He is due to have serious surgery on Tuesday in Maui, Hawaii
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
MAUI, HAWAII (ANS – December 3, 2016) – William F. (Bill) Brown, former president of Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures, and the man behind the making of “The Hiding Place” movie, has request urgent prayer for upcoming surgery at the Maui Medical Center on Tuesday (December 6th).
Brown. 89, who now lives in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, with his wife, Joan Winmill Brown, a former top actress from London, England, has told the ASSIST News Service, “The surgery could mean me losing two toes on my right foot, also possibly losing my foot, or even my leg.”
He went on to say, “I would request prayer from my many friends for the surgery as I realize it is very serious.”
Brown added, paraphrasing the late black gospel singer, Ethel Waters, who sang at many Billy Graham’s crusades, “I know where I’m going and I’ve got my bags packed. If the Lord spares me, I’ll be able to tell my story, but if He takes me home, I’m ready.”
Bill Brown was hired by the BGEA’s Walter Smyth in 1952 to distribute and show Graham films in churches. While Bill was conducting a week’s premier showing of the film “Souls in Conflict” at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1954, Billy Graham brought over the beautiful star of the film, British actress Joan Winmill, a Harringay crusade convert.
Bill and Joan fell in love and were married in April 1955. After their marriage Bill directed citywide crusades, including London ‘66 and ‘67 and New York ‘69. In 1970, he became president of World Wide Pictures, producing some great films such “The Hiding Place” and “Joni”.
While I was working for the Sunday People newspaper in London, England, Bill arranged for me to interview Joni by phone and I wrote up her story for the paper, which for this British tabloid, was one of the first times it had featured such an evangelical story.
Each time he was in London, Bill Brown would make contact with me, and tell me he was praying for me as I worked in the difficult, and often sordid, world of the British tabloids.
We had some wonderful times together and we had quite a chuckle when I discovered that Joan, his wife, had once played Eva Braun, Adolf Hitler’s wife, in a West End Play. The three of us where in Essen, Germany, for Mr. Graham’s crusade there, and I took Joan to meet one of the German media team and told him, “I’d like you to introduce you to the lady who used to be Eva Braun!” Not surprisingly he looked totally bemused, especially as Eva Braun had died in the Berlin bunker with her husband in April, 1945.
Under Bill Brown’s supervision, the studios of World Wide Pictures, were built only a couple of blocks from NBC’s Western headquarters and the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, and lasted for many years until its close in 1988.
The greatest critical and popular success of his many movies was scored by “The Hiding Place,” a 1975 movie about Dutch Christians sheltering Jews during World War II. The $1.7-million film was based on a best-selling biography of Corrie ten Boom, who, at 83, appeared at the close of the film.
Bill once told me that when they showed the first part of the movie, Corrie said she thought they had made the Germans look “too bad” and so the team had to re-shoot some of the scenes.
But some other films, including “The Prodigal” (1983) and the last two, “Cry From the Mountain” (1986) and “Caught” (1987), garnered considerable praise, especially for the work of director James F. Collier, who also did “The Hiding Place.” He also made a movie called “No Longer Alone,” the story of his wife, which saw James Fox’s return to making films after a time as an evangelist with Navigator’s at Leeds University in the UK.
So, please pray for Bill Brown at this critical time in his life, and also for his dear wife, Joan Winmill Brown, who is also experiencing some serious health difficulties.
Photo captions: 1) Bill Brown. 2) Dan Wooding with Joan and Bill Brown some years ago. 3) Billy Graham with Corrie ten Boom. 4) Dan Wooding chats with Billy Graham in Essen, Germany.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria, West Africa, of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding, who then worked with the Sudan Interior Mission, now known as SIM. He now lives in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for some 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder/president of the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is also the author of some 45 books. He has a weekly radio show, Front Page Radio, on the KWVE Radio Network (www.kwve.com), and two TV shows, Windows on the World — with Garry Ansdell, and Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding, which are both carried on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv). You can write to Dan Wooding at email@example.com.
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