11 Things You Might Not Have Known About Billy Graham

Including the fact that he once skinny-dipped with LBJ
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2018 12:14 PM CST
11 Things You Might Not Have Known About Billy Graham
In this Oct 26, 1994 file photo, Evangelist Billy Graham begins his sermon in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

You might not have pictured Billy Graham as a skinny dipper, but he reportedly did go swimming in the nude at least once—with President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House pool, no less. The story goes that shortly after LBJ was sworn into office he invited the famous evangelist over, and neither of them had a bathing suit. Ten more facts about the late preacher, who died Wedneday at age 99, you may not have known, courtesy of USA Today, Fox News, and CNN:

  1. His original dream was to play baseball professionally, but he ultimately realized he didn't have the talent.
  2. Speaking of presidents, Graham was influential in helping George W. Bush to stop drinking, Bush once said. His life started turning around after talking with Graham about religion at the Bush family's Maine compound; he had been drunk the day before when he first met Graham.
  3. After integrating his revival meetings during the civil rights era, Graham became a target of the KKK.
  4. Graham, who was friendly with Queen Elizabeth II, was knighted in 2011.

  1. The minister was caught on tape making anti-Semitic remarks along with President Nixon in 1973; he apologized after the recording was made public in 2002.
  2. Graham, who met with every US president since 1950, was registered as a Democrat despite his conservative views. He once explained, though, that he simply voted for "whoever the best candidate is."
  3. The evangelist was away on a preaching trip when his first child was born in 1945. He wrote in his autobiography that he missed a lot at home due to his ministry.
  4. Graham's iconic radio show began after he successfully raised $25,000 in one night to get it started.
  5. He once preached every night for 16 consecutive weeks.
  6. Graham never met, traveled, or ate alone with any females other than his wife.
His association also once had Mormonism listed as a cult. (Read more Billy Graham stories.)

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