Kris Kristofferson

An Air Force brat, Kris Kristofferson was born June 22, 1936, in Brownsville, Texas. He earned a degree in creative writing from Pomona College and studied literature at Oxford before heeding the family calling and joining the military. Later, however, Kristofferson gave up a teaching post at West Point to pursue songwriting.

A helicopter pilot, Kristofferson got Johnny Cash's attention by landing in Cash's yard to deliver some tapes. Cash scored a No. 1 hit with one of Kristofferson's tunes, and the songwriter soon became highly sought after, working with artists such as Janis Joplin and Willie Nelson.

After writing the music for and appearing in Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie (1971), Kristofferson attracted the notice of directors such as Martin Scorsese, Sam Peckinpah and John Sayles. Other Kristofferson credits include Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, A Star Is Born and Lone Star.