Magazine, 2017 July)
Franz waiting beneath the speakers' stage to give a speech
the West Lakes sports stadiums in Adelaide in 1984
Witnesses have often been regarded as uneducated buffoons of no
accomplishment; but this was a caricature.
is a partial list of JWs and associates who achieved public prominence.
Their backgrounds include: Meeting attendance as children; Having JW
family members; Excommunicated; Continued full involvement; and newly
of Prominent JWs
Akulova, Varya (1992- ) Ukrainian weight-lifter, the "strongest
girl in the world"
Alexander, Gregg (1970- ) Lead singer and song writer for the
Allen, Thomas (1931-1988) Percussionist in the rock/jazz group
Anderson, Barbara (1940- ) Member at Brooklyn JW Headquarters who
exposed the Organization's tolerance of pedophiles
Andre, Peter (1973- ) English-born Australian singer and TV
Bale, Christian (1974- ) Actor who played Moses in Exodus: Gods
and Kings (2014)
Banda, Thandiwe (1966- ) Former first lady of Zambia
Benson, George – Singer, guitarist
Bianci, Maurizio (1955- ) Jazz guitarist
Bone, Krayzie [Henderson, Anthony] (1973- ) Member of the rap
Brkic, Ivana (1986- ) Croatian singer
Campbell, Naomi (1970- ) Supermodel
Campbell, Valerie – Model and mother of Naomi Campbell
Carr, Firpo (c.1950- ) American radio show producer, author,
Covington, Hayden C. (1911-1978) Watchtower Society attorney
Dedmon, Dewayne (1989- ) Professional basketball player
Dever, Juliana (1980- ) Hollywood actress
Edur, Tom (1954- ) Professional ice hockey player
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (1890-1969) 34th US president
Engleitner, Leopold (1907-2013) German concentration camp survivor
Evans, Luke (1979- ) Hollywood actor from Wales
Flanagan, Vester Lee (1973-2015) Gunman who killed a reporter and
cameraman live on TV
Frances-White, Deborah (1978?- ) Australian-born, UK-based
Franz, Frederick (1893-1992) Main theologian of JWs and
Watchtower Society president
Garrido, Nancy (1955- ) Kidnapper sentenced to 36 years in prison
Gavilan, Kid (1926-2003) Former World Welterweight Champion
Glover, Donald (1983- ) Sitcom actor and comedian
Godenzi, Mina Hung (1965- ) Miss Hong Kong 1984; actress
Graham, Larry (1946- ) Bass guitarist with the band "Sly and the
Granger, Danny (1983- ) Professional basketball player
Graves, Teresa (1948-2002) Actress
Gygax, Gary (1938-2008) American game designer; co-creator of
"Dungeons and Dragons"
Halliwell, Geri (1972– ) Singer with the Spice Girls
Harper, Roy (1941- ) English folk rock singer whose stepmother
was a JW
Haynes, Rick – Canadian bassist
Hill, Dave (1946- ) British musician; guitarist
Holland, Kim – Dutch porn star, formerly a JW
Houston, Marques B. (1981- ) American singer, songwriter, actor
How, W. Glen (1919-2008) Canadian lawyer
Howard, Terrence – Actor
Jackson, Janet (1966- ) Singer
Jackson, Katherine (1930- ) Matriarch of "The Jacksons" musical
Jackson, La Toya (1957- ) Singer
Jackson, Michael (1958-2009) Singer, pop superstar
Jackson, Rebbie (1950- ) Singer
Jamar, Lord [Dechalus, Lorenzo] (1968- ) Actor, rapper, member of
the band "Brand Nubian"
Jaywon – Nigerian musician, singer
Joiner, Alvin N. [XZibit] (1974- ) American rapper, actor and TV
Jux, Egon (1927-2008) Architect of Hamburg's Köhlbrand
Bridge over the
Keane, Margaret D.H. (1927- ) Artist famous for paintings of
women and children with big eyes
Knowles, Peter (1946- ) British 1960s soccer star
K-os [Brereton, Kevin] (1972- ) Canadian singer, rapper,
Kudo, Tori (1958- ) Founder of Japanese music group "Maher Shalal
Langbroek, Kate (1965- ) Australian writer and television
Lemon, Chet (1955- ) Professional baseball player (Detroit Tigers)
Locking, Brian (1938- ) British guitarist in the rock band "The
Lönnig, Wolf Ekkehard (1943- ) Scientist with the Max Planck
Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany and militant
Lovegrove, Jennifer (1970?- ) Canadian novelist and poet
Lozz, Allisson (1992- ) Mexican actress, model, singer
McCumber, Mark – Professional golf player
Mandela, Evelyn – The first wife of South African president
Martija, Rene Montes de Oca (1963- ) Cuban human rights activist
Marvin, Hank (1941- ) British guitarist with "The Shadows",
living in Perth since 1986
Merritt, Jerry Lee (1933-2001) American musician; Rockabily Hall
of Fame member
Metzger, Kurt (1977- ) American comedian
Meyers, Dave (1953-2015) Professional basketball player
Moir, Mike (1946- ) Photographer for Surfer magazine
Monk, Thelonius (1917-1982) Jazz pianist and composer
Moore, Angelo (1965- ) Saxophonist and lead singer for the rock
Morrison, Van (1945- ) Irish singer
Müller, Bohumil (1915-1987) Czech survivor of Mauthausen
concentration camp; dissenter during Communist rule
Mustaine, Dave (1961- ) Guitarist, singer
Mwanawasa, Maureen – A baptized JW and wife of the president of
Nakatani, Miki (1976- ) Japanese actress and singer
Naylor, Gloria (1950-2016) Novelist; author of The Women of
Brewster Place (1982)
Newsome, Debbie (1962- ) Hostess in the Australian 1980s TV
dating show Perfect Match.
