Jun. 22nd, 1936
Brownsville, Texas, USA
Guest TV Roles
Himself - Special Guest Star
Himself - Host
Himself - Guest
Himself - Guest
Kris Kristofferson's father was an 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. He ultimately joined the 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 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 'copter 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 went was voted 1970's 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 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.
- He was one of many names tossed around for the potential role of 'John Rambo' in _First Blood (1981)_. Some producers hoped it would kindle the interest of Kristofferson's friend 'Sam Peckinpah' (qv).
- Rhodes Scholar
- 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 (I)' (qv) as a promo for "The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea". 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' (qv), who was interviewed about their movie "Rollover".
- Became good friends with the late 'James Coburn (I)' (qv). They worked together on _Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)_ (qv), _Convoy (1978)_ (qv) and _Payback (1999/I)_ (qv). Coburn also sang some backup vocals on Kristofferson's album "Who's to Bless and Who's to Blame".
- Got his big break by landing a helicopter in 'Johnny Cash (I)' (qv)'s garden, then personally handing Cash tapes of songs that he had written himself.
- 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.
- He got the leading male role of "A Star is Born" (1976) after 'Elvis Presley' (qv) couldn't do it. Elvis has also recorded a song written by Kristofferson.
- Has been awarded an honorary Doctorate from Pomona College