composer, singer, actor
Birthplace: Brownsville, Texas
A former Rhodes Scholar and tenure-track professor at West Point, this unlikely hipster began making history in the 1970s by writing hit after blazing hit, including “Mornin' Comin' Down” (for Johnny Cash, 1970) and “Me and Bobby McGee” (for Janis Joplin, 1971). In addition to penning innumerable chart-toppers for others, Kris Kristofferson enjoyed a successful recording career of his own, solo as well as in duets with now ex-wife Rita Coolidge (they married 1973, divorced 1979) and, as part of The Highwaymen. Kristofferson has also acted in dozens of movies, including The Last Movie (1971), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), Lone Star (1996) and Planet of the Apes (2001). Kristofferson appeared in television in such miniseries as Amerika (1987) and other dramas and comedies.