One of the many remarkable honors presented at the 2022 Academy Awards stood out for its poignant homage. Jessica Chastain received Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Tammy Faye Messner in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, a biographical drama. As she started her acceptance speech for her first Oscar, the actress grew emotional as she discussed the film’s inspiration. She remarked that her character’s extreme deeds of love inspired her at a time when the globe was in upheaval.
The 45-year-old explained:
“Tammy comes to mind at moments like this. We’ve spoken a lot about love tonight. And I’m inspired by her compassion, which I view as a guiding principle that drives us forward and binds us all in the desire to be accepted for who we are, who we love, and to live a life free of fear of violence or terror.”
The Oscars were held in the Dolby Theatre again in 2022, with hosts Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes, and Amy Schumer. Eight of the 23 prizes were not given live as part of the Academy’s attempts to increase viewership after last year’s lowest rating.
What happened to Tammy Faye Messner?
Tammy Faye Messner, a former preacher, and singer who co-hosted several television shows with her then-husband Jim Bakker, passed away on July 20, 2007, at her home in Kansas City. Her death was caused by colon cancer that had spread to her lungs. According to the family’s request for a delayed announcement, CNN’s Larry King revealed her death the following day.
A day before her death, Tammy Faye Messner appeared on his program, Larry King Live. During the program, she disclosed that she weighed just 65 pounds and was unable to swallow food. When King revealed the singer’s death on his program, he mentioned her desires, emphasizing that she wanted her death to be a celebration:
“She desired a celebration. They plan to have a party in Palm Springs, California, in two to three weeks. Her pals will be invited. And she wanted it to be a party. She died quietly. Anyone who watched her on our program this week knew she wasn’t going to last long.”
Tammy Faye Messner was married to Jim Bakker for 30 years until divorcing him in 1992 when he was incarcerated for fraud and conspiracy. In 1993, she married contractor Roe Messner.
Bakker remarked about the death of his ex-wife:
“The news of Tammy Faye’s death has severely grieved our family. She spent her life in the spirit of the song she wrote, ‘If Life Hands You a Lemon, Make Lemonade.’ My heart hurts for Jamie Charles and Tammy Sue, my two children who adored their mother. They both informed me that their mother was so full of life that it is difficult to imagine she is no longer with them.”
Messner had colon cancer surgery in 1996. However, she reported in 2004 that cancer had progressed to her lungs. In 2007, she said that physicians had given up on treating her. Messner released more than 25 albums and authored many books throughout her lifetime. Despite her disease, she told King on his program that she trusted in her religion and asked physicians not to tell her how much time she had left.
“I’d want to express how much I sincerely love and care about you, and how much I hope to see you in heaven someday. I want you to be happy. I want you to be happy.”
The story of Tammy Faye Messner’s ascent, collapse, and redemption is told in Michael Showalter’s film The Eyes of Tammy Faye. The crowd and viewers paid their respects to Messner as Chastain paid tribute to him. When asked whether she had any words for the supporters, Messner replied: