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 wrote the song "Me and Bobbie (later Bobby) McGee" which Janis Joplin recorded. The song was a hit for Roger Miller in 1969, who started recording it even before Kristofferson was done writing it.
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
A young Kris Kristofferson can be seen on one of of his album covers in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976).
Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004.
Brother of Karen Kirschenbauer.
Father of Tracy Kristofferson (b1962) and Kris Kristofferson (b. 1968) with Frances Beir. Daughter Casey Kristofferson (b. 1974) Heather Lynn Kristofferson born 1977 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 Marie Meyers.
Was a member of The Highwaymen with fellow country music stars Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
He got the leading male role of A Star Is Born (1976) after Elvis Presley couldn't do it. Elvis has also recorded a song written by Kristofferson.
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.
Inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame on March 10, 2006 in Austin, Texas. The other inductees were Matthew McConaughey, JoBeth Williams, Cybill Shepherd and Lyle Lovett.
On an interview he did before his concert in Finland, he told that his original ancestry is Finnish.
He was going to star as the lead in Hanover Street (1979), but dropped out to mount a concert tour instead. Harrison Ford got the part.
Among his personal heroes are Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus Christ, and Mohandas Gandhi.
Favorite actors are William Holden, Robert Ryan and Gregory Peck.
Used to work as a commercial helicopter pilot.
He is a good friend of Muhammad Ali and Willie Nelson. He was also a very good friend of the late Johnny Cash.
Was a skilled boxer, rugby, and football player until a string of serious injuries forced him to quit.
As a kid, his heroes were Hank Williams and Rocky Graziano.
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). 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).
Played football with Burt Reynolds in preparation for Semi-Tough (1977). Both men had been outstanding footballers in college - Reynolds almost turned pro.
Tested for the part of Superman in Superman (1978).
He was one of many names tossed around for the potential role of John Rambo in First Blood (1982). Some producers hoped it would kindle the interest of Kristofferson's friend Sam Peckinpah.
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.
Friends with Jeff Bridges and fellow Texan Tommy Lee Jones. Was also friends with the late Warren Oates.
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.
His paternal grandparents were Swedish. His mother had English, Scots-Irish, German, Swiss-German, and Dutch ancestry.
He and his second wife Rita Coolidge were one of three married couples to make guest appearances in The Muppet Show (1976). The other two were Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and Robert Shields and Lorene Yarnell Jansson.
In 2013 he admitted he has suffered from short-term memory loss for several years. He was also diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease that year, although it was later revealed to be a misdiagnosis.
He did not talk to his mother for 25 years.
He never had an acting lesson.