‘Passing the Baton of Light,’ a Fascinating New Book by Rev. Beverly Powers
LAHAINA, MAUI, HI ((ANS) - Beverly Powers was born on August 7, 1939 in Los Angeles, California,
USA as Beverly Jean Montgomery, and has quite an extraordinary story to tell.
From three Elvis Presley movies, to more than seventy Red Skelton Shows, to a guest-star
appearance on the Jack Benny Show, to portraying herself as an exotic dancer in
Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn. Beverly Powers has gone from a
dubious past to a wonderful future of answers to life's most important
questions. She was even featured in "Glamour Girls of Sixties Hollywood:
Seventy-Five Profiles," by Tom Lisanti.
But now it's all changed for Beverly, who is a minister with The Living Ministry in Maui,
Hawaii, and serves as one of the chaplains at Maui Memorial Hospital. She has
performed more than 2,700 weddings and vow renewals to date.
This extraordinary lady went from spending twenty-five years of reading scripts for
Hollywood, making many appearances on the small and large screen, to another
twenty-five years of reading Scriptures for God. Her life brings dignity to the meaning of
I recently caught up with Beverly Powers for my Front Page Radio Show to talk about her recently
released book, "Passing the Baton of Light," and subtitled, "Saving a Family
Tree," in which she writes about how she went from "the Sunset Strip" to the
I began by asking her to outline her earlier life and how she got into show business.
Beverly told me, "My childhood was very strained. I had a bigamist father and then a
pedophile step-father. But I also had a praying grandmother who brought me to church
and introduced me to the Lord when I was 12 years old."
Beverly said that in 1957, she was involved in an automobile accident and thrown from the car she
was driving. Miraculously, she survived.
"There were no such things as seat-belts in those days, and as I lay in the middle of the
street my car had spun around and was coming straight toward my head, at a high
rate of speed," she recalled. "I could smell the burning rubber of the tire.
Then, as if it hit an invisible wall, the car abruptly stopped and began
teetering back and forth over my head. I could see the underbelly of the
fender. When the ambulance drivers arrived, they had to cut my long auburn hair
out from under the tire to set me free from under the car.
"I've had so many of those kind of miracles in my life that it eventually became obvious to me
that I had a responsibility to God to share these supernatural experiences with
others. I'm very clear the Lord doesn't give us blessings for us to hoard them.
My book is also partially about rescuing my prodigal son... a convicted felon.
"After several bona fide miracles, like the one that saved my life, I finally realized they
had to have come from the Lord... the Lord my grandmother spoke of. Yet, I still
strayed and ended up making a huge left turn away from the Lord and ended up in
Hollywood headlining as an exotic dancer under the stage name of 'Miss Beverly Hills.'"
For, four years she worked at the famed Club Largo on the Sunset Strip as Hollywood's highest
paid dancer, but eventually her success came back to haunt her.
"I was making quite a name for myself and was being interviewed by numerous radio and
television personalities. One was Regis Philbin who, on his nationally
syndicated TV show, asked me on one of my guest appearances, 'What's a nice
girl like you doing taking off her clothes at night for a living?' I was so
embarrassed by the question I thought I would die. However, the question proved
to be a turning point in my life."
Beverly spoke about the movies she made with Elvis Presley: Kissin' Cousins, Viva Las Vegas,
and Speedway, where she got to kiss Elvis.
I asked her about Elvis and she smiled and said, "Oh, he was so nice and polite. He loved his
mother and adored my grandmother, whom he met at one of his studio cast
parties. My grandmother reminded him of his mother - who were both saintly
southern belles, dressed in corseted house-dresses. He also liked my husband,
Billy, when they met.
"After being absent from nightclubs for nearly ten years, Elvis was scheduled to return to
the stage at the International Theater in Las Vegas for his long awaited come
back at the International Theater. It just happened to be the week of my
birthday and Elvis invited Billy and I to be his guests to his show, and even
made sure we had ringside seats."
Small parts in Hollywood films continued for Beverly. A highlight of her filmmaking came when
she was hired to appear as herself in Breakfast At Tiffany's, starring Audrey
Hepburn and George Peppard. A photo of Bev in her new book shows Hepburn and
Peppard chatting, and in the background is a massive mirror reflecting Beverly
doing her glamorous dance.
