Rex Humbard, TV Evangelist, Dies at 88

The New York Times/September 23, 2007

Rex Humbard, a guitar-strumming revival preacher who became a pioneer of television evangelism in the 1950s and remained a familiar Sunday morning presence in millions of American homes for almost half a century, died Friday. He was 88.

Mr. Humbard died of natural causes at a hospital near his home in Lantana, Fla., a family spokeswoman, Kathy Scott, told The Associated Press.

Mr. Humbard's sermons were televised on Sundays from 1953 to 1999, reaching up to 20 million viewers, his ministry estimated. For most of that time, Mr. Humbard broadcast from his 5,400-seat, marble-and-glass Cathedral of Tomorrow in suburban Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. A forerunner of the cavernous megachurches of today, the cathedral, with its circular space-age design, was built in 1958 especially to handle televised services. Mr. Humbard named his program after it.

At its peak, in 1977-8, the program leased time on 378 television stations in the United States and Canada and broadcast on about 1,200 more in other countries. Mr. Humbard claimed that "Cathedral of Tomorrow" was on more television stations than any other program in the nation.

"I am proud to be an electronic evangelist," he wrote in his 1971 autobiography, "Miracles in My Life," "for I believe that God has a plan

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