Biography: Billy Graham

William F. "Billy" Graham Jr.

(Media Note: Click here for a timeline of Billy Graham's life and ministry)


Nov. 7, 1918
Charlotte, North Carolina


Feb. 21, 2018
Montreat, North Carolina

William Franklin Graham Sr. (died 1962) and Morrow Coffey Graham (died 1981)


Ruth McCue Bell in 1943 (died June 14, 2007, age 87)


1943  B.A., Wheaton College—Wheaton, Illinois
1940          Graduated, Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida)



1950  Founder and chairman, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
  Began Hour of Decision weekly radio program, broadcast around the world for more than 60 years. 
1947 – 1952  President, Northwestern Schools in Minneapolis
1945 – 1950   Charter Vice President, Youth for Christ International, Chicago
1943 – 1945     Pastor, The Village Church of Western Springs (now Western Springs Baptist Church), Western Springs, Illinois    
1941-1943 Pastor, United Gospel Tabernacle, Wheaton, Illinois
1939 Ordained at Peniel Baptist Church, Palatka, Florida



  • Preaching—Billy Graham preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to some 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 Crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies in more than 185 countries and territories. A 2005 Gallup poll revealed that 35 million people in America—one in six U.S. adults—had heard Billy Graham preach in person.
  • Television Ministry—Regular prime-time broadcasts, which began in 1957, have reached millions of households in the U.S. and around the world. In 2013, Graham delivered his final message—the culmination of his My Hope America project—via more than 480 stations.  
  • Presidential—Billy Graham provided spiritual counsel to 12 sitting U.S. presidents—from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. Graham participated in events surrounding nine presidential inaugurations—participating in four swearing-in ceremonies.



  • 34 books (1947-2017)—See list below
  • "My Answer" (since 1952)—syndicated column carried by newspapers throughout the U.S. with a combined circulation of some 5 million.     


Select Awards and Honors:    

The following is a partial list of the numerous awards and honors received by Graham:

  • Gallup's "Ten Most Admired Men in the World"—selected 61 times since 1955 (55 consecutive years, except when the question was not asked in 1976), more than any other individual in the world
  • Good Housekeeping Most Admired Men Poll, appeared in the top ten 16 times, as No. 1 five years in a row
  • Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE), 2001, for his international contribution to civic and religious life for more than 60 years
  • Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award, 2000, for monumental contributions to the cause of freedom
  • Inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame by the Gospel Music Association, 1999, the first non-musician to be inducted
  • Congressional Gold Medal, 1996, the highest honor Congress can bestow on a private citizen
  • The 1,900th star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, 1989, the first clergyman to be honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for radio, television and preaching ministry
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1983, the highest honor the president can bestow on a private citizen
  • George Washington Medal Award for Patriotism, 1974, from Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge
  • Sylvanus Thayer Award from the U.S. Military Academy Association of Graduates at West Point, 1972, the most prestigious award the U.S. Military Academy gives to a U.S. citizen who exemplifies the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, "Duty, Honor, Country"
  • International Brotherhood Award, 1971, from the National Conference of Christians and Jews
  • The Torch of Liberty Plaque by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, 1969
  • Horatio Alger Award, 1965, for the accomplishments of individuals who have succeeded in the face of adversity



Virginia "Gigi" Graham, 1945
Anne Graham Lotz, 1948
Ruth Graham, 1950
William "Franklin" Graham III, 1952
Nelson Edman "Ned" Graham, 1958
19 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren   

Books by Rev. Billy Graham:

2017 Hope for Each Day: 365 Devotions for Kids (Tommy Nelson)
2015 God's Good News Bible Storybook (Tommy Nelson)
2015 Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity and Our Life Beyond (Thomas Nelson)
2013 The Reason for My Hope: Salvation (Thomas Nelson)
2012 The Heaven Answer Book (Thomas Nelson)
2011 Nearing Home: Life, Faith and Finishing Well (Thomas Nelson)
2010 Storm Warning (Thomas Nelson, reprint edition)
2008 Wisdom for Each Day (Thomas Nelson)
2007 Just As I Am (Harper Collins, reprint edition)
2006 The Journey: How to Live by Faith in an Uncertain World (W Publishing Group)
2005 Living in God's Love: The New York Crusade (Putnam Publishing)—Reprinted as paperback in 2006 under the title, The Last Crusade (Berkley Trade)
2003 The Key to Personal Peace (Thomas Nelson)
2002 Hope for Each Day (J. Countryman)
1997 Just As I Am (Harper Collins)—Updated and expanded in 2007, Harper Collins
1992 Storm Warning (W Publishing)—Revised and expanded in 2010, Thomas Nelson
1991 Hope for the Troubled Heart (Word Publishing)
1988 Answers to Life's Problems (Word Publishing)
1987 Facing Death and the Life After (Word Publishing)—Christian Booksellers Association best-seller list
1986 Unto the Hills (Word Publishing)
1984 Peace with God (Word Publshing, reprint edition)
1984 A Biblical Standard for Evangelists (World Wide Publications)
1983 Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Word Publishing)—The New York Times best-seller list; Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Gold Book Award
1981 Till Armageddon (Word Publishing)–ECPA Platinum Book Award
1978 The Holy Spirit (Word Publishing)—ECPA Gold Book Award
1977 How to Be Born Again (W Publishing Group)
1975 Angels: God’s Secret Agents (Guideposts Associates)—Publishers Weekly and The New York Times best-seller lists; ECPA Platinum Book Award
1971 The Jesus Generation (World Wide Publications)
1969 The Challenge (Doubleday & Co.)
1965 World Aflame (Doubleday & Co.)—The New York Times and Time magazine best-seller lists
1960 Billy Graham Answers Your Questions (World Wide Publications)
1960 My Answer (Doubleday & Co.)
1958 Billy Graham Talks to Teenagers (Zondervan)
1955 The Secret of Happiness (Doubleday & Co.)
1955 Freedom from the Seven Deadly Sins (Zondervan)
1953 Peace with God (Doubleday & Co.)—More than 2 million copies sold in 38 languages; revised and expanded in 1984, Word Publishing
1953 I Saw Your Sons at War (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)
1947 Calling Youth to Christ (Zondervan)