Jun. 22nd, 1936
Brownsville, Texas, USA
Guest TV Roles
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.
- Favorite actors are 'William Holden (I)' (qv), 'Robert Ryan (I)' (qv) and 'Gregory Peck' (qv).
- He is a former United States Army Rangers captain. He graduated Airborne School, Ranger School and flight school, served in Germany, 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.
- After seeing Kristofferson perform at the popular tavern The Troubadour in Los Angeles and his appearance in _Cisco Pike (1972)_ (qv), Sam Peckinpah decided to cast him as Billy the Kid in _Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)_ (qv).
- 'Cameron Crowe (I)' (qv) posed as a student at Clairemont High School to get material for the screenplay for _Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)_ (qv). 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 principle was a big fan of Kristofferson and agreed to let Crowe on campus.
- First grew a beard during a hospital stay. He kept it because it made him look older.
- 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.
- 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".
- He is a good friend of 'Muhammad Ali (I)' (qv) and 'Willie Nelson' (qv). He was also a very good friend of the late Johnny Cash.