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Charles Templeton

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Charles Templeton
Charles Bradley Templeton

(1915-10-07)October 7, 1915
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedJune 7, 2001(2001-06-07) (aged 85)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Other namesChuck
EducationParkdale Collegiate Institute
Princeton Theological Seminary
Occupation(s)Evangelist, journalist, radio commentator, author, politician, inventor, cartoonist
Notable workFarewell to God
Spouse(s)Constance Oroczy 1939–1957
Sylvia Murphy 1959–1976[1]
Madeleine Helen Stevens Leger 1980–2001
ChildrenMichael, Deborah, Bradley, and Tyrone

Charles Bradley Templeton[2][3] (October 7, 1915 – June 7, 2001) was a Canadian media figure and a former Christian evangelist. Known in the 1940s and 1950s as a leading evangelist, he became an agnostic and later embraced atheism after struggling with doubt. Afterwards he worked at various times in journalism, radio and writing.

Early life


On October 7, 1915, Charles Templeton was born in Toronto, Canada. He attended the high school Parkdale Collegiate Institute.[2]



In 1932,[2] he was hired to draw "Chuck Templeton's Sportraits", a daily sports cartoon, at age 17 for The Toronto Globe (now The Globe and Mail),[4] leaving high school. His work became syndicated and earned him a comfortable living. He converted to Christianity while working as a cartoonist, quitting his job in 1936 to become a preacher.[2]

Christian evangelist


After he quit his first job, Templeton became a mass evangelist. From 1936 to 1938, he toured the US and preached in 44 states.[2] He was a top evangelist, internationally renowned.[2][5][3] In 1941, Templeton started the Nazarene Avenue Road Church as its preacher, renting a building that formerly housed a Presbyterian church.[2][6] In 1955, he became the Presbyterian Church in the United States's secretary of evangelism.[2]

Wanting to learn more about Christianity, Templeton attended Princeton Theological Seminary in the 1940s,[7][5] later receiving an honorary doctorate from Lafayette College.[2]

He hosted the religious television show Look Up and Live.[2][3]

Charles Templeton struggled with doubts about his religion. He eventually became an agnostic,[2] causing a wide backlash from Christian communities.[3]

Templeton was a close friend of, and shared billing with, fellow evangelist Billy Graham, with whom he co-founded (along with Torrey Johnson) Youth for Christ International.[2][3] After Templeton became an agnostic, they remained friends but became more distant.[2]





In 1959, he quit evangelism and entered a media career. He was hired by the Toronto Star in the same year as its executive managing editor, quitting the position in 1964 to enter politics. Furthermore, he founded the advertising company Technamation Canada, working there until CTV hired him as director of public affairs in 1967. In 1969, he got another job as editor of Maclean's magazine for seven months.[2][7][5][3]



Templeton became an interviewer for the radio show Close-Up.[2] He later worked with Pierre Berton on the radio show Dialogue from 1966 to 1970 on CFRB and from 1970 to 1984 on CKEY where Templeton also served as morning news reader.[8][2][7][3]

He won two ACTRA Awards for broadcasting.[2][7] In 1992, he won the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal.[7]



Templeton wrote plays performed on television. Templeton's first novel, The Kidnapping of the President (1974), was a bestseller and was adapted into a 1980 film.[5] He wrote several other novels.[2][7] In Farewell to God (1995 or 1996), he described his conversion to agnosticism and his reasons for doing so.[2][5] He won the B'nai B'rith book award.[7]



He came second in an election for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party,[2][5][3] although he was its vice-president in 1964 and 1965.[7]



Templeton made his own unsuccessful designs of a child-resistant medicine cap, a cigarette filter and a pipeline.[2] His design for a teddy bear that could stay warm for many hours was widely manufactured.[3]

Personal life


While he was an evangelist, Templeton married evangelist and singer Constance Oroczy in 1939. In 1957, they divorced. In 1959, he married singer Sylvia Murphy, whom he met while producing a television drama; they also divorced.[3] In 1980, he married author Madeleine Helen Stevens Leger, staying married until he died.[2] He had four children: Michael, Deborah, Bradley, and Tyrone.[2]



On June 7, 2001, Charles Templeton died from Alzheimer's disease.[7][5][3]


  1. ^ Morrow, Martin (March 4, 2021). "Popular singer Sylvia Murphy found a national audience on 1950s TV". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Downey, Donn (June 8, 2001). "Canada's man of many parts". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on February 28, 2020. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Templeton, Brad. "Charles Templeton (1915–2001)". templetons.com. Archived from the original on February 28, 2020. Retrieved October 21, 2020.
  4. ^ "Heads Evangelism Unit Of Presbyterian Board". The New York Times. May 29, 1954. p. 16. ProQuest 112883906 – via ProQuest. Dr. Templeton once was a sports cartoonist for The Toronto Globe. He was 17 when he began. He syndicated a daily drawing as 'Chuck Templeton's Sportraits.' 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Journalist, evangelist Charles Templeton dies". CBC News. June 8, 2001. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  6. ^ "Avenue Road Church". heritagetoronto.org. March 7, 2014. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Charles Templeton dead at 85". CTV Television Network. June 7, 2001. Archived from the original on August 9, 2001. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  8. ^ Landsdell, Gord (August 2001). "Pierre Berton (1920–2004)". Canadian Communications Foundation. Retrieved September 15, 2020.