Born in Buena Vista County, Iowa, Anderson was raised by a godly grandmother and father following the death of his mother shortly after childbirth. In 1938 he married Doris Jones, known worldwide as “Mrs. A,” who survives.
Anderson attended Wheaton and Trinity colleges, and was licensed to the ministry by the Evangelical Free Church. He pastored in Isle, Minnesota, and later in Newman Grove, Nebraska.
In the early 1940s he got involved in the newly-formed ministry Youth For Christ, which was founded in Winona Lake, Indiana, by Billy Graham and others, and Anderson became the first full-time editor of the YFC magazine, which now is “Campus Life” magazine, published by Christianity Today, Inc.
Through YFC he met Bob Pierce, who invited him to China in 1948, where the two preached to tens of thousands of young people in more than a dozen cities. A short documentary film of that trip was produced, which prompted Anderson to write a book entitled “This Way to the Harvest.” Shortly after the trip, Pierce founded World Vision and Anderson became connected to Baptista Films where he wrote and directed his first dramatic films.
In 1949 his YFC friends encouraged him to establish his own Christian film ministry so he moved to Muskegon, Michigan, and launched Gospel Films. Anderson wrote and produced at least one new film each year through 1960.
With a growing desire to produce films beyond North America, Anderson moved to Winona Lake, Indiana, in December of 1960 to establish Ken Anderson Films, which has now produced more than 200 Christian films, including original dramas in many countries around the world.
One of his best-known is “Pilgrim’s Progress,” produced in 1977, which featured actor Liam Neeson in his first screen role.
Anderson established International Films in the mid-1960s to promote international productions, and in 1991 he founded InterComm to continue the international version of Ken Anderson Films.
Anderson traveled around the world many times, ministering and working in nearly 100 countries. In 1975 he was invited by Dr. John Haggai to teach audiovisual evangelism and journalism to national Christian leaders at training centers in Singapore, Maui, and Bogota, Colombia.
Anderson’s writing career spanned seven decades. He published 77 books, including “Where to Find It in the Bible,” published in 1996 by Thomas Nelson Publishing, which has now sold more than four million copies.
A lifelong member of the Gideon International Bible Ministry, Anderson purchased a farm near Claypool, Indiana, which was featured in his film “Toby’s Treehouse,” among others. The farm later became a retreat and camping center for Christian groups.
In addition to his wife, Anderson is survived by seven children, 13 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at the Winona Lake Presbyterian Church in Winona Lake, Indiana.