graham later apologizes.

    October 30, 2002 - Breaks ground to build new headquarters for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte, North Carolina; moving from Minneapolis.

    June 24-26, 2005 - Graham leads "his last crusade" at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York, speaking to more than 230,000 people.

    May 31, 2007 - The Billy Graham Library and Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, is dedicated. Former Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter attend.

    August 2007 - Graham is hospitalized for 11 days for evaluation and treatment of intestinal bleeding.

    February 2008 - Graham is hospitalized for six days to replace a valve in a shunt designed to regulate brain pressure.

    October 11, 2008 - Briefly hospitalized and released after a fall at his home.

    May 11-15, 2011 - Is hospitalized in Asheville, North Carolina, for pneumonia.

    November 30-December 6, 2011 - Is treated for pneumonia at Mission Hospital in Asheville.

    August 12, 2012 - Admitted to Mission Hospital in Asheville for treatment of a pulmonary infection believed to be bronchitis. He is released two days later.

    November 7, 2013 - Graham debuts a 30-minute DVD titled "The Cross," which is part of the "My Hope America with Billy Graham" series, at his 95th birthday celebration.