Kris Kristofferson's father was a United States Air Force general who pushed his son to a military career. Kris was a Golden Gloves boxer and went to Pomona College in California. From there, he earned a Rhodes scholarship to study literature at Oxford University. He ultimately joined the United States Army and achieved the rank of captain. He became a helicopter pilot, which served him well later. In 1965, he resigned his commission to pursue songwriting. He had just been assigned to become a teacher at USMA West Point. He got a job sweeping floors in Nashville studios. There he met Johnny Cash, who initially took some of his songs but ignored them. He was also working as a commercial helicopter pilot at the time. He got Cash's attention when he landed his helicopter in Cash's yard and gave him some more tapes. Cash then recorded Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down", which was voted the 1970 Song of the Year by the Country Music Association. Kris was noted for his heavy boozing. He lost his helicopter pilot job when he passed out at the controls, and his drinking ruined his marriage to singer Rita Coolidge, when he was reaching a bottle and half of Jack Daniels daily. He gave up alcohol in 1976. His acting career nose-dived after making Heaven's Gate (1980). In recent years, he has made a comeback with his musical and acting careers. He does say that he prefers his music, but says his children are his true legacy.IMDb Mini Biography By: John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
|Lisa Meyers||(19 February 1983 - present) 5 children|
|Rita Coolidge||(17 August 1973 - 26 June 1980) (divorced) 1 child|
|Frances Beer||(11 February 1961 - 15 August 1973) (divorced) 2 children|
Beard and long hair
Deep resonant voice
In June 1999, Kristofferson underwent elective heart bypass.
Attended Pomona College in Claremont, California, with a B.A. in Creative Literature; graduated in 1958.
Special guest at Roger Ebert's 4th annual Overlooked Film Festival in Champaign, Illinois in March 2002 where his film A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1998) was one of 14 neglected movies screened.
Has been awarded an honorary Doctorate from Pomona College
He got his start in the music business by landing a helicopter in Johnny Cash's backyard and presenting him with a song he had written. Cash went on to record the song
Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004.
Brother of Karen Kirschenbauer.
Father of Tracy Kristofferson and Kris Kristofferson (b. 1968) with Frances Beir. Casey Kristofferson (b. 1974) with Rita Coolidge. Jesse Turner Kristofferson (b. 1984), Jody Ray Kristofferson (b. 1985), Johnny Kristofferson (b. 1988), Kelly Marie Kristofferson (b. 1991) and Blake Cameron Kristofferson (b. 1994) with Lisa Meyers.
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985.
1970: Won the coveted Country Music Song of the Year Award for his song, "Sunday Morning Coming Down", as well as the Country Music Songwriter of the Year Award.
On an interview he did before his concert in Finland, he told that his original ancestry is Finnish.
Got his big break by landing a helicopter in Johnny Cash's garden, then personally handing Cash tapes of songs that he had written himself.
Among his personal heroes are Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus Christ, and Mohandas Gandhi.
Used to work as a commercial helicopter pilot.
Was a skilled boxer, rugby, and football player until a string of serious injuries forced him to quit.
Cameron Crowe posed as a student at Clairemont High School to get material for the screenplay for Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). The principal of Clairemont was not thrilled with the idea, but when he asked Crowe about musicians that he had met, he mentioned Kris Kristofferson. The principal was a big fan of Kristofferson and agreed to let Crowe on campus.
He is a former United States Army Rangers captain. He graduated Airborne School, Ranger School, and flight school, served in Germany, and volunteered for Vietnam as a helicopter pilot, but instead was offered a professor of English Literature position at USMA West Point. Disappointed that he was not allowed to fight in Vietnam, he resigned his position in 1965.
He was the first choice for the role of "The Driver" in Two-Lane Blacktop (1971).
The American Veteran Awards named him Veteran of the Year in 2002.
First grew a beard during a hospital stay. He kept it because it made him look older.
Wrote two tribute songs to his friend Sam Peckinpah. He called them "Sam's Song (Ask Any Working Girl)" and "One for the Money".
Became good friends with the late James Coburn. They worked together on Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), Convoy (1978) and Payback (1999/I). Coburn also sang some backup vocals on Kristofferson's album "Who's to Bless and Who's to Blame".
Close friend of Joan Baez.
It is speculated that either Kristofferson, Warren Beatty, Cat Stevens or Mick Jagger "inspired" the famous song "You're so Vain" by Carly Simon. Kristofferson doesn't think so himself, and said the following when an interviewer asked him about it: "It couldn't have been me, 'cause I've never flown in a Lear jet like that guy in the song.".
After seeing Kristofferson perform at the popular tavern The Troubadour in Los Angeles and his appearance in Cisco Pike (1972), Sam Peckinpah decided to cast him as Billy the Kid in Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973).
Tested for the part of Superman in Superman (1978).
His brother Kraigher Kristofferson is, like Kris, a veteran of the Armed Forces. Kraigher was a United States Navy fighter pilot and served in the Vietnam War.
One of the few male celebrities to have appeared as a model in both Playgirl and Playboy. The Playboy piece was especially daring, with Kristofferson posing with co-star Sarah Miles as a promo for The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea (1976). Kristofferson regretted it, and admitted he had been drunk and couldn't even remember doing it. He posed in Playgirl as a favor to his good friend Jane Fonda, who was interviewed about their movie Rollover (1981).
A couple of years after he got out of the army, Kristofferson joined the Tennessee National Guard. He flew helicopters.
When Kristofferson hosted the season finale of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) in 1976, the cast and crew reported that he was drunk, and were worried that he wouldn't be able to do it. Still, Kristofferson proved himself to be quite the functioning drunk, and the show went pretty well. Kristofferson has remarked on numerous occasions that his drinking was often a way to survive when performing, because he is pretty shy and does not have a great deal of confidence in himself.
