Bloody actor causes uproarAll Lee Backhaus wanted to do was take a shower. At the time, he had no way of knowing that it would trigger a media frenzy. To back up …
By: By Al Edenloff, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — All Lee Backhaus wanted to do was take a shower.
At the time, he had no way of knowing that it would trigger a media frenzy.
To back up …
Backhaus played the part of Jesus in the annual outdoor Passion Drama of Easter organized by Zion and Good Shepherd Lutheran churches.
The part required him to dress for his role, complete with fake blood.
After completing his acting assignment in the March 30 production, he headed over to his health club, Racquetball Plus, to take a quick shower. He told the manager ahead of time that he’d be coming over still in costume so they’d know what to expect.
However, the message didn’t get passed along to the evening manager and the sight of a bloody bearded man showing up at the health club prompted a concerned call to police.
Alexandria police officers arrived and after talking with Backhaus, quickly realized he wasn’t a threat or even injured.
The story, however, was reported on KSAX-TV and quickly spread from there.
It was picked up by The Associated Press and used by news agencies throughout the country.
Headlines reported, “Cops called after ‘Jesus’ showers at gym,” “Bloody Jesus scares health club employee,” and “Passion play prompts police call.”
A Web site in The Netherlands even picked up the story and carried the headline, “Jezus neemt douche in fitness; Politie rukt uit.” Rough translation: Jesus takes shower in gym; police tipped off.”
For Backhaus, all the attention has been a tad overwhelming and he’s had to take a lot of ribbing. One example: He received a card from a fellow 1973 Alexandria graduate whom he hadn’t heard from in years kidding him about the incident.
Through it all, Backhaus has kept a sense of humor.
“It’s been a little bit crazy,” Backhaus said. “I keep telling people that I’m the only person I know that can put on a resume that I was almost arrested for playing Jesus.”
But there is a silver lining to the media firestorm:
“Any ink is good ink for the church and for the Passion Drama,” Backhaus said.
Al Edenloff is a reporter at the Alexandria (Minn.) Echo Press, which is owned by
Forum Communications Co.