“Pastor, evangelist and author Rev. Ernest Angley has gone to Heaven to be with his Lord and Master at 99,” the announcement reads. “He touched multitudes of souls worldwide with the pure Word of God confirmed with signs, wonders, miracles and healings. He truly pleased God in all things.”
Robin Williams was one of many comics who parodied Angley’s somewhat odd speaking voice and mannerisms. Williams created a character named “Rev. Earnest Angry” and brought the caricature to Saturday Night Live, a comedy album, and in his TV sitcom Mork & Mindy.
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Meanwhile, Angley’s megachuch was thriving. He grew his church from a tent revival to more than 3000 followers in Ohio, generating revenue that was able to buy a $26 million Boeing 747, which he used for overseas mission trips, and was increasingly syndicated on many television stations .
Born in Gastonia, North Carolina, Angley moved to Akron, Ohio in 1954. His broadcasting career began in 1972.
The essence of Angley’s preaching was faith healing, and his claims sometimes got him in hot water. Officials in Munich, Germany arrested him in 1984 on charges of fraud and practicing medicine without a license,. He was also heavily criticized by officials in Guyana, who in 2006 blasted him for claiming he could cure AIDS.
Attendance dropped in recent years, which some attributed to a 2014 Akron Beacon Journal investigation in which 21 former church members detailed accusations of wrongdoing by Angley.
In the series, they labeled the Angley church a cult, and said Angley — who preached vehemently against the “sin” of homosexuality — was himself a gay man who personally examined the genitals of the male parishioners before and after their surgeries. He also allegedly ignored sexual abuse by other members of his church. Angley denied all the accusations.
Four years later, one of the people mentioned in the series, former Assistant Pastor Brock Miller, filed a lawsuit claiming sexual abuse. Angley and the church countersued for defamation, and an out-of-court settlement was reached in February 2020 for an undisclosed amount.
The Beacon Journal’s 2014 series drew the attention of the US Department of Labor, which investigated a restaurant operated by Angley and later sued him for $388,508 for back wages and damages. The suit alleged violations of minimum wage, overtime, record-keeping and child labor laws involving 238 current and former employees.
Survivors and memorial details have not yet been released.