KRIS KRISTOFFERSON

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON  
SINGER, SONGWRITER, ACTOR 

Kris Kristofferson is an Air Force Brat.  His father was an USAF Major General.  This was recently confirmed by the Air Force History Support Office Library: Vicky Crone, Librarian, Air Force History Support Office.  Library vicky.crone@pentagon.af.mil

He  graduated in 1954 from San Mateo HS in San Mateo, California.  It is unknown if he attended any schools overseas.

He has often mentioned being a military brat and it is mentioned on the liner notes of one of his albums that  he was: “born into a military family in Brownsville, Texas, in 1936.”

The following quote from Kristofferson is from an interview published in the Sept. 1991 issue of the magazine “The Progressive”, pp.35-38: “….I grew up in a military background. One grandfather was a colonel in the Army, had his eye put out with a spear in the Philippine insurrection. The other one, before he came to this country, was in the Swedish army. My father was major-general in the Air Force, served in WWII and Korea. The military was for me and my brother, you know, just a fact of life.  When I graduated I got my commission in the Army but got deferred to go over to Oxford [as a Rhodes   scholar]. Afterwards, I was a helicopter pilot in Germany….In 1965 I volunteered  for Vietnam–and was turned down. They told me I was going to be assigned to  West Point to teach English. I decided to get out and go to Nashville instead….”

Kris Kristofferson, a Hall of Fame singer-songwriter, actor, and political activist, was born in 1936 in Brownsville, Tex., just over the border from Matamoros, Mexico. He spoke  Spanish before English, and much of his music still carries the sentiments of the bordertowns. The son of an Air Force officer, Kristofferson spent his youth moving around the  country wherever his father was assigned, finally finishing high school in San Mateo, California.

This life-in-motion style has never left him. He has clocked well over a million miles on his tour bus since 1970, when his  songs, “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through  The Night,” “For The Good Times,” “Loving Her Was  Easier,” and “Why Me,” to name a few, made him sought performer. Kristofferson has toured several months a year for the last 20 years, most recently as one of The Highwaymen with longtime friends Willie Nelson, Johnny  Cash, and Waylon Jennings.

Kristofferson was a creative literature major at  Pomona College and received a Rhodes Scholarship in 1958. At  Oxford University, he studied William Blake, but Never abandoned his lifelong admiration of the down-home poet of country music, Hank Williams.

After a stint as an Army pilot, he declined a teaching post at West Point and moved to Nashville to pursue a writing career and a foothold in the country music scene. He worked various odd jobs, including janitor at Columbia Studios, bartender, and helicopter pilot ferrying workers and executives back and forth to the Gulf oil rigs.

Stardom arrived in 1970, when he received the Songwriter of the Year Award and his now-classic song “Sunday Morning Coming Down” won Country Music Song of the Year. He has since been inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of  Fame and his songs have been recorded by hundreds of major artists.

Kristofferson simultaneously launched an acting career, starring in his first major motion picture in 1971. His film credits include “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” “A Star is Born,” in which he co-starred with Barbara Streisand, and, most recently, the highly acclaimed independent 1996 film “Lone Star.” He received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of a declining rock superstar in “A Star is Born.”