Pat Boone on his friendships with Reagan, Elvis ... and Jesus

Michael Foust

Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
Updated Apr 19, 2024

A discussion with 89-year-old Pat Boone isn’t merely a trip down memory lane.

The energetic singer and actor -- who is celebrating 70 years in entertainment -- is still busy. He has a new album, Country Jubilee, with 25 songs, including the whimsical tune Grits. He has a new faith-centric book, If, that urges readers to consider their eternal destiny. 

He plays Thomas Jefferson in an upcoming film, An American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic. Boone’s character is portrayed in the new movie Reagan, which stars Dennis Quad as the former president and is scheduled for an August release.

Even so, Boone has plenty of stories if you want to take a trip down memory lane.

For example, he once headlined a concert where a young singer named Elvis Presley opened for him. They became friends.

“We were two Tennessee boys. I was from Nashville, and he was from Memphis,” Boone told CrosswalkHeadlines.

Years later, Boone befriended a rising California politician named Ronald Reagan. Their children went to the same school. On Election Night 1980, when Reagan won the presidency in a landslide, Boone phoned Reagan. The Gipper answered.

“I said, ‘May I be the first to refer to you as Mr. President?’”

During Reagan’s presidency, Boone visited the White House.

Boone led Bible studies for Hollywood stars at his home during the height of the Jesus Movement of the 70s.

“More than one ended in baptisms in our pool,” he said. (Boone’s wife, Shirley, told him more than 300 were baptized, he said.)

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Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Frazer Harrison / Staff/SWN Design/CanvaPro

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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