- NAME: Tammy Faye Messner
- OCCUPATION: Evangelist, Reality Television Star
- BIRTH DATE: March 07, 1942
- DEATH DATE: July 20, 2007
- EDUCATION: North Central Bible College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: International Falls, Minnesota
- PLACE OF DEATH: Loch Lloyd, Missouri
- Full Name: Tamara Faye LaValley Bakker Messner
- AKA: Tamara Faye Messner
- AKA: Tamara Faye Bakker
- AKA: Tammy Messner
- AKA: Tammy Bakker
- Maiden Name: Tamara Faye LaValley
- AKA: Tammy Faye Bakker
- AKA: Tammy Faye Messner
Best Known For
Tammy Faye Messner was the wife of disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker, with whom she hosted The 700 Club and the Praise the Lord Club. The couple split in 1992, after Jim Bakker's affair with a church secretary surfaced.
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American televangelist Tammy Messner was born on March 7, 1942, in International Falls, Minnesota. She married fellow devout Christian Jim Bakker, and together they hosted television ministry shows in the 1960s and '70s, including The 700 Club and the Praise the Lord Club. In 1980, scandal ensued when Jim Bakker was caught having an affair with his church secretary, Jessica Hahn. Numerous other affairs surfaced, and the Bakkers fell from grace. In 1989,
Jim Bakker was convicted of fraud and conspiracy. Around the same time, Tammy filed for divorce, which was finalized in 1992. Afterward, she remarried, worked on a short-lived TV show and published an autobiography. Tammy succumbed to lung cancer on July 20, 2007, at her home in Missouri.
Tammy Messner was born Tamara Faye LaValley on March 7, 1942, in International Falls, Minnesota. The oldest of eight children, Tammy Faye was raised in a devoutly Christian environment by her mother, Rachel. With a desire to become a missionary, Tammy Faye enrolled at North Central Bible College, in Minneapolis, where her engaging personality earned her many friends and one ardent admirer-fellow classmate Jim Bakker. The couple married in 1961, at which time they were forced to drop out of college because of the school’s strict policy regarding married students. They had two children.
With the goal of establishing a traveling ministry, Tammy Faye and Jim spent the next few years preaching in various cities throughout America. In the mid-1960s, they were introduced to Pat Robertson, who was in the midst of launching the Christian Broadcasting Network. At Robertson's request, the Bakkers moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, and agreed to host the Christian talk show The 700 Club. Premiering in 1966, the show met with overwhelming popularity, becoming the prototype of modern television ministry.
In 1973, the Bakkers left CBN in order to establish the short-lived Trinity Broadcasting Systems. The following year, Jim and Tammy Faye became the hosts of an existing North Carolina-based talk show, which they renamed the Praise the Lord Club. Fueled by the success of the PTL Club, the Bakkers quickly established an entire Christian television network, which they called the PTL or Inspirational Network. With contributions from their loyal audience, the Bakkers were able to finance a 2,300-acre Christian theme park, Heritage U.S.A. At the height of their popularity, the Bakkers were celebrities in the gospel circuit, with an opulent lifestyle to match. The PTL Club reached an audience of 13 million viewers, while Heritage U.S.A. attracted six million visitors annually.
The Bakkers' empire began to unravel in 1980, when the national spotlight fell on Jim's adulterous affair with a church secretary, Jessica Hahn. Over the next few years, sufficient evidence of Jim's numerous sexual escapades surfaced, causing the Assemblies of God to strip him of his ministerial credentials.
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