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Scientology and celebrities

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Recruiting and retaining Scientologist celebrities and getting them to endorse Scientology to the public at large has been important to the Church of Scientology since its early days. The organization 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] The Scientology organization has a particular interest in international focus on wealthy businesspeople and influencers to help promote its ideals. 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]

Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood

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]

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 Beliefnet.com:

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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11]

Celebrity Scientologists include:

Former Scientologists[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. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. 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. ^ Richardson, John H. (September 1993) "Catcha Rising Star" Premiere Magazine
  8. ^ Farrow, Boyd (August 1, 2006). "The A-listers' belief system". The New Statesman. Archived from the original on August 14, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2006.
  9. ^ "Mind over Matter".
  10. ^ Lewis, J. (2017). Lewis, James R.; Hellesoy, Kjersti (eds.). Handbook of Scientology. Vol. Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion. Brill. ISBN 9789004330542.
  11. ^ "Artists Find Inspiration, Education at Church of Scientology & Celebrity Centre Nashville." The Tennessee Tribune, Jan 20 – 26, 2011. Vol. 22, Iss. 3, pg. 14A
  12. ^ "Kirstie Alley: "I'm Not Some F---ing Fake" Scientologist". Us Weekly. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  13. ^ McGrath, Nick (July 11, 2014). "Anne Archer: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  14. ^ Zokaei, Mayar (Spring 2005). "Bell Hop". NYLA Magazine. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  15. ^ Sweeney, Claire (January 29, 2009). "Ay caramba! Bart Simpson is spruiking Scientology". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved August 10, 2015.(registration required)
  16. ^ "Erika Christensen Defends Scientology: We Don't Worship Rabbits". The Huffington Post. January 17, 2013. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  17. ^ Heckman, Don (August 18, 2001). "Playing in His Key". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  18. ^ "Cruise lobbies over Scientology". January 30, 2002.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Weisman, Aly (October 27, 2015). "19 famous Church of Scientology members". Business Insider. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  20. ^ "Scientology Saved 'Moonlight' Star's Acting Career". Buddy TV. March 7, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  21. ^ Friedman, Roger (August 11, 2008). "Isaac Hayes' History With Scientology". Fox News. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  22. ^ LaPorte, Nicole (August 26, 2010). "Stanley Kubrick's Lost Daughter". The Daily Beast.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Silman, Anna (April 7, 2015). "Scientology and Elisabeth Moss: What the "Mad Men" star isn't talking about in interviews". Salon.com. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  25. ^ Leigh, Danny (October 6, 2016). "Michael Peña: 'Scientology made me a better actor'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on October 8, 2020.
  26. ^ "Giovanni Ribisi". Now. April 12, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  27. ^ Kreps, Daniel (November 22, 2019). "Beck Reveals 'I'm Not a Scientologist' in New Interview". RollingStone.
  28. ^ Wright, Lawrence (February 14, 2011). "The Apostate : Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on May 6, 2015.
  29. ^ Fieldstadt, Elisha (January 6, 2017). "Celebrity Scientologists and ex-Scientologists". CBSNews.com. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  30. ^ Ryzik, Melena (December 27, 2021). "Juliette Lewis, an 'Imagination Freak Fairy,' Knows Her Worth". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 15, 2022. Retrieved January 15, 2022.
  31. ^ "Slap Chop Pitchman Vince Shlomi Alleges Scientologists Ripped Him off for Millions - CBS News". CBS News. March 31, 2009.
  32. ^ McNeil, Liz (August 17, 2021). "Laura Prepon on Motherhood, Sharing Her Truth and Her Decision to Leave Scientology". People.
  33. ^ Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
  34. ^ "Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers: Marriage Impossible". EW.com. Retrieved November 8, 2023. What's more, Rogers today claims she is no longer a practicing Scientologist.
  35. ^ Schoellkopf, Christina (May 16, 2017). "Jeffrey Tambor Reflects on Scientology, Transgender Issues in His New Memoir". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 18, 2023.
  36. ^ Weisman, Aly (April 1, 2015). "The crazy story of how Scientology allegedly once groomed a girlfriend for Tom Cruise — and then tore them apart". Business Insider. Retrieved February 11, 2024.