Have you ever wondered if any of your favorite Hollywood stars are religious? The entertainment industry is a ruthless one. It requires a lot of mental strength to go through the challenges that industry brings.
Faith and a belief in the Divine are something that many of your favorite Hollywood stars have relied on to get through their careers.
Many of these Hollywood stars have also been open about their faith and how it guided them throughout their lives. While open religiosity seems to be declining in Hollywood and in much of the Western World, maybe there’s something we can learn from huge stars who have used faith to get through the struggles of life…
Let’s look at the Hollywood stars who are surprisingly religious…
Elizabeth Taylor was born in London to two American parents. Her mother was a former stage actress who raised young Liz as a Christian Scientist.
As a pre-teen, Liz moved back to the United States – settling in Los Angeles. She soon began giving screen tests to act in popular Hollywood films. By the time she was an adult, she had become of Hollywood’s most popular actresses. She was also a starlet, and her personal life was always under the obnoxious eye of the paparazzi.
This constant attention, no doubt, took its toll on Elizabeth Taylor. Most of us wouldn’t be able to handle the constant speculation and invasion of our privacy.
Her third marriage was to a Jewish film producer named Mike Todd. He sadly died a year after their marriage when his private plane crashed. It was shortly after this incident that she converted to Judaism. She underwent her conversion on March 27, 1959, when she was 27.
One doesn’t know how pious she was, but we know that she dedicated much of her life to Jewish and Israeli causes. She offers to take the place of the Israeli hostages who kidnaps the hijacked Air France flight that stations in Entebbe, Uganda in 1976. No doubt, her dedication to her new religion brought her much comfort throughout her life.
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Bob Dylan was born Jewish – his birth name is Robert Allen Zimmerman. However, during the 1970s he converted to Christianity and became an Evangelical Christian.
During this time, he also released three gospel albums. His Christian faith brought him comfort and was particularly great for increasing his productivity. In fact, he moves by Christ’s message that he tries to evangelize to his colleagues. He even tried to evangelize his producer Jerry Wexler – to no avail!
Bob Dylan continues to occasionally perform gospel songs at his live performances. He even performs covers of traditional religious songs. He has stated that his relationship with God is what keeps him going and what keeps him dedicated to his music.
Richard Gere discovered Buddhism in his early twenties. He studied Zen Buddhism and began traveling to meet Buddhist lamas and monks. He eventually met the 14th Dalai Lama with whom he has stayed in touch ever since.
He’s also been an advocate for Tibetan independence and has often been critical of the Chinese government. His Buddhism has helped him manage the challenges of being a major Hollywood star. It has also given him a cause to fight for outside of his acting career.
Richard Gere’s Buddhism is a great example of how faith and believing in a higher cause can give you meaning in life. It shows how you can use faith to guide you through a challenging career that comes with constant scrutiny.
Norma Jean Baker, or Marilyn Monroe as she is famous – is arguably one of the most popular sex symbols in Hollywood history.
She’s familiar with her beauty, her roles in films such as The Seven Year Itch, as well as for her tragic death. But few people know about her commitment to the Jewish faith.
Marilyn Monroe converted to Judaism before marrying the Jewish playwright Arthur Miller. She felt very happy with her new faith and was active in the Jewish community. She had installed a mezuzah with a parchment scroll of ancient Jewish writings near her front door.
Marilyn also kept a bronze menorah on her mantle. She read many scholarly works about Judaism and had many Jewish friends who helped her throughout her career. Through her Jewish faith, she found a loyal community that stuck with her through thick and thin.
She commits to Judaism, and it is during her heyday that anti-Semitism is declining in the US, and Jews are winning acceptance throughout American society.
Johnny Cash had a reputation for being a devout Christian, which wasn’t uncommon for country musicians and singers.
His elder brother dies when Johnny, or J.R. as he is famous during his childhood, is only 12. It was during this time that he began regularly reading the Bible. He constantly thought about his brother throughout his life and used his faith in Christ as a guide to handle the challenges of an entertainment career.
While Johnny Cash had a reputation as an outlaw, he became an ordained minister later in life. He received a degree in theology and encourages by the Reverend Billy Graham to study the Bible.
While we may remember him as an incredible singer as well as an occasional actor, his time in the ministry was one of the most rewarding periods in his life.
Michael Douglas is Jewish through his father Kirk, who was a Jew. A few years ago, he receives the Genesis Prize, which accomplishes professionals who show dedication to Judaism and to Israel.
While he didn’t think too much of his Jewish heritage throughout much of his life, he begins reconnecting with his faith after his father injures in a helicopter crash in 1991. His son Dylan also has many Jewish friends, and this brought Michael closer to his faith.
In his spare time, Michael Douglas dedicates to causes to promote Judaism and Israel. He dedicates to fighting against anti-Semitism. He’s been lauded as being one of the finest actors of his generation. But his recent Genesis Prize also brought him praise. Receiving this award was also one of the happiest moments of his life.
Apart from her acting, Jane Fonda has also gained prominence for her activism. But she’s also a dedicated Christian in an industry that is now notoriously secular.
She had converted to Christianity during a difficult period in her life. She was married to media tycoon Ted Turner who was a staunch atheist. In fact, her conversion to Christianity seems to be part of the reason why they divorced.
Her ex-husband’s vitriolic statements about Christianity and Christians didn’t turn her away from the faith. She’s found comfort in Christ, and her faith no doubt helps her go through the challenges of an entertainment career.
She’s been in the spotlight for much of her life and has often been criticized for her public activism. Her faith keeps her grounded which is absolutely needed when you live a life in the public eye.
Like many Irishmen of his generation, Pierce Brosnan was educated under the Christian Brothers – whom he’s often criticized. However, he credits his Catholic faith with helping him get through the challenges of his career and life.
In 1991, he lost his wife, Cassandra, to cancer. His Catholic faith helped him cope with this loss. He has stated that prayer helps him with the challenges of his career and helps him be a better father to his children.
Pierce Brosnan feels that despite his reservations about the Christian Brothers, he got an unshakeable faith. He still attends Mass when he can and even reads Buddhist teachings. He’s a great example of someone who never lost his faith. He’s an example of how faith can help one get through life’s biggest challenges.
Ramon Estevez, or Martin Sheen as he’s better known, is a practicing Catholic. He feels that his faith was restored in the early 1980s when he was having conversations with director Terrence Malick – who had directed Sheen in the film Badlands.
Since then, his Catholic faith has helped him get through the trials and tribulations of his career and life. It also influenced his activism. In fact, even his stage name Martin Sheen comes partially from a Catholic evangelist whose surname was Sheen.
Due to his Catholic faith, Martin Sheen has been outspoken about his pro-life views – something that’s rather rare in Hollywood. Martin’s stated that he’s against abortion and has stated that women should reconsider getting an abortion. Speaking about how his wife was conceived through rape and that some of his grandchildren were born out of wedlock.
Martin says that he would never judge someone’s decision, however. He’s also stated that he’s felt the joy of God’s presence through his grandchildren. His Catholic faith clearly guides him through his life and gives him a solid foundation for his career. He remains one of Hollywood’s greatest actors and one from whom we can all learn.
Are you a fan of any of these Hollywood stars?
Do you think that Hollywood has become hostile toward anyone openly religious? Or do you think there’s a resurgence of religiosity among Hollywood stars?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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