Southern sensibilities, media savvy, denominational openness, and an expanding social vision helped turn a country boy evangelist into a cultural icon.
In slightly more than two decades—roughly from 1949 to 1971—Billy Graham moved from leader to celebrity to icon, and he retained that iconic status into the new millennium. For millions of Heartland Americans, he functioned very much as a Protestant saint. By the time he retired in 2005, reportedly he had preached to nearly 215 million people in person in more than 185 countries and territories, and to additional hundreds of millions through electronic media.
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