Are There (Or Have There Ever Been) Priests Or Nuns Who Are Actors As A Profession.......

One hears of priests being archeologists, etc., so I just wondered if the acting profession is considered a worthwhile endeavor to be supported by the church.



The show Falcon Crest had a priest who played a priest. Googling googling…

Bob Curtis. Apparently it was the only show he ever did.

No longer active in show business, but Mother Dolores Hicks of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Connecticut acted under the name Dolores Hart before taking her vows. Her biggest profile role was in the Elvis movie Loving You. Though now cloistered she is still a voting member of the Academy.

Peter Boyle (Young Frankenstein, Everybody Loves Raymond, many other credits) was a monk at a monastery in Philadelphia for three years in the late 1950s. He left to join the Navy.

On the non-professional level, I know that there has been a production of the low-rent musical comedy Nunsense that featured real nuns in the cast.

Spencer Tracy and Gabriel Byrne had also studied for the priesthood.

OP, are you looking for Roman Catholic priests only?

Fred Rogers was an ordained minister. As was Jeff Smith (the Frugal Gourmet).

Also, there was an album of piano jazz on Concord Records by Fr. Tom Vaughn (an ordained Episcopal priest).

Yep, Roman Catholic priests and/or nuns.

Actually IN the acting profession in addition to their priest/nun jobs.


Nuns take vows of poverty and obedience. That means they live in a sort of a turn of the millennium (the one before this one) hippy commune of shared responsibilities and resources. Priests don’t they can have almost any career – archeologist, historian, military chaplain, doctor, scientist (yes, that’s a little ironic, but not very). Nuns and monks can’t, they do what the head of their convent/abbey tells them to do, under the general auspices of their order’s charter. Yes, I’d heard of the Singing Nun, and I remember the British nun who gave art analysis. But those were more publicity stunts by their order using their innate talents – they don’t really get to focus on a career, invest in it, save up their earnings for future opportunities, audition, etc. Maybe a nun once or twice appeared in a film or on TV, but it’s going to be hard to find many actress nuns.

These responsibilities include teachers, nurses and administrators in church-owned institutions outside the convent.

Who was the nun that had the art show on PBS?

Does that count?

Sister Wendy, I think.

I’d heard she was an Anglican nun, but Wikipedia associates her with two Roman Catholic orders, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Carmelites. More of a scholar than a nun, I’d say.

What is the distinction between a scholarly nun and regular nun? It’s not clear to me, as I’m utterly unfamiliar with nuns in general.

Twenty bucks, same as downtown.

Lol!! :smiley:

Pope John Paul II did some acting when he was a university student in Poland, before WWII broke out.

Jackie Mason was a Rabbi for three years before resigning to pursue comedy.

That will vary greatly from one order to another. Some orders try to shut out the outside world as much as possible to focus on their contemplations, while others have a much more outreach-oriented view. All will take vows of some sort, but they’re not all the same vows.

Since so many priests and nuns are teachers I’m sure that some are acting teachers in high schools at least. That would sorta kinda be “professional”.

Here’s a priest who sort of qualifies. William O’Malley.

Not quite actors, but the Mission Singers(aka The Monfort Mission) were actually a group of folk-singing priests who were signed to a real record contract and made several albums.

Priests take vows of poverty and obedience, too, don’t they? To pursue another profession, and to accumulate earnings personally, wouldn’t a priest have to have gotten permission from some cognizant bishop?

I must stop posting when drunk. I meant to type that she’s more of a scholar than an actor. She narrated documentaries about art; she didn’t portray a character.

According to his imdb listing, Anthony Perkins