He was asked to try out for the United States Special Forces, but didn't fancy it.
He was set to become a Major when he decided to quit the United States Army Rangers after almost five years.
A fitness fanatic for most of his life, he worked out rigorously up to the mid-1990s, running seven miles daily, worked out on a punching bag and rowing machine and swimming.
Is friends with singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. The two have also toured together. Kristofferson mentions Brown in his song "Eddie the Eunuch".
The Rhodes Scholarship, which Kristofferson won to study at Oxford University in England, is widely considered the world's most prestigious academic scholarship. Other notable Rhodes scholars include: Bill Clinton (the 42nd President of the United States), United States Secretary of State Dean Rusk, astronomer Edwin Hubble, film director Terrence Malick, feminist author and critic Naomi Wolf, and political adviser and commentator George Stephanopoulos.
I think between us, Bill Clinton and I have settled any lingering myths about the brilliance of Rhodes scholars.
The number-one rule of the road is never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself. You will break this rule, and you will be sorry.
(on Heaven's Gate (1980)) I was real surprised to see the critics line up on the side of the philistines so fast. To me, the film was about the American dream, and it shows one of the basic flaws in the dream - the idea that money is more important than people. I'll be proud of that movie as long as I'm in the business. It was a work of art. Michael Cimino, the director, says he's unrepentant and plans to sin again, and I hope he gets the chance.
(on the current state of America and the world) I remember getting this creepy feeling back when I was doing "Heaven's Gate" which was about the Cattleman's Association getting government backup to go in with mercenaries and kill a bunch of civilians. I remember thinking at the time that maybe there's always been a dark part of this American dream where money was more important than people. That's exactly what's going down now. The money involved in this Iraq reconstruction is shameless. It's right in your face and everyone can see it. I don't know if its apathy or if it's more a feeling of powerlessness. What can we do? They elected Bush without him really winning the election. The Supreme Court is stacked and we're fixing to stack it worse. All this destruction is done in our name. And the simple things that Bush keeps saying are so embarrassing. He says, "These are evil people who hate peace and hate freedom and that's why they're blowing themselves up." Christ.
(on Merle Haggard) When I started getting recognized, a lot of people saw me and Merle as antagonists, because of the nature of "Okie from Muskogee", "The Fightin' Side of Me" and some of the political stuff that I had done, I guess. That was never the case. As far as I'm concerned, he's the closest thing to Hank Williams walking the streets today.
Freedom is just another word: It seems to get truer the older I get. It makes me think about the time when my apartment got robbed and everything was gone and I was disowned by my family. I owed money to a hospital and I owed my wife five hundred a month for child support and I thought, "I'm losing my job." I hadn't any money, I hadn't anything going for me, but it was liberating. I was in this Evangeline Motel, like something out of "Psycho", a filthy place, just sitting there with this neon Jesus outside the door, in the swamps outside of Lafayette, Louisiana, and I thought, "Fuck. I'm on the bottom, can't go any lower" -- and from then on, man, I drove my car to the airport, left it there, and never went back to get it. Went to Nashville and called this friend of mine, Mickey Newberry, and told him I'd just got fired, and he said, "Great. Johnny Cash is shooting a new TV show. Come up, and we can pitch him some songs." The next moment, they cut three of my songs, and they were hits. I never had to go back to work again.
The desire to be fucked-up probably leaves you, but the desire to be high never does.
I was a slow starter. I mean, I grew up in the fifties, and, jeez, I wasn't even laid in high school. Looking back on it, I didn't know anything, which was kind of unfortunate for my first couple of wives. When I found out that girls like sex as much as guys, I was, for many years, feeling like that was my function. I mean, I wasn't as bad as Clinton, but I was led by the pecker.
Never give up, which is the lesson I learned from boxing. As soon as you learn to never give up, you have to learn the power and wisdom of unconditional surrender, and that one doesn't cancel out the other; they just exist as contradictions. The wisdom of it comes as you get older.
[on A Star Is Born (1976)] (Filming) It was like Ranger School.
I grew up in a time when people believed in duty, honor and country. My grandfathers were both officers. My father was a General in the Air Force. My brother and I were both in the Army. I've always felt a kinship with soldiers; I think it's possible to support the warrior and be against the war.
I think I'm a much better father as an older man than I was with my first kids. Occasionally, I have to yell at the little guys, but they don't take me seriously. 'Listen to the old guy,' they say. 'Isn't he great? He's mad.'
Recently, my oldest son, Kris, and I were coming out of an airport, and I saw this little kid I'd seen back at the gate with his mother, and I said, 'Look-that's the kid who was coming out of the gate with us.' And Kris said, 'Dad, you're getting old. You noticed the little kid and I was looking at his mother.
I should have been dead many times over. The way I used to fly attack-choppers I should have died. When I got numerous concussion from football I should have died. When I continued to box even after loosing my memory I should have died - they're trying to tear your head off for Christ sake. I've rolled cars many times, been drunk on a motorcycle too often. It's embarrassing now, sitting here, knowing you took all the good things for granted, that I didn't cherish my life a bit more.
(on Retired General Wesley Clark's bid for the Democratic nomination in 2004) Just when the world is being dragged into the death spiral of an unending cycle of violence by a visionless, coldblooded collection of think-tank warriors goose-stepping their way into the new millennium with a stunning lack of respect for human rights, the environment, or international law, along comes a man with the proven credentials of intelligence, integrity, and courage singularly equipped by his spirit and experience to lead us out of this mess. Don't listen to what the lying liars say about him; listen to what he says. Wesley Clark is a prayer answered.
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