Separation of Church And Screen, or what stars let their faith dictate their roles?

Actor Steven Hill, best known to TV audiences as D.A. Adam “Make the Deal” Schiff on “Law and Order,” was an observant Orthodox Jew. His insistence on observing Shabbos made him unable to perform Friday nights and Saturday matinees, which essentially ended his career on stage and lost him several film roles that were unwilling to conforming their shooting schedule to his needs.

Actress Jo Ann Pflug was replaced on the soap opera Rituals in her role as heiress Taylor Chapin Field von Platen after she became a born-again Christian and felt that her scenes with George Lazenby were too steamy.

Who else has lost booked (as opposed to speculative future) work as a result of religious belief running into secular contraints?

The obvious answer is that shit head Kirk Cameron

Well, it’s a little out of the scope of your question, but the great first baseman Hank Greenberg once famously refused to play games on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur of 1934, when the Tigers were in the middle of a hot pennant race. Some Detroit fans complained - according to Wikipedia, one said “Rosh Hashanah comes every year, but the Tigers haven’t won the pennant since 1909” - but a lot of folks approved of his principles.

If memory serves, the guy who was Mr Phelps before Peter Graves.

Sandy Koufax refused to pitch in the World Series on a Jewish Holiday, Yom Kuppur, in I think 1965.

Scientologist convert Isaac Hayes supposedly asked to released from his South Park contract due to them mocking Scientology in a ninth season episode.

You mean Steven Hill?

The one in the OP? :stuck_out_tongue:

How about musical artists? Didn’t Prince stop performing some of his older, steamier (dirty) songs when he got more into being a Jehovah’s Witness?

In music, Cat Stevens.

Neal McDonough and Mark Wahlberg, both practicing Catholics, have turned down roles for religious reasons (although considering some of the roles Wahlberg has accepted, the ones he turned down must have been pretty heinous!).

I strongly suspect Neil Diamond did The Jazz Singer as some kind of “Jewish identity” statement.

His son now says that he’d had a stroke at the time and one of his Scientology buddies must’ve spoke for him.

Michelle Meyrink, most famous for playing the love interest in 1985’s Real Genius, abandoned Hollywood and moved to British Columbia to study Zen Buddhism. Although that wasn’t so much a case of her career conflicting with her beliefs, as her deciding that showbiz was a bunch of bullshit and she had better things to do.

Ah a twofer nerd icon: she was also the love interest in Revenge of the Nerds opposite Anthony Edwards.

Jim Caviezel (of Person of Interest) is another Catholic who has turned down roles he objects to.

What’s Travolta’s role in “Battlefield Earth” count as?

Or, for more behind-the-scenes stuff, writer Jeffrey Scott, who has inserted scientology references and themes into at least of his works—such as the animated “Muppet Babies” and “Starchaser: The Legend of Orin.”

If there is a thread where I would have expected him to be mentioned for his role as Jesus of Nazareth it was this one. That’s a lot of lashes to put up with just for the money, so while the question of “losing work for religion” doesn’t apply, “taking a role for religion” would and is another way of letting faith dictate your roles.

Not sure if she ever lost any work over it but one of my life’s great disappointments is that Didi Conn refused to do anything nude due to religious reasons.

No, the OP specified “stars”.

The example that springs to my mind is Patrick McGoohan of The Prisoner fame. A catholic who took his marriage very seriously he ruled himself out of playing James Bond. Indeed throughout his career he avoided roles which required him to take part in love scenes or even kissing.


Probably somewhere between missionary work and self-flagellation.