Home Celebrity Kathie Lee Gifford Leaves Out Juicy Part of Aimee Semple McPherson’s Life:...

Kathie Lee Gifford’s musical about evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson is not a whitewash–she does tell us that Aimee liked her men, and she popped a lot of pills. But Kathie Lee did leave out one good story: that McPherson slept with comedian Milton Berle around 1930. Berle wrote about in his 2002 autobiography, detailing how he met McPherson when he was playing the vaudeville circuit and she was putting on outrageous shows to entice people into her Foursquare Church. Berle, it should be noted, was well known in Hollywood for the legend of his, er, sizeable manhood. (Ahem.) Kathie Lee could have written a cute song about this unusual coupling: an evangelist preacher and Jewish jokester.

Here’s the description of the events from Berle’s book via Wikipedia:

“I was both impressed and very curious … She was all dignity and class when it came her turn. The house went wild when she walked out into the lights.” Backstage, she invited him to see Angelus Temple. Instead, Berle wrote, the two of them went to lunch in Santa Monica, then to an apartment of hers where McPherson changed into something “cooler [...] a very thin, pale blue negligee.” Berle said he could see she was wearing nothing underneath and that she only said, “Come in.” Berle said they met for the second and last time at the same apartment a few days later, writing, “This time, she just sent the chauffeur for me to bring me straight to the apartment. We didn’t even bother with lunch. When I was dressing to leave, she stuck out her hand. ‘Good luck with your show, Milton.’ What the hell. I couldn’t resist it. ‘Good luck with yours, Aimee.’ I never saw or heard from Aimee Semple McPherson again. But whenever I hear ‘Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby,’ I remember her.”

1 reply to this post
  1. The Milton Berle claim is most certainly a legend in his own mind. I have no doubt he was with someone whose name phonetically sounded similar to “Amy,” but it was not of the McPherson variety. Besides a gentleman never kisses and tells. But Berle was known for telling even though he never kissed.

    Biographer Matthew Avery Sutton commented, “Berle, a notorious womanizer whose many tales of scandalous affairs were not always true, claimed to have had sex with McPherson on this and one other occasion” both during a year when McPherson was often ill and bedridden. Sutton also wrote that Berle’s story of a crucifix in her bedroom was not consistent with the coolness of Pentecostal-Catholic relations during that era.

    Cox, Raymond L. The Verdict is In, 1983 p.241 states of this Milton Berle claim: Mrs. McPherson’s daughter, Roberta Salter of New York; told me, “Mother never had an apartment in her life.” And by 1931 she kept herself securely chaperoned to guard against such allegations. The year 1930 is one we can trace the evangelist’s appearances ad whereabouts almost every day. She was incapacitated with illness a full five months of that year, and there is no place on her schedule as reported in her publications and church and travel records, for any such benefit. Besides, Roberta also told me, “Mother never did a benefit in her life. She had her own charities.”

What do you think?

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