Marjoe Gortner, after gaining fame as a child evangelist, eventually left the ministry and pursued a career in acting and entertainment. He exposed the practices of evangelism in the documentary “Marjoe.”
Hugh Marjoe Ross Gortner, known as Marjoe Gortner, was a unique figure in American religious history. As a child, he was trained by his parents to be a preacher, and he became famous as a child evangelist, complete with fiery sermons and faith healings. However, as he grew older, he became disillusioned with the religious life and the exploitation he experienced.
In the early 1970s, Gortner agreed to be the subject of a documentary film. The resulting film, “Marjoe” (1972), was a critical success and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. In the film, Gortner candidly discussed his lack of belief and detailed the tricks of the trade used by himself and other evangelists to manipulate people and extract money from them.
After the release of the documentary, Gortner effectively ended his career as an evangelist and shifted his focus to acting and music. He appeared in a number of films and television shows throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including “Earthquake” (1974), “Food of the Gods” (1976), and “Falcon Crest.” He also released a self-titled rock album in 1972.
Despite his efforts in entertainment, Gortner never achieved the same level of fame as he did as a child preacher. His life after his evangelism career was marked by a lower profile in the public eye. He continued to make occasional appearances in film and television but largely stayed out of the spotlight. His story remains a fascinating chapter in the history of American religion and popular culture.