Hearst family granddaughter explains new mission in life
Victoria Hearst was going to be a star — “singer, dancer, actress” — and appear on the big stages in the biggest of cities and show up at the most fashionable parties.
She had a role on “General Hospital” and appeared in two episodes of a Japanese television series about samurai.
That job had plenty of perks. She got to wear six-guns and fight ninjas. The challenge, she said, was that her Japanese was too good and she had to learn how to sound less fluent.
The granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, Victoria Hearst had homes in New York and Los Angeles and a vacation home in Ridgway.
What she never had, she said Thursday, was happiness.
Now, she has gone from aspiring secular entertainer to Christian impresario aiming to focus attention and money on Night Vision, a two-day Christian music festival in Olathe.
Hearst, 51, and members of Praise Him Ministries, which she founded, spoke about the project to an invited audience of about 50 at the Museum of Western Colorado in hopes of attracting contributors to Night Vision.
The event last year drew 12,000 to Corn Park in Olathe, and organizers expect the free event to attract that many or more people July 3-4, 2009.
“The thing has grown way beyond us,” said the Rev. Jimmie Church, general manager of Praise Him Ministries.
Hearst described Night Vision as “Country Jam for Christians,” a nondenominational event attracting some of the most popular acts in the Christian music industry.
Hearst said her path to Christianity was an unlikely one. She attended church regularly with her family as a child, but as she grew up she really wanted to be on “Lives of the Rich and Famous.”
“I never got a call from Robin Leach,” she said.
She did hear another call, however.
Disappointed in a relationship, she called a friend, Roma Bovard, in Ridgway, and said she was headed there in December 1995.
Bovard left her a woman’s devotional Bible and Hearst said she read it there, from Matthew to Revelations, and was overcome, saying the Sinner’s Prayer on her knees, she said.
“I knew about Jesus but I didn’t know Jesus,” she said.
She founded Praise Him Ministries, which four years ago started the Night Vision event in Ridgway, then moved to Olathe.
Hearst, who now calls western Colorado home, wants the event to grow, but said it needs more support.
Organizers sought no donations at the event, but distributed informational material to potential contributors.
Hearst, meanwhile, said she enjoys a strong relationship with her her sister Patty, who was famously kidnapped at age 19 in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
Patty Hearst Shaw, the mother of two daughters, is doing well, Victoria said.