Hollywood may have a well-deserved reputation for being a spiritual wasteland, but faith is hardly absent from Tinseltown. The following 12 Hollywood powerhouses are at the top of their game in movies or TV and are unabashed about proclaiming their Christian beliefs.
Hollywood’s golden boy of the moment, writer and actor Tyler Perry, seems to have a new movie or TV show coming out daily. Though well known for years among urban African Americans, Perry burst onto the Hollywood scene in 2005 with “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” which took in more than $50 million after being made on a $5.5 million budget. Since then, he’s come out with the films “Madea’s Family Reunion” (2006) and “Daddy’s Little Girls” (2007). His second movie release of the year, “Why Did I Get Married?” arrives this month. He’s also conquered the small screen, producing the sitcom “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” for which TBS reportedly gave him a whopping 100-episode commitment. Citing filmmakers who keep their faith “in the closet,” Tyler told Beliefnet last year, “I’m not afraid to have a character say, ‘I am a Christian,’ or ‘I believe in God,’ because I think they represent real people on this earth.”
You know her as the harried wife and mother–and Ray Romano’s comic foil–in the popular sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” a role for which she was awarded two Emmys. Off-screen, she’s not shy about making her faith or her opinions heard. Born a Catholic, she embraced evangelical Protestantism as an adult, and now attends a Presbyterian church and advocates on behalf of an anti-abortion group called Feminists for Life. Since “Raymond” ended, she has emceed a Christian comedy tour featured in the DVD “Thou Shalt Laugh,” and toldBeliefnet last year that she had “an opportunity to get back to reading and studying and praying more, which I didn’t have much time for” while doing the show. That period of calm didn’t last long, however: She returned to TV this fall, starring opposite Kelsey Grammer in the new sitcom “Back to You.”
Not one to wear his faith on his sleeve, Denzel Washington surprised many by lending his voice to “The Bible Experience,” an audio Bible featuring some of the country’s top African-American stars. (Washington and his wife Pauletta narrate The Song of Songs.) The two-time Oscar winner is in the upper echelon of Hollywood actors, receiving a $20 million paycheck per movie. But his superstar status rises far above mere moviemaking. A 2006 Barna study found that Washington is better known and better loved than any living American religious figure. The son of a Pentecostal minister, he has reportedly donated $2.5 million to his church, the West Angeles Church of God in Christ. It was in the parking lot of that church that Washington landed the “Bible Experience” gig. Casting director Robi Reed told the L.A. Times that when she saw her fellow churchgoer and started describing the project, he interrupted her to say, “I have to do it.”
She’s played such iconic womenas Rosa Parks, Betty Shabazz (Malcolm X’s wife), and Tina Turner, and voiced Queen Esther in the audio “The Bible Experience.” Along the way, Angela Bassett has picked up a Golden Globe and been nominated for an Oscar, an Emmy, and many other major awards. Like Denzel Washington, Bassett is a longtime worshipper at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ. Though she rarely speaks to the media about herfaith, Bassett recently told the L.A. Times, “When you realize that every breath is a gift from God. When you realize how small you are, but how much he loved you. That he, Jesus, would die, the son of God himself on earth, then you…you just weep.” She added, “Loving God is like my being black. I just am. [No one says] ‘You know what? I’m gonna be blacker today!’ It’s my culture. It’s not something I put on or take off or show more. You just communicate that in the way you live your life.”
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article courtesy of Beliefnet.com