Nicholson, Viv – London lottery winner in 1961 who later joined
JWs; the musical Spend, Spend, Spend
is based on her story
Ntoko, Evelyn (1922-2004) First wife of Nelson Mandela
Oni, Toun (1938-2010) Nigerian actress
O'Meara, Mark (1957- ) Professional golfer
Padilla, Rustom – Filipino movie star
Palego, Angelo (1935- ) Italian Expedition leader searching for
Pear, Dave (1953- ) Professional football player
Peoples, Shonte (1972- ) American football player
Penton, M.J. (1932- ) Canadian history professor who led a JW
splinter group in the 1980s
Piliso, Lieby (?-1997) Nelson Mandela's youngest sister
Pizzanelli, Herman – 1960s concert guitarist in Uruguay; convert
Prince [Nelson, Prince Rogers] (1959-2016)
Singer/song-writer famous for X-rated lyrics
Quarry, Nathan Parker (1972- ) Martial arts fighter who starred
in The Ultimate Fighter
Quintanilla, Selena (1971-1995) Singer, actress
Rance, Alex (1989- ) Professional Australian footballer
Roberts, Evelyn B (1909-1995) Poet
Rocha, Coco (1988- ) Canadian fashion supermodel
Rodriguez, Michelle (1978- ) American actress
Romero, Sol (1984- ) Singer and actress
Rule, Ja [Atkins, Jeffrey] (1976- ) Singer, actor
Sakamoto, Miu (1980- ) Japanese singer
Salley, John (1964- ) Professional basketball player
Scott, Jill (1972- ) Singer and poet
Scott, Travis (1979- ) Professional football player for the "Rams"
Shepherd, Sheri (1967- ) American television presenter
Smith, Patti (1946- ) Punk rock star and songwriter whose mother
was a JW
Spillane, Mickey (1918-2006) Crime novelist; converted to JWs in
Sutcliffe, Peter (1945- ) Yorkshire Ripper who murdered thirteen
women; converted in prison
Suzuki, Damo (1950- ) Japanese musician living in Germany
Swain, Carol M. (1954- ) Political scientist and professor at
Vanderbilt University who left JWs at age 20
Takao, Shushila – New Zealand actress
Tambling, Bobby (1941- ) English professional footballer
Terry, Phil (1943- ) Member of the soul music group "The
Testolini, Manuela (1973- ) Wife of Prince 2001-2006
The Notorious B.I.G. (1972-1997) Rapper, Composer, Singer
Thomas, David (1953- ) Songwriter and vocalist; sings "Jehovah's
Kingdom come" for the album New
Toriyama, Akira (1955- ) Japanese game artist
Usui, Yoshito (1958-2009) Japanese cartoonist/artist
Valente, Bria (1977- ) American singer & model; girlfriend of
Villarroel, Carmina (1975- ) Philippines actress and former model
Virk, Reena (1983-1997) Canadian murder victim
Volpe, Leo J. (1916-2000) Draft resister during WWII who founded
"Restored Israel of Yahweh" in 1973
Voorhies, Lark (1974- ) Black American television movie actress
Wayans Brothers – Actors in the sitcom The Wayans Bros which aired
Whitaker, Lou – Professional baseball player (Detroit Tigers)
Williams, Venus (1980- ) & Serena (1981- ) Tennis
champions; Olympic gold medal winners
Willson, Dan [Withered Hand] (1974- ) Scottish rock musician
Winfield, Chuck (1943- ) Former trumpeter for the jazz-rock music
group "Blood, Sweat and Tears"
Wise, Willie – professional basketball player in Seattle
Worilds, J. (1988- ) Professional football player
Yano, Akiko (1955- ) Japanese pop and jazz musician and singer
Yoshikawa, Hinano (1979- ) Japanese fashion model and actress
on three of the above celebrities follows:
BANDA, THANDIWE (1966- )
Thandiwe was a "political science teacher" who married President Banda
(1937-2011) of Zambia in 2008. A website lists her as a JW but without
confirmation. The president's religion was Anglican but Thandiwe's
religion and her brother's (Moses Chilongo) who died in 2015 seem
unmentioned in the media.
