Edit
Willie Nelson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (29) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 30 April 1933Abbott, Texas, USA
Birth NameWillie Hugh Nelson
Nicknames Red Headed Stranger
The Ambassador to Weedville
Shotgun Willie
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

This versatile, eclectic, rather wanderlust country crossover star known for his classic ballads ("Always On My Mind"), autobiographical road songs ("On the Road Again") and catchy rhythms ("Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys") started out life as Willie Hugh Nelson on April 30, 1933, in Depression-era Abbot, Texas. After his mother abandoned the family and his father died, he and sister Bobbie Lee were raised by gospel-singing grandparents. Working in the cotton fields, Willie was handed his first guitar at age six and within a short time was writing woeful country songs and playing in polka bands. During his teenage years he played at high school dances and honky-tonks. He also worked for a local radio station and by graduation time he had become a DJ with his own radio show. Briefly serving a stint with the Air Force (discharged because of a bad back, which would plague him throughout his life), he sold his first song called "No Place For Me" while getting by with menial jobs as a janitor and door-to-door Bible salesman. Married in 1952 to a full-blooded Cherokee, he and first wife Martha had two children. He initially came to be known in Nashville for selling his songs to well-established country artists such as Patsy Cline ("Crazy"), Faron Young ("Hello Walls") and Ray Price ("Night Life"). In 1962 he recorded a successful duet with singer Shirley Collie, whom he would later take as his second wife, but his career didn't progress despite joining the Grand 'Ol Opry. In the early 1970s, after extensive touring with his band (which included sister Bobbie on the piano) and experiencing a number of career downswings, he started performing and recording his own songs instead of selling them to others. Two of his albums, "Shotgun Willie" and "Phases and Stages", helped him gain some stature. In 1975 it all came together with the album "Red-Headed Stranger", which would become the top-selling country music album in history and propel him into the country music stratosphere. His offbeat phrasing, distinctive nasal tones and leathery, bewhiskered hippie-styled looks set a new standard for "outlaw" country music. Around 1978 Willie showed himself to be a loose and natural presence in front of the camera, thus launching a film career. He had roles in several movies, his first opposite Robert Redford and Jane Fonda in The Electric Horseman (1979). His took to leading roles as a country music star in Honeysuckle Rose (1980), which would include a number of his songs on the soundtrack. He played opposite James Caan and Tuesday Weld in Thief (1981) and a legendary outlaw in the western Barbarosa (1982). In the movie Red Headed Stranger (1986), which was adapted from his hit 1975 album, he played a preacher, and he teamed up with pal Kris Kristofferson as a pair of country singers in Songwriter (1984). He and pal Kristofferson went on to form The Highwaymen with the late Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings and he successfully recorded and toured with the group for a number of years. They also teamed up to remake the classic western Stagecoach (1939) as a TV movie (Stagecoach (1986)). As a unique song stylist, the bearded, braided-haired, bandanna-wearing non-conformist took a number of non-country standards and made them his own, including Elvis Presley's "You Were Always on My Mind" and Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind." He happily married fourth wife Ann-Marie in 1991 and has survived more hard times in recent years, including a $16.7-million debt to the IRS and the suicide of one of his sons, Billy. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, Nelson received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (4)

Annie D'Angelo (16 September 1991 - present) (2 children)
Constance Jean "Connie" Koepke (30 April 1972 - 1988) (divorced) (2 children)
Shirley Collie (12 January 1963 - 1971)
Martha Jewel Matthews (27 October 1952 - 1960) (divorced) (3 children)

Trade Mark (5)

Long red hair (usually braided into a ponytail)
Slow, clipped, manner of singing
Often wears a Cowboy hat or a Bandana
Texas Accent
His Beard

Trivia (29)

