Tammy Faye Bakker
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Tamara Faye Messner (née LaValley, formerly Bakker; March 7, 1942 – July 20, 2007) was an American Christian singer, evangelist, author, talk show hostess, and television personality. She initially gained notice for her work with The PTL Club, a televangelist program she co-founded with her then-husband Jim Bakker in 1974. Prior to founding The PTL Club, they had hosted their own puppet show series for local programming in Minnesota in the early 1970s, and Messner also had a career as a recording artist. In 1978, she and Bakker built Heritage USA, a Christian theme park.
Messner would garner significant publicity when Jim Bakker was indicted, convicted, and imprisoned on numerous counts of fraud and conspiracy in 1989, resulting in the dissolution of The PTL Club. After divorcing Bakker in 1992, she remarried to Roe Messner. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1996, of which she suffered intermittently for over a decade before dying of the disease in 2007.
Over the course of her career, Messner was noted for her eccentric and glamorous persona, as well as for her moral views that diverged from those of many mainstream Evangelists, particularly her acceptance of the LGBT community and reaching out to HIV/AIDS patients at the height of the AIDS epidemic.
Last Updated: November 27, 2019