This edition of A&E's Biography chronicles the life of America's most famous evangelist, Billy Graham. In 1934 the 16-year-old Billy Graham decided to dedicate his life to the church. Graham spent a semester at Bob Jones College, a rigid fundamentalist institution, before transferring to Florida Bible Institute in Tampa. In 1940, he received a degree in theology and was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister. At the end of 1949, Graham received national recognition when media tycoon William Randolph Hearst printed a number of articles in praise of him.
In 1950, Graham and his associates established the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and simultaneously released The Hour of Decision radio show. Throughout the 1950s, Graham continued to lead crusades with audiences estimated in the hundreds of thousands. In 1957, he appeared at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where 2 million people attended the 16-week televised crusade. Graham also published several literary works such as World Aflame (1965), The Challenge (1969), The Jesus Generation (1971), and How To Be Born Again (1977) Throughout his career, Graham's popularity gained him access to many political figures and he served not only as religious consultant to every president since Eisenhower, but also in such times of crisis as Watergate and the Gulf War.
~ John Patrick Sheehan, Rovi