The Rainbow Man
By Ed Driscoll · July 23, 2004 09:43 PM · Run To Daylight
While I was at the gym today, one of the TVs in front of the treadmills had ESPN on, but with no sound. At one point, they did a segment on Rollen Stewart. While the name probably won't ring a bell, the image will: anybody who watched professional sports in the late 1970s and early 1980s will remember seeing a guy with an enormous rainbow-painted fake Afro and a sign that read JOHN 3:16.
That was Stewart, who's lead a life far stranger than his antics at football games. This biography matches almost indentically to the images that ESPN was displaying today, which included this bizarre, tragic ending:
All of this strange behavior finally came to a head in late September of '92, when Rockin' Rollen was arrested after holding a maid hostage in the Hyatt Hotel next to Los Angeles International Airport. Rollen--according to the Sept 23rd LA Times article--held the police at bay with threats that he had a bomb. When the standoff continued well into the evening police officers used what they called "Flash-bang" grenades to stun a wigless Rainbow Man and storm the seventh room floor where he was holding siege. A 38 year old house keeper was found un-injured after having locked herself in the bathroom. The police officers apparently decided to make their move after Rollen threatened to fire a pistol at planes landing at the airport. A few hours after the incident, as the police were driving Rollen away, reporters asked him why he had done it.Naturally, in this Rupert Pupkin/Travis Bickle world we live in, somebody whose behavior is this nuts is prime fodder for a documentary film. And in 1997, The Rainbow Man/John 3:16 was released--and is now on DVD.
Why am I posting this? No reason, except having Googled Stewart's bio to discover who the Rainbow Man was after watching a silent broadcast of ESPN, I figured I might as well share the results.
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