His character of Billy "Catch" Pooler in the 1997 movie Gone Fishin' (1997) was inspired by a real person, Loren "Totch" Brown of Chokoloskee, Florida. "Totch" had a small role in the 1958 movie Wind Across the Everglades (1958), portraying "One-Note" and acting under the name Totch Brown.
Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993.
In addition to being a successful country singer, he is also a songwriter and wrote hits for many other singers, including "Crazy" for Patsy Cline.
He was a member of Ray Price's Cherokee Cowboys during the fifties.
Attended Baylor University for one year
Toby Keith asked if he wanted to record a duet with him. Willie agreed after simply hearing the title of the song without even reading the lyrics: "Whiskey For My Men, Beer For My Horses".
One of the three "outlaws" of country music, named because of their wild personalities, free spirits, and liberal politics. The other two are Merle Haggard and the late Waylon Jennings.
There is a guest character named after him in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000) (titled "The Shaving").
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001.
When the IRS seized his possessions to sell at auction to try and collect money to pay his tax debt, many of Willie's fans bought his stuff and then gave it back to him. (It's been said that the fans did this as a way of saying thank you for all the free concerts Nelson performed in support of Farm Aid). The only major possessions not seized by the IRS was Willie's guitar and his tour bus so he could earn a living.
He was the subject of the Toby Keith song "I'll Never Smoke Weed with Willie Again".
Formed the 1980s country music supergroup "The Highwaymen" with Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson.
He was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in March 2002 in Austin, Texas.
Son of Myrtle Greenhaw and Ira Nelson.
Children: Lana Nelson (b. November 11, 1953), Susie (b. May 23, 1956) and Billy (born September 16, 1958 who died in 1991), with Martha Matthews; Paula Nelson (Paula Carlene) (b. 1959) and Amy Nelson (Amy Lee) (b. July 6, 1973), with Connie Koepke; Lukas Nelson (Lukas Autry) (b. December 25, 1988) and Micah Nelson (Jacob Micah) (b. May 24, 1990), with Annie D'Angelo.
Was raised by his paternal grandparents: William Alfred Nelson and Nancy Elizabeth Smothers.
His company, Willie Nelson Biodiesel, markets biodiesel biofuel to truck stops.
Was considered for the role of Red Webster in Road House (1989).
Father of Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson from his marriage to Annie D'Angelo.
Owns a selection of about 15 guitars, but the one he plays mostly on tour, is his Martin acoustic which he refers to as "Trigger," named after Roy Rogers's horse.
Willie did a duet with Ray Charles called "Seven Spanish Angels", in 1985. it was on the Billboard Country Hit Chart for twelve weeks. with one week as number 1.
Sister Bobby Nelson is a pianist.
Willie's eco-friendly tour bus is called the "Honeysuckle Rose IV" and runs on a variety of biofuels.
Willie's favorite guitar player is Django Reinhardt and he chose his 1969 Martin N-20 acoustic based on its tonal similarities to Reinhardt's guitar. Willie purchased his instrument unseen for $750 and due to its ascendancy into legendary status over the years, the Martin company issued a special limited edition line of Willie Nelson signature models in 1999.
Because Willie's favorite Martin classical acoustic guitar never had a scratch plate, his persistent use of a pick for over 30 years has worn a gaping hole through his instrument's body. Further defacement of the wooden body was caused by Willie's insistence that friends and associates inscribe their autographs on his guitar using a ball-point pen. Some of the numerous signatures collected over the years include, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Gene Autry Leon Russell, Roger Miller, along with various football coaches and lawyers, etc.
Willie and his nephew, Freddy Fletcher, will become co-owners of the new Austin City Limits (1975) studio and nightclub. [December 2006]
Release of the book, "Willie Nelson: The Outlaw" by Graeme Thomson. [January 2006]
Counts Frank Sinatra among his all-time favorite singers.
Performed at the 1994 wedding reception of Microsoft's Bill Gates and Melinda Gates in Lanai, Hawaii.

Personal Quotes (3)

Waylon Jennings once said that if everybody got up in the morning and masturbated, there wouldn't be no wars. I am not in favor of that as much as I am of pot. They should start off every morning summit with a puff or maybe just pump a little into the air conditioner. In the future, I would like to be able to push a switch and have pot released into every household all over the world.
Three chords and the truth - that's what a country song is.
I think most art comes out of poverty and hard times.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page