Tamara Faye LaValley Bakker Messner, to give her her full name, was an American singer and noted Christian personality. She was a writer, she hosted television talk shows and also worked as an evangelist. Known for her flamboyant make-up, her eyebrows were tattooed in order to maintain a perfect appearance. She died from cancer in 2007. Below is her biography.
Tammy Faye Messner was born in International Falls, Minnesota, in March 1942. The eldest of eight children, her birth name was Tamara Faye LaValley. Both her parents were Pentecostal preachers. Tammy later asserted that she felt the call of the Lord when she was ten years old, following a visit with a friend, to the Assemblies of God Church. She reportedly lived an abstemious and puritanical life as a teenager, not attending dances, sports events or movies as her church did not allow it. She did, however, attend Bible camps, where she impressed her fellow residents so much that she was reportedly voted 'Queen'.
Career and marriage
In 1960, Tammy was studying at North Central Bible College in Minnesota when she met her future husband, Jim Bakker. The two began their ministry together in South Carolina in 1962, and were fortunate enough to have two children, a daughter and a son. After working on children's Christian television throughout the rest of the 1960s, Tammy Faye Bakker, as she then was, founded the PTL Club during the mid-1970s. An abbreviated form of 'Praise the Lord', the PTL Club was a daily television programme focused on religious issues. Bakker's celebrity profile as a television evangelist was slightly different from any of her peers, in that she often displayed a tolerant attitude towards homosexuality. She often urged her viewers to pray for AIDS and HIV sufferers. Jim Bakker (pronounced 'Jim Baker') was later incarcerated following a series of legal problems. He and Tammy were divorced in 1992 and she married Roe Messner, who had recently divorced his own wife, in 1993.
Later career and cancer
Tammy's second husband also ended up in jail as he was apparently implicated in the jailing of Jim Bakker and involved with many of the criminal issues surrounding the financial collapse of PTL.
In 1996, Tammy Faye was diagnosed with colon cancer while her husband was jailed. However, she made a return to the public eye with a series of books, movies and television appearances. She wrote her autobiography, entitled 'Telling It My Way'. She was also the subject of a television documentary entitled 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' in 1999, as well as a sequel called 'Tammy Faye: Death Defying' in 2004. Tammy Faye Messner died on 20 July 2007, after an 11-year battle with colon cancer.