June 22, 2024

Kris Kristofferson by Fans, for Fans

In appreciation of the Silver Tongued Devil

Kris Kristofferson – Bio

The Timeline on the Official Website gives an overview.


Born22 June 1936
FatherFather Henry Kristoffer Kristofferson
MotherMary Ann nee Ashbrook


Kris had a comfortable childhood materially. Henry Kristofferson’s position in the air force meant the family moved a lot while the children were growing up.  Later, they settled in California, later still, Henry Kristofferson retired from the Air Force as a Major General but continued to fly commercially, then for an airline.

Being a child in a military family, Kris has referred to himself as an “Army Brat”. Kris was born close to the Mexican border. He witnessed inequalites based on ethnicity, but his liberal mother encouraged him to treat all people equally, especially the local Mexicans, and exposed him to the vibrant music in the region at parades and carnivals.  Kris speaks fluent Spanish.  He listened to music and became a fan of Hank Williams, who he has referenced in both his interviews and concerts.   The family often moved to different bases because of this father’s position. Kris starts one of his interviews (available on DVD) by saying, “I was an army brat.” He wrote his first song (I Hate Your Ugly Face) when he was 11.

Brownsville Texas

Brownsville was Best

A 2013 interview by Huston Press quotes Kris as saying, “Growing up in Brownsville was the best thing I remember of my life” and “to me it was bare feet and dirt roads and good people” Pic is CC with Lic & source.


After graduating from San Mateo High School, he enrolled in Pomona College, California, in 1954.  Kris said, in an interview for the college mag,  that he chose this school because it was the only one that he applied to that let him play football.  He had no real academic goals but loved sporting activities. Young Kris performed well in rugby, football, track and field.  Under pressure to choose a career,  he considered teaching but wasn’t sure.  His aspiration to become an author was growing.

Pomona College

After graduating from Pomona College in 1958 …….

…. Kris returned with Johnny Cash in 1972.


Kris spent time in England.  He earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, and while there he was awarded his Blue for boxing, started writing and pitching songs, he has said in many interviews, that the works of the poet, William Blake, awoke something in him.  Blake valued commitment and personal freedom.  In the Pomona College mag interview by Michael Balchunas, Kris is quoted as saying,  “I studied his (Blake’s) commitment to being an artist, to not being enslaved to another man’s system.”

Military Life

Kris Kristofferson was born into the military.  Both grandfathers and his own father were military officers, so after achieving his master’s degree at Oxford, it was Kris’ turn.  He was trained at flight school in Fort Rucker, Alabama, and at Airbourne Ranger school. He became a skilled helicopter pilot and was stationed in West Germany.  By 1965 and the end of his tour he was a Captain in the US Army.  Kris had been writing songs and had put a band together while stationed abroad.  On returning he was offered a teaching post at West Point, but he was becoming his own man.  Throwing caution to the wind, he defied his family and took the harsher path, the hazardous road to Nashville.

Early musical interest

Young Kris was a Hank Williams fan.  His explored writing at college and developed this further while studying at Oxford University.  He recorded for Top Rank Records under the name Kris Carson, under the management of Larry Parnes.  He continued writing songs while stationed in West Germany and formed a band.

References: Picture from Amazon cd cover graphic, Silver Tongued Devil and I.  Used for review, educationand to promote sales for the artist through the official Amazon site.  I own this cd  http://www.pomona.edu/Magazine/pcmwin04/FSkristofferson.shtml Rhodes Scholars, Oxford, and the Creation of an American Elite By Thomas J. Schaeper, Kathleen Schaeper http://www.metacritic.com/person/kris-kristofferson?filter-options=movies

5 thoughts on “Kris Kristofferson – Bio

  1. I Met Kris Briefly [Yrs Ago]… In Our Little Bavarian Village @ The Foot Of The Cascade Mts /Leavenworth WA… I Was Engrossed-Looking Nativity Sets From Other Counties…Eventually When I Turned Around >There He Was…Like God Dropped Him Straight Out Of Heaven w/That Unmistakably Handsome Face & His Big Warm Smile…Charisma Was Huge…When He Said: *I Like Your Hat…I Was Putty…It’s Still My Fav Hat -I Think Of Him Every Time I Wear It…Wish I’d Given It To Him ❤️ ?

  2. Kris I went to a Johnny Cash impersonation concert here in Pa. last Saturday and the lead singer said you were a huey pilot in Nam. Thanks for your service. I did 2 tours one with 4th batt 173rd airborne and one with 3rd bde. 82nd airborne 66 67 68. Just wonder if we where there at the same time. Love your songs and the outlaws. Mike Schnur.Stay well.

    1. Mike Schnur- no, Kris never went to Viet Nam. He was a huey pilot in West Germany, Later he flew Hueys for a Petroleum offshore drilling company in Nashville, TN

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