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Pat Boone’s Local History

Twentieth-century superstar Pat Boone, whose photo graced last month’s cover of The Conejo Guardian, has a long history in the area, including serving as grand marshal of the Conejo Valley Days parade.

Boone was born Charles Eugene Patrick Boone on June 1, 1934, in Jacksonville, Florida. He attended high school in Nashville, Tennessee, and won the East Nashville High School Talent Contest at age eighteen. First prize was a trip to New York City and an audition for The Ted Mack Amateur Hour. Boone won the competition three weeks in a row and sang in the national finals a year or so later, competing against other three-time winners. He was disqualified because while waiting to see if he had won (the voting process was by cards, letters and telephone), he entered (and later won) Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts Show, which was for professionals.

“I’m still busy, healthy, singing and swimming – and I want God to use every inch of me for His purposes.”

Pat married high school sweetheart Shirley Foley on November 7, 1953. In the midst of early career success, he attended Columbia University, graduating magna cum laude in 1958 and appearing on the cover of TV Guide in his cap and gown.

Soon, his influence reached far beyond music. He became a popular actor, TV host, producer, songwriter, author, motivational speaker, TV pitchman, radio personality, record company head, TV station owner, sports team owner, family man, humanitarian and outspoken Christian. When the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame was first instituted, Pat had the rare honor of receiving three stars – for Recording, Motion Picture and Television.

In 1960, Pat wrote the lyrics to the theme song titled “The Exodus Song (This Land Is Mine)” from the movie Exodus. The song is about the creation of the state of Israel, and it provided him with a special connection with the country, which has been maintained for six decades. Boone has been named the Christian Ambassador of Tourism by the Israel Ministry of Tourism and has led twenty tours of the country. He received an Israel Cultural Award, the country’s highest award for a non-native. He is spokesman for the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews “Wings of Eagles” program, which directly enabled 300,000 Jews from communist countries to resettle in Israel. In November 2022, he was presented the “Warrior for Truth Award” at the Algemeiner 50th Anniversary Gala in New York City. Boone is a Bible-believing Christian and calls himself an “adopted” Jew.

Pat and Shirley reared and guided their daughters, Cherry, Lindy, Debby, and Laury, in the glare of the Hollywood spotlight and now have 16 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Boone has served as national spokesman for charities, including the March of Dimes and the National Association of the Blind, and as entertainment chairman for the National Easter Seals telethon, which during his tenure of 18 years raised more than $600 million for the disabled. His own Cambodian relief organization, “Save The Refugee Fund,”  formed in the Boone family’s living room in 1979, is now Mercy Corps, currently operating with 5,900 team members in 40 countries and responsible, so far, for delivering $1.3 billion worth of food and supplies where needed.

“Pat and Shirley have supported the Pepperdine School of Public Policy for many years.”

The Boones cherish lifelong connections to Pepperdine University. According to Pepperdine, nearly 50 years ago, when the family moved to Los Angeles, they began worshiping at the Inglewood Church of Christ. Being friends of former Pepperdine president Norvel Young before their move to California, the Boones soon befriended Pepperdine Chancellor Emeritus Charles Runnels and his wife, Amy Jo.

Pat was invited to join the Pepperdine Board of Advisors, and throughout the years, the Boones remained closely linked with the University. Shirley served on the exploratory committee that led to Pepperdine’s move to Malibu, and Pat is the longstanding chair of the University Board comprising business, civic and community leaders. He and Shirley have supported the Pepperdine School of Public Policy for many years. They are founding board members, namesakes and benefactors of the Boone Center for the Family, which was established in 1997 and named after them in 2007.

In 2017, as another affirmation of their commitment to enriching the lives of students and serving the needs of the Pepperdine community, the Boone Special Collections and Archives at Payson Library was established, housing a collection of unique physical artifacts ranging from medieval manuscripts to 20th-century film reels.

“As for now,” Pat, 89, says, “I may not have much time left, realistically. But I’m still busy, healthy, singing and swimming – and I want God to use every inch of me for His pleasure and purposes. And I’m trying, as I always have, to bring as many other people to heaven with me as I can.”

Some information in this article was provided by patboone.com.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Pat is a very exceptional person. One who lives his faith. He loved sports and was an excellent athlete in many sports. Bright in the academic sense, gifted writer in the religious and faith centered sphere, very wise in his reasoning and ability to communicate and inspire. Loves our Lord, cares greatly for his family. If only the entertainment world mirrored his morals and concerns our country and its people would be much better off.

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