Tammy Faye Messner lost her battle with lung cancer and died on July 20th at the age of 65 (story on CNN.com). Messner and then-husband Jim Bakker founded the PTL Club in 1974 and later expanded it into a network; the two co-hosted the PTL Club from 1976-87. The PTL Club ended in scandal and Tammy Faye divorced Jim Bakker in its wake. Since then she remarried, hosted The Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show (with Jim J. Bullock), and appeared on the reality television series The Surreal Life.
The Archive of American Television interviewed Tammy Faye in Palm Springs on January 19, 2005. The interview is currently available online at Google Video.
Messner talked about her childhood desire to become an evangelist. She described meeting her future husband Jim Bakker at bible college and their subsequent collaboration as traveling evangelists. She detailed their discovery by Pat Robertson, and how they were launched on the fledging Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). She spoke about their children’s show, The Jim and Tammy Show, as well as Jim’s tenure as host of The 700 Club. She then discussed their creation of Trinity Broadcasting and their eventual split with their co-founders, which led to the formation of The PTL Club. Although she declined to discuss the subsequent “PTL scandal,” she spoke of the devastation it left on her life. She also spoke about The Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show and her recent appearance on The Surreal Life.