Scientology and celebrities

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A Scientology building on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Recruiting Scientologist celebrities and getting them to endorse Scientology to the public at large has always been very important to the Church of Scientology. Scientology has had a written program governing celebrity recruitment since at least 1955, when L. Ron Hubbard created "Project Celebrity", offering rewards to Scientologists who recruited targeted celebrities.[1][2] Early interested parties included former silent-screen star Gloria Swanson and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck.[2][3] A Scientology policy letter of 1976 states that "rehabilitation of celebrities who are just beyond or just approaching their prime" enables the "rapid dissemination" of Scientology.[4][5][6]

Coordinated effort[edit]

The Church of Scientology operates special Celebrity Centres. Scientology policy governs the Celebrity Centres (the main one in Los Angeles and others in Paris, Nashville, and elsewhere), stating that "one of the major purposes of the Celebrity Centre and its staff is to expand the number of celebrities in Scientology." (Scientology Flag Order 2310) Another order describes Celebrity Centre's Public Clearing Division and its goal, "broad public into Scientology from celebrity dissemination"; this division has departments for planning celebrity events and routing the general public onto Scientology services as a result of celebrity involvement.[1][7]

As founder L. Ron Hubbard put it:

Celebrities are very Special people and have a very distinct line of dissemination. They have comm[unication] lines that others do not have and many medias [sic] to get their dissemination through (Flag Order 3323, 9 May 1973)[8] Hubbard believed celebrities to be such a core part of Scientology that he decided to promote Scientology through them. He used each of their uniquenesses in order to draw others like them into the his Church of Scientology. His main goal in doing this was to make the Church of Scientology an appealing place for all people. He wanted to lure many in with the lifestyles of these celebrities so that ordinary people would want to become more like these celebrities. In doing this, the common male or female would choose to become a member of Scientology which would resemble the life of the celebrity he or she admired. Hubbard also wanted to recruit celebrities in order to see his plan unfold. Without celebrities, it is not known how far Scientology might have reached out during its beginning phases. Scientology's success or failure in a way depended on these celebrities appealing to the crowd.[9]

Hugh B. Urban, professor of religious studies in the Department of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University said about Scientology's appeal to celebrities in an interview for

But then I think the reason that celebrities would be interested is because it's a religion that fits pretty well with a celebrity kind of personality. It's very individualistic. It celebrates your individual identity as ultimately divine. It claims to give you ultimate power over your own mind, self, destiny, so I think it fits well with an actor personality. And then the wealth question: These aren't people who need more wealth, but what they do need, or often want at least, is some kind of spiritual validation for their wealth and lifestyle, and Scientology is a religion that says it's OK to be wealthy, it's OK to be famous, in fact, that's a sign of your spiritual development. So it kind of is a spiritual validation for that kind of lifestyle.[10]

Journalistic and media sources claim that Scientology is “The Church of the Stars” or a “star-studded sect,” although there are likely more Hollywood celebrities in other religious traditions. One reason for this is the church’s Celebrity Centres, which is unique to the religion. Most members in these facilities are not celebrities, however, a lot of members are part of the entertainment industry.[11]

Notable Scientologist celebrities[edit]

The Church of Scientology has a long history of seeking out artists, musicians, writers and actors, and states that Scientology can help them in their lives and careers.[12] Celebrity Scientologists include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sappell, Joel; Welkos, Robert W. (June 25, 1990). "The Courting of Celebrities". Los Angeles Times. p. A18:5. Retrieved June 6, 2006.
  2. ^ a b Shaw, William (February 14, 2008). "What do Tom Cruise and John Travolta know about Scientology that we don't?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved June 25, 2009.
  3. ^ Cusack, Carole M. "Celebrity, the Popular Media, and Scientology: Making Familiar the Unfamiliar"
  4. ^ Lewis, James R. (2009). Scientology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 394–395. ISBN 978-0-19-533149-3.
  5. ^ Baker, Russ (April 1997). "Clash of Titans". George.
  6. ^ L. Ron Hubbard. "HCO Policy Letter 23 May 1976R: Celebrities". Scientology Celebrities & Human Rights. Church of Scientology International. Archived from the original on July 14, 2013.
  7. ^ Scientology and Celebrities – Premiere Magazine
  8. ^ Farrow, Boyd (August 1, 2006). "The A-listers' belief system". The New Statesman. Retrieved August 24, 2006.[permanent dead link]
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  11. ^ Lewis, J. (2017). Lewis, James R.; Hellesoy, Kjersti (eds.). Handbook of Scientology. Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion. Brill. ISBN 9789004330542.
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  13. ^ "Kirstie Alley: "I'm Not Some F---ing Fake" Scientologist". Us Weekly. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  14. ^ McGrath, Nick (July 11, 2014). "Anne Archer: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  15. ^ Staff (September 3, 2006). "Jennifer Aspen and David O'Donnell marry". United Press International. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  16. ^ "Scientology Success: Jennifer Aspen". Church of Scientology. Retrieved August 19, 2008.
  17. ^ Zokaei, Mayar (Spring 2005). "Bell Hop". NYLA Magazine. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  18. ^ Sales, Nancy Jo (January 2008). "The Golden Suicides". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  19. ^ Sweeney, Claire (January 29, 2009). "Ay caramba! Bart Simpson is spruiking Scientology". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved August 10, 2015.(registration required)
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  21. ^ "Erika Christensen Defends Scientology: We Don't Worship Rabbits". The Huffington Post. January 17, 2013. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  22. ^ Heckman, Don (August 18, 2001). "Playing in His Key". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Friedman, Roger (June 26, 2007). "Tom Cruise Finally Meets His Match". Fox News. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved June 23, 2008.
  24. ^ Moschovitis Group (2005). The Internet: A Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: MTM Publishing, Inc. ISBN 1-85109-659-0.
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  27. ^ Friedman, Roger (August 11, 2008). "Isaac Hayes' History With Scientology". Fox News. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
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  29. ^ Richardson, John M. (September 11, 1993). "The Scientology Church of Hollywood". The Globe and Mail. Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.
  30. ^ LaPorte, Nicole (August 26, 2010). "Stanley Kubrick's Lost Daughter". The Daily Beast.
  31. ^ Miller, Julie (July 29, 2015). "Walking Dead Star's Father Accuses Scientology of "Brainwashing" Her in Damning New Interview". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on August 14, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  32. ^ Silman, Anna (April 7, 2015). "Scientology and Elisabeth Moss: What the "Mad Men" star isn't talking about in interviews". Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  33. ^ "Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International Celebrates 43rd Anniversary" (Press release). Scientology Newsroom. August 25, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  34. ^ Callahan, Michael (December 2007). "A Conversation with Laura Prepon". Women's Health. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  35. ^ Goodyear, Dana (January 14, 2008). "Château Scientology". Letter from California. The New Yorker. Retrieved January 10, 2008.
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  37. ^ Zuckerman, Esther. "Nine Celebrity Morsels from Lawrence's Wright's Scientology Book". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  38. ^ "Billy Sheehan: 'The Role Scientology Has Played in My Life Has Been Vital'". February 19, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
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