Verdugo Views: Pat Boone returns to Prayer Breakfast

Glendale's Prayer Breakfasts have spanned 50 years, and the speakers have ranged from unknowns to celebrities. One major celebrity was Pat Boone, who appeared at 1983's event.

Now, 30 years later, Boone is returning to help celebrate our 50th Prayer Breakfast.

The rock 'n' roll star grew up in Nashville, Tenn., and was student body president of his high school. He married Shirley Foley, daughter of country music star Red Foley.

Boone enrolled in a local college, planning to become a teacher, then transferred to a Texas college where he won a local talent show, thus earning him an appearance on Ted Mack's “Original Amateur Hour,” according to

This led to a yearlong tenure on Arthur Godfrey's “Talent Scouts,” which changed the course of his life. Boone enrolled at Columbia University in New York City while working on the Godfrey show, but his goal of teaching gave way to his steadily growing music career.

In 1954 he made his first recordings, and the next year, his version of Fats Domino's “Ain't That A Shame” became a No. 1 hit.

Boone's rendition of a song made famous by Nat King Cole, “I Almost Lost My Mind,” in 1956 was another No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts. Two years later, when he graduated magna cum laude from Columbia, he was a genuine rock 'n' roll star, appearing on the cover of TV Guide in his cap and gown, as noted on his website.

Boone's trademark white buck shoes, plus his great smile and clean-cut image, earned him a sponsorship deal from General Motors in the late 1950s. 

He succeeded Dinah Shore in singing “See the USA in your Chevrolet … America's the greatest land of all.”

Boone often declined to sing songs and take movie roles that didn't meet his standards. 

He told the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 11, 2010, that in one of his first movie roles he was to kiss his costar, Shirley Jones, but had to check with his wife first. 

He also turned down a role opposite Marilyn Monroe in 1963's “The Stripper.”

In the 1960s and '70s the Boone family toured as a gospel singing group and daughter Debby emerged as a star in her own right.

Her 1977 hit “You Light Up My Life,” was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a then-record 10 weeks, according to Wikipedia.

So, Pat Boone was a big draw for the 20th Prayer Breakfast in 1983; a record-breaking 1,100 people were in attendance.

Boone, as well known for his faith in Christianity as for his music, told the 1983 audience that belief in God and religion was ingrained in him at an early age, according to the Glendale News-Press, March 10, 1983.

Boone, one of the all-time top recording artists, and his wife Shirley live in the same house they bought when they moved to Beverly Hills in the early 1960s. Their daughters have given them 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The 50th Mayor's Prayer Breakfast will be March 21. 

For more information call (626) 429-2198.


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