"Eighteen months later, after having my first child, I was hired for a small part in, Days of
Wine and Roses, starring Jack Lemmon. I was in the make-up room that morning
when Audrey Hepburn walked by. She was making another movie on the studio lot,
but stopped and peeked her head into my room, smiled, saying, 'Hi Beverly. I
heard you had a baby.' I have to confess, I was so surprised that she
remembered me, and knew about my son being born. It was such a compliment. But,
that's the kind of woman she was. Always interested in others, instead of
trying to be interesting herself. She really loved the Lord, and although she
didn't talk about it much, her actions spoke volumes."
Besides Beverly's many movie roles, she appeared on numerous Red Skelton television shows as his
straight man. "I was scheduled to appear on one show yet ended up doing about
forty of them." So with all this success, how did she come to commit her life
to Christ and end up with her ministry in Hawaii?
"The truth is my husband and I had been separated for several years, and I was alone in my 2,100
square foot home all by myself except for my Doberman Pincer named Gabriel. My
sons had moved with Billy to Hawaii. I was filled with deep despair and sorrow,
and was actually suicidal... thinking of ways I could end it all.
"One morning as I was taking GabrieI for a walk along the bank of the dry river bed that ran
alongside my home, and saw a group of men below, resting under some bamboo
trees. I had no idea where they had come from. The scene reminded me of Christ
sitting with his disciples seated before Him.
"I had been so depressed after my husband and sons moved out. They meant everything to me.
Billy and I had split because of his excessive drinking at the time. And, to
make my sorrow worse, my precious grandmother had died. My mother and I had
never had a strong relationship. I had no father to speak of. I felt so alone.
I couldn't take the emotional pain any longer. I wanted to die--I didn't want
to live anymore.
"Then, there on the river bank, I suddenly dropped to my knees and began to cry out, 'Dear
Lord, help me.' God knew what I was going through and how suicidal I had
become. 'If you will take away my pain,' I sobbed, 'and forgive me of all my
thoughts and wrong doings, I will give you the rest of my life. That was 31 years ago.
"Three days after surrendering my life to Christ, and without even trying, my home sold for the highest
price, at the time, in East Ventura, and I ended up moving to Hawaii to be near my sons."
Beverly said that shortly after arriving in Maui, a Baptist minister approached her and asked,
"Are you the lady who recently moved here from California?", to which she
nodded. He then told her, "We have a Sunday morning outreach service at one of the resorts and our lay minister has
moved off island. We need someone to take over and I was wondering if you would be interested?"
She said, "I couldn't believe my ears. With my background, he had to be kidding. I began to
say 'No,' when something within me told me to say, 'Yes.'"
That's when Beverly began sharing the Word of God, teaching what she had learned the week
before, from studying the Bible.
Then another rather amazing development took place. Bill Brown, who produced many films for Billy Graham,
along with his lovely wife Joan, would come to Maui several times a year on vacation and would
visit the small congregation church where Beverly was teaching.
"After being separated from my husband for several years the Lord performed another miracle,
and Billy also gave his life to Jesus, and we renewed our vows. We had many
wonderful years before Billy died. He's now in heaven waiting for me," she smiled.
"I had gone to the mainland with my sons to do a memorial for my husband and when I returned
home there were several phone messages waiting for me. One was from a large
resort hotel, here in West Maui, saying they wanted to start a Sunday morning
worship service, for tourists and locals, and was calling to ask if I would
like to organize and run it?
"The second call was from Bill Brown. He said he had just retired from the Billy Graham
organization and asked if there was anything he could do to help out with my
ministry. I knew both telephone calls had to be from the Lord."
For seven years
Beverly, along with Bill's assistance for three of those years, ran the hotel's
church service. Having preached to over 10,000 people, Beverly recently stepped
down from the pulpit to complete her book. She handed the chapel over to Pastor
Laki Ka'ahumanu, known as the great, great grandson of Queen Ka'ahumanu.
"Passing the Baton of Light," is an intriguing autobiography and can be ordered
at www.amazon.com; Barnes & Noble; or at your favorite bookstore.
You can hear my interview with Beverly Powers at
I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.
(c) ASSIST News Service www.assistnews.net