Rollen Stewart

Rollen Stewart

Rollen Frederick Stewart (born May 20, 1944), also known as Rock 'n' Rollen and Rainbow Man, was a fixture in American sports culture best known for wearing a rainbow-colored afro-style wig and holding up signs reading "" at stadium sporting events around the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.

Apparently at first just in it for the publicity stunts, Stewart became a born again Christian obsessed with "getting the message out" via television.

His first major appearance was at the 1977 NBA Finals; by the time of the 1979 MLB All-Star Game, broadcasters actively tried to avoid showing him.cite news
title=Real action in '79 was outside the lines
author=J. Michael Kenyon
date=July 6 2001
publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Note: Article refers to 1984 Olympics, which were in Los Angeles, not Moscow.] He "appeared behind NFL goal posts, near Olympic medal stands, and even at the Augusta National Golf Club" strategically positioned for key shots of plays or athletes. Stewart's fame led to a Budweiser beer commercial and a Saturday Night Live parody sketch, where he was portrayed by Christopher Walken. [cite web
title=Season 15, Episode 11
publisher=SNL Transcripts

Stewart was briefly jailed by Moscow police at the 1980 Olympics. Other legal troubles followed. In the late 1980s, he began a string of stink bomb attacks. Targets included Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral, the Orange County Register, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and a Christian bookstore. The stated intent of an attempted attack at the American Music Awards was to show the public that "God thinks this stinks." [Gorightly, Adam, [ "Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Man"] . Retrieved on 2008-01-13]

Stewart was arrested in 1992 after a standoff in a California hotel during which he entered a vacant room with two men he was attempting to kidnap and surprised a chambermaid who then locked herself in the bathroom. Reportedly, Stewart believed that the Rapture was due to arrive in six days.cite news
title=Favorites for a fan's Hall of Fame
author=Jeff Gordon
date=September 3 2007
publisher=FOX Sports
] During the standoff, he threatened to shoot at airplanes taking off from nearby Los Angeles International Airport, and covered the hotel room windows with "John 3:16" placards.

Rollen is currently serving three consecutive life sentences in jail on kidnapping charges. He became eligible for parole in 2002, but was denied as recently as September 2005.cite news
title=What he preached, he didn't practice|author=
date=December 14 2005
publisher=Colorado Springs Gazette
] After this conviction, he was found guilty of four stink bomb attacks.

Stewart ran a blog until the time of his parole denial. He is the subject of a 1997 documentary, "Rainbow Man" by Sam Green.


* "End of the Rainbow" People Weekly. New York: Nov 30, 1992.Vol.38, Iss. 22; pg. 97 (703 word profile of Stewart)
* "Rockin' Rollen, A Fan Only of God, Takes a Message to Every Game" Adelson, Suzanne. People Weekly. New York: Feb 1, 1988.Vol.29, Iss. 4; pg. 45
* "Russians Meet Gate-Crasher" AP. New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Jul 22, 1980. pg. B.14 (226 word article on Stewart at Moscow Olympics)
* "Sports World Specials; Resiliency Under the Rainbow No Relief in Sight Striking Out Give Her Credit Punching Doesn't Pay" Jim Benagh. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Aug 18, 1980. p. C2 (10 paragraphs about Stewart and his rainbow wig)
* "Briefing" James F. Clarity & Warren Weaver Jr.. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Nov 27, 1985. p. B6 (4 paragraphs about Stewart, his wig, and his lawsuit for the right to hang his John 3:16 banner)


External links

* [ Straight Dope 1987 on Rollen]
* [ Straight Dope 1997 update]
* [ Review of "The Rainbow Man/John3:16"]
* Los Angeles Times May 19, 2008 [,0,538254.column]

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