Christian Evangelist Billy Graham was born in Charlotte, N.C. on November 17, 1918 to parents William and Morrow Graham, who were dairy farmers. His parents were strict: in 1933, after the end of prohibition, his father made Billy and his sister drink beer until they were ill to successfully teach them to abstain from alcohol and drugs.
Graham went to Sharon High School, and after graduating in May 1936, Graham attended Bob Jones University in Tennessee, but left after only one semester. He then enrolled in Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College), where he claims he received his calling from God. Graham eventually earned a degree in anthropology from Wheaton College in 1943, where he claims to have found that the Bible was the true word of God.
Graham is a Southern Baptist and has had a long, successful ministry career, rising to celebrity status after his sermons were broadcast on TV and radio. Graham has acted as spiritual adviser to 12 United States presidents, beginning with Harry S. Truman.
On August 13, 1943, Graham married Ruth Bell, who he met while they were both students at Wheaton. They went on to have five children before Ruth passed away in 2007.