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Duvall learned to preach from fiery `Happy Pastor'

Published: Sunday, Feb. 8 1998 12:00 a.m. MST

When Robert Duvall was looking to find a fiery minister to help him play "The Apostle," people said go see the Rev. Paul Baggett, the Happy Pastor.

"Somebody once told me I preach like I got yellowjackets up my legs," says Baggett, who has preached at the same church in Millersville, Tenn., for 20 years. "Why am I the `Happy Preacher'? It's the joy of Jesus. It's recognizing I've got a place in heaven."Duvall didn't model his character, Sonny Dewey, on Baggett, but he learned plenty that helped him capture the spirit of his flawed but goodhearted character.

"Many of the people I met doing research were the most spiritual beings I have ever known," said Duvall, who followed Baggett on the road for a couple of weeks on the revival circuit.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Birthdays: For Sunday, Feb. 8

Actor Jack Lemmon 73

ABC News anchor Ted Koppel 58

Actor Nick Nolte 57

Comic Robert Klein 56

Actress Mary Steenburgen 45

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