Not many people can say they are a successful singer/songwriter. A performer that not only had their own tour but also performed with Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. A United States Army veteran that achieved Captain ranking. Boxer, Rhodes Scholar, Oxford graduate, rugby player, helicopter piolet, sought-after teacher, three-time Grammy winner, and Golden Globe Best Actor winner. However, Kris Kristofferson can say he achieved all of that and then some.
Kristofferson started his artistic journey at Pomona Collage with a degree in Arts after his achievements in rugby, football, track and field, and the fraternity Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, he earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. While there he was awarded for his boxing skills, played rugby, and began his songwriting career. Kristofferson partnered with Larry Parhes from Top Rank Records and recorded under the name Kris Carson. Together they attempted to target the Britch music scene. While this phase of his early music career did not work out, Kristofferson did graduate with a B. Phil degree in English Literature. Feeling the pressure from his military family after graduation, Kristofferson joined the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot and made it all the way to achieve the ranking of Captain. After his last tour ended in 1965, Kristofferson turned down an opportunity to teach a West Point. Instead he wanted to fallow in the footsteps of his idols Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash by moving to Nashville Tennessee to pursue his passions for music. A move that eventually payed off as he not only performed with his idols, but became friends with them.
Kristofferson’s success in Nashville was far from instant. He struggled for many years to support his family with odd jobs such as sweeping floors at Columbia Recording Studios and flying a commercial helicopter, on top of some failed recordings. He started achieving his remarkable success as a country songwriter in the early 1970’s. With chart-topping hits like “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Nights,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” and “For the Good Times,” he helped redefine country songwriting. He also found great success performing with his idol pals Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings. Together they recorded three albums as the Highwaymen. Now Kristofferson is up to more than three decades touring, three Grammys, and a grand total of 29 albums.
Not only is Kris Kristofferson a successful musician, but he has also had quite the acting career. He has appeared in many television series and more than 70 films. Some including “A Star Is Born,” the “Blade” trilogy, “Lone Star,” “A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries,” “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” “Blume In Love,” “Cisco Pike,” “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” “Fast Food Nation,” “Dreamer,” “The Jacket,” “Silver City,” “He’s Just Not That in To You,” and the “Dolphin Tale” movies. In 1977, he even won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in “A Star is Born.”
If that was not enough achievement for one person, Kristofferson has many other honors and awards. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Winner of the very prestigious Songwriter Hall of Fame Johnny Mercer Award. In 2002, he was honored with the American Veteran’s Association’s Veteran of the Year Award. He was then granted the Johnny Cash Visionary Award from Country Music Television in 2007. In 2009, BMI awarded him with the Icon Award. The T.J. Marten Foundation awarded him with the Frances Preston Music Industry Award in 2012. In 2014, he brought home the PEN Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence award, and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.
With all of his success, achievements, and honors you would think at 81 Kris Kristofferson would be done; but he is far from it. He currently enjoys to perform acoustic shows and continues his songwriting. You can even catch him on his current tour right now.