Weird History

The Tragic Life Of Rainbow Man: A Beloved Icon Who Became A Wanted Felon  

Rebecca High

Rollen Stewart, AKA Rainbow Man, became a well-known sports fan in the late 1970s and early '80s. A Spokane, WA, native, he was somewhat of a drifter in his early adulthood until he settled in as a marijuana farmer. But his free-loving, hippie-style disposition morphed into something much darker later in life, as this video shows.

In the late '70s, Stewart converted to Christianity and decided the quiet pot-farming life was not for him. He set out to spread his new-found religion, donning a rainbow wig and shirt emblazoned with a Bible verse, John 3:16. He drove around the country attending various sporting events, attempting to get attention and spread his religious fervor. His methods worked, and Stewart was so giddy about the attention that he headed to Los Angeles to try his hand at acting. He was unsuccessful, though, and soon hit the road again.

Throughout the 1980s, Rainbow Man became a recognizable figure and was often televised. He didn't discriminate against sports, and could be seen at football, baseball, and basketball games alike. For a few years, he enjoyed his success and managed to survive on his charisma and persona. Things took a grim turn, however, when Stewart began getting more aggressive for attention.

Throwing stink bombs at major sporting events and minor skirmishes with authorities eventually turned into an attempted kidnapping and a multi-hour standoff with police in Los Angeles. As a result, the Rainbow Man was put behind bars with three consecutive life sentences. To see the rest of Stewart's rise and fall from the rainbow, watch the video below.