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Kristofferson, Kris

Category: Musician or composer

 

Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson (born June 22, 1936) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor.

He wrote and recorded the songs such as  "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times", "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down", "Viet Nam Blues", "From the Bottle to the Bottom", "Once More with Feeling" "Your Time's Comin”, "Best of all Possible Worlds" , "Darby's Castle" and "Help Me Make It Through the Night". He was also one of the group The Highwaymen, formed in 1985, with fellow country artists Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash.  In 2004, Kristofferson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

With Streisand in a Star is Born

He has appeared in numerous films.  He appeared in Blume in Love (directed by Paul Mazursky) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (directed by Sam Peckinpah), in Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Convoy, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Vigilante Force, [a film based on the Yukio Mishima novel The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea], A Star Is Born (with Barbra Streisand), for which he received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, and Flashpoint in 1984 (directed by William Tannen).

He was cast in the lead role as the enigmatic Sheriff James Averill in Michael Cimino's anti-Western Heaven's Gate.

In 1986, he starred in The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James with Johnny Cash. In 1989, he was in the film Millennium with Cheryl Ladd. In 1996, he earned a supporting role as Charlie Wade, a corrupt South Texas sheriff in John Sayles's Lone Star, a film nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay. In 1998, he took a role in the film Blade, playing alongside Wesley Snipes as Blade's mentor Abraham Whistler. He reprised the role in Blade II (2002) and again in Blade: Trinity (2004). In 1999, he co-starred with Mel Gibson in Payback. He was in the 2001 version of Planet of the Apes. He has also played the title character "Yohan" as an old man in the Norwegian film Yohan-the Children Wanderer. He co-starred in the 2011 film Dolphin Tale and its 2014 sequel, Dolphin Tale 2.  Plus others.

In a sense therefore he deserves a place on the site for his music and for all the films in which he has starred, but Kris is particularly special.  For years he suffered mental decline which was diagnosed [without tests of course] as ‘Dementia’.  He was given pills for depression, he was given pills for dementia and they had appalling side effects.  Then someone gave him a test for Lyme’s disease and it came up positive.  At 80 years old, doctors for the first time decided to look for the cause of his illness, a little late one may say, but it has given him new hope and his wife is – to put it mildly ‘over the moon’.

Any other man who suffered for this length of time with a disease which should have been diagnosed decades earlier, might have been forgiven for visiting every doctor, who had 'treated him' with depression pills and anti-psychotic pills, in order to place said pills in a place where the sun does not shine.  But there is also another side to Kris and that is his beliefs, and we will also explore these, for Kris Kristofferson is a very devout man.

Lyme’s disease

Rolling Stone Magazine - