|Date of Birth||23 March 1906, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA|
|Date of Death||1 November 1971, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (viral infection)|
|Birth Name||Richard Louis Evans|
Mini Bio (1)
Richard L. Evans is best known for his inspirational messages given in the long-running weekly radio program "Music and the Spoken Word" with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. As a General Authority of the Mormon Church, he was one of their most senior leaders.
Evans was the last child born to John A. Evans and Florence Neslen, for when he was only 10 weeks old his father died leaving a widow with nine children to rear. However, with determination and a scholarship, he sought higher education first at L.D.S. University and then at the University of Utah. Taking time away from university study, he served as a Mormon missionary in Great Britain from 1926 to 1929, where he acted as associate editor of the Mormon newspaper the "Millennial Star" under James E. Talmadge and Dr. John A. Widtsoe. In addition to gaining journalistic skills, he also polished his speaking talents through the experience of speaking in street meetings and even at the speaker's corner in Hyde Park, London. Returning to the University of Utah after his mission, he received his BA degree in 1931 and MA degree in 1932.
Evans became employed at KSL Radio in Salt Lake City as a staff announcer in 1930. This began his long association with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, for he announced the titles of compositions and gave station identification for the broadcast of programs that included hymns and choral works backed by The Tabernacle Organ. In time he began to include some short thoughts associated with the musical selections. These were well received and soon evolved into non-denominational inspirational "sermonettes" usually less than two minutes, about moral principles, the inter-relationships of people, and the proper approach to life. His messages were ecumenical in nature, pointing out that the differences between people are not as great as what they have in common. Selected messages appeared in a weekly syndicated newspaper column circulated nationally and were also published in a series of books. Evans was instrumental in having "Music and the Spoken Word" come to television in 1949. He also accompanied the Choir when it traveled to sing in concert halls worldwide, acting as the choir announcer and introducing and bridging the musical selections with warm commentary and humor.
Evan's other duties centered around church service. He became the managing editor of the Mormon periodical magazine, The Improvement Era, in April, 1935 and was sustained to a place within the First Council of Seventy on Oct. 7, 1938. Mormon president David O. McKay ordained him an Apostle in the Council of the Twelve on October 8, 1953. He narrated some short films such as "The Morning Breaks" (1964), Man's Search for Happiness (1964), and "Christmas On Temple Square" (1966). He became involved with the film Man's Search for Happiness (1964) because he was on the committee working on the Mormon Pavilion where it would appear at the New York World's Fair. He did some polishing on the script, making word or phrase changes. He also served as the president of Rotary International (1966-67).
Richard L. Evans would give over two thousand "Spoken Word" messages before his unexpected death in 1971, and although the program continues to this day (the world's longest-running continuous network broadcast) he is still fondly remembered for the legacy he left behind. Portions of his messages are still included in collections of famous quotations. His death was sudden, and he worked right up to the end. He was only sixty-five years old when he died in a hospital bed from a viral infection, just hours after listening to the pre-recorded Sunday morning broadcast of his last show. His message spoke of enduring to the end. He was mourned not only by Mormons, but also by the millions who listened regularly to his radio ministry.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Brian Greenhalgh