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Tribute to Billy Graham

Kathie Lee Gifford

February 21, 2018 – NBC Studios, Los Angeles CA


They told me, I was in makeup across the street and I just immediately put up my hands and said, thank you Lord! Thank you Lord.

Because he has been lingering and languishing. Last time I saw him was at his 95th birthday party, Frank was alive then too. And I went down there too. And I was sitting with his granddaughter  and hadn’t seen him, he was quite frail,. but I knew in my heart that it would be the last time I might see him.

So I said to her, can I go over and just tell your grandfather thank you? Because my whole family came to faith in Jesus through the Billy Graham organization.

And I personally did going to the first movie the Billy Graham organisation put out, it was called ‘The Restless Ones’, and it was like God met me in my heart right were I lived. I’d wanted to be an actress. So where does God meet me? In a movie theatre. And at that time he took a lot of flak for ever making a movie.

What just happened for Billy happened for my husband, it happened for my mother, for my father, everyone who dies in Christ goes immediately into the arms of Christ for eternity, That is the hope of the Christian faith… Yes it gives it gives us the tools to live our lives while we’re alive, but that’s why I could hold my dead husband in my arms and rejoice … Because I knew where he was!  It gives us the peace that passes all understanding, and if there’s anything we need in this world now it’s peace.

People ask me why I’m so bold, about my faith. I say, ‘you know what, If you had the cure for cancer would you keep silent? And I always say,  I have the cure for the malignancy of the soul, and it has a name and it’s Jesus.

And if you could just see, I talked somebody off a cliff this morning, at 4.30 in the morning, and he was saying ‘how do I know your Jesus, how can I get to know your Jesus?’ And I feel so privileged to know, just to be able to share the good news. Gospel means good news. It’s good news! And I’m not talking about a religion, I’m talking about a relationship with a living God. They’re so different. They’re so different. We don’t need more religion, we need more Jesus.

But that night, at his birthday party, I mean he wasn’t very, his eyes, he assisted everyone called him Billy, and I went over to him and I said, ‘Billy, Billy …. ‘  and I he was doing sort of this, and I said, ‘Billy, it’s Kathie Lee’ and he said, ‘Oh Kathie Lee … I love you.’ I was so grateful. The only time he ever did a secular television show, that wasn’t news, was my first Christmas special.

And he came to my house in Greenwich Connecticut, and all i wanted them to do was sit in front of the fire and read the Book of Luke to my children, Cass was one and a half and Cody was four and a half, and he did, and all their little friends were there, and it was one of my great great memories.

But before that happened, he got there, and we weren’t quite ready to shoot his scene,. so I said, ‘Dr Graham’ and he said,’oh no no no, you’ve got to call me Billy, we can’t be friends unless you call me Billy’, I’d met him before, but this was an intimate … he’s in my home! This was one of those pinch me things you know.

My mother and my sister both came to know the Lord through one of his crusades on television. I come home from school and I see my mother and my sister on their knees sobbing their eyes out, and I’m thinking ‘who’s died’. But no, it’s who was born.

He was one of a kind, and let me give you an example of that. When I said to him, ‘okay Billt, what can I get you  anything, Frank and I were standing there, ‘we can get you anything you like before we start shooting.’ He says ‘Anything?’ And we say, ‘yes anything you like’, and he goes, ‘Can I have a Big Mac?’ Frank goes, ‘I’m gonna go get you ten Big Macs’. He goes around the corner to our local McDonalds and comes back with about a hundred Big Macs for everybody. Billy went upstairs, happily munching on Biog Macs until he came back down and shared the gospel again.

I mean we’re all just human. We’re all just human.