has the highest proportion of JWs of any mainland country. In 2016 one
87 of the entire population preached for JWs and 1 in 20 attended their
Anderson worked in the JW Brooklyn headquarters, initially in the
Engineering Department, and in 1988-1992 the Writing Department doing
research for the Organization's official history book.
also checked correspondence and took phone calls — which often enquired
on how to handle child-abuse accusations in JW congregations.
regard outsiders including psychologists and police as being in
"Satan's organization" and to be avoided if possible. Alleged
wrongdoing therefore has to be reported to congregation elders who
either decide what to do or telephone JW Headquarters.
child abuse among JWs had two eye-witnesses or occurred in a state
whose jurisdiction required mandatory reporting by clerics, not much
was done in the 1980s-1990s if someone was accused.
were not even warned. Anderson and her husband went public about sexual
abuse cover-up and were excommunicated which provoked a lawsuit:
A court has dismissed
the claims of a couple who accused the Jehovah's Witnesses of
improperly ousting them from their congregation after the wife told
NBC's "Dateline" the denomination covers up child sexual abuse.
denomination's national organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract
Society of New York Inc., asked the court to dismiss a $20 million
lawsuit brought by Barbara and Joseph Anderson, who claimed defamation,
fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress in their ouster
from their congregation...
dismissing the case, Judge Patricia Cottrell, with the Tennessee court
of appeals, in Nashville, wrote the court did not have jurisdiction to
hear it "based upon the First Amendment's protection of decisions of
church tribunals on religious questions." …
The most famous JW convert is Prince Rogers Nelson (1958-2016), born in
Minneapolis (USA) of African American parents. He was a singer,
songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, musical innovator, record producer,
and film director.
was known for his flamboyant stage presence, extravagant dress and
makeup, sexual lyrics, wide vocal range, and blending of funk, dance,
rock, pop and soul music. He won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe
Award, and an Academy Award for his film Purple Rain.
secured a recording contract with Warner Bros. at age 18 and with
Arista Records in 1998 and by 2015 had released 30 albums.
the years Prince was romantically linked to dozens of celebrities but
married his young backup singer/dancer Mayte Garcia (b.1973) in 1996.
They divorced in 1999.
Prince was baptized by JWs in 2003 many were baffled because his songs
and behaviour often contradicted JW beliefs. He attended meetings and
door-knocked accompanied by bodyguards.
conversion is not inexplicable. He was raised as a Seventh Day
Adventist, a religion of similar origin to JWs. His mother, jazz singer
Mattie Shaw, was a JW and wanted him to be one. Significant was the
influence of guitarist Larry Graham who joined JWs in 1975. Graham
performed on stage with Prince in 1998 after which they had regular
religious discussions for two years.
2001, Prince married Canadian charity worker Manuela Testolini (b.1976)
who joined JWs with him. She filed for divorce in 2006 and seems to
have abandoned JWs.
2007 singer Brenda Fuentes (b.1977), stage name Bria Valente, became
Prince's girlfriend and converted to JWs. Valente contributed to the
vocals in Prince's album Planet Earth
(2007) and Prince produced her debut album, Elixer in 2009. Valente later broke
has ranked famous JWs from the most famous downwards. After Prince
Michael Jackson (1958-2009)
Jackson family matriarch, Katherine, is a JW and raised all her
children accordingly but most are no longer practicing.
3rd Serena Williams
of four Olympic gold medals in tennis; raised by a JW mother; and
"often thanks Jehovah after winning matches." (Wikipedia)
4th Dwight D.
leader and U.S. president; Eisenhower was raised in the "Russellism"
cult (which became JWs in 1931) but left as an adult.
5th Geri Halliwell
singer, model, and former "Spice Girl". Halliwell's mother became a JW
in the 1970s and took her to meetings and door-to-door, but later
"abandoned the faith in disillusionment." Halliwell became an agnostic
but eventually "converted to Christianity." (Wikipedia)
6th Terrence Howard
(c. 1970- )
actor, singer and film-producer whose wife is raising their children in
the JW religion; Howard reportedly wants to be a JW but cannot qualify.
Rodriguez (1978- )
and actress born in Texas; raised by a JW mother and grandmother but
has abandoned the faith.
8th The Notorious
and singer born in New York City and raised as a JW.
9th Naomi Campbell
designer, supermodel and former Miss Universe born in London and raised
as a JW but no longer practicing.
10th Janet Jackson
record producer, songwriter, sister of Michael Jackson, raised in the
JW sect but no longer practicing.
11th Damon Wayans
Wayans is a television director, comedian, actor, film producer and
screenwriter. He and his brother, Keenen, were raised in New York by JW
12th Patti Smith
musician and poet raised as a JW in Chicago but left the sect.
13th Venus Williams
player and entrepreneur born in California; "one of the all-time greats
of women's tennis"; the Williams sisters were Women's doubles champions
in the 2012 London Olympics.
14th Dave Mustaine
producer, guitarist and songwriter born in California; raised as a JW
but became a born-again Christian in 2002.
15th Sherri Shepherd
and television personality born in Chicago; was raised as a JW but no
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