Televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker Dies at Age 65

Tammy Faye Bakker with Her First-Husband, Jim Bakker, 1987

Tammy Faye Bakker with Entertainer Ru Paul, 2000

Tammy Faye Dies at Age 65

Tammy Faye Messner, the diminutive and elaborately coiffed gospel singer who as Tammy Faye Bakker helped her first husband, the infamous televangelist Jim Bakker, build a multi-million-dollar commercial empire around television evangelism only to see it collapse in sex and money scandals, died Friday at the age of 65.

The story of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, which attracted enormous media coverage, became one of the most compelling chapters in the story of an often corrupt American subculture that combined the power of television with the influence of evangelical religion. However, Tammy Faye was never implicated in any of the crimes. Charles E. Shepard, a former investigative reporter who wrote a book on the Bakker ministry’s rise and collapse, said: “Every impression I got is that she was not involved in the business.” Nevertheless, Tammy Faye appeared to be quite involved in spending the money, and she apparently enjoyed her spending sprees very much.

Tammy Faye had battled colon cancer since 1996 that more recently spread to her lungs. She is said to have died peacefully at her home near Kansas City, Mo.

A detailed and updated obituary, with biographic details, was published in The Washington Post, which can be read here.

Another detailed obituary appeared in The New York Times, which can be read here.

And even a loving obituary from Perez Hilton, the self-appointed Queen of gossip media, which can be read here.

Salon has published a remembrance of Tammy Faye, which can be read here.

Photo Gallery: Tammy Faye Bakker, 1942-2007

(Click Image for Photo Gallery)

A Tammy Faye Baker Messner Tribute: 1942-2007

A Final Interview with Larry King: July 19, 2007

(Caution: Disturbing Imagery)

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