Day 46 - Billy Graham
William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. is an American Christian evangelist, ordained as a Southern Baptist minister, who rose to celebrity status in 1949 with the national media backing of William Randolph Hearst and Henry Luce. His sermons were broadcast on radio and television, some still being re-broadcast today.
Graham was a spiritual adviser to several United States Presidents; he was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. During the civil rights movement, he began to support integrated seating for his revivals and crusades; in 1957 he invited the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City, where they appeared together at Madison Square Garden, and bailed the minister out of jail in the 1960's when he was arrested in demonstrations.
Graham operates a variety of media and publishing outlets. According to his staff, more than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. As of 2008, Graham's estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion.
Graham has repeatedly been on Gallup's list of most admired men and women. He has appeared on the list 55 times since 1955 (including 49 consecutive years), more than any other individual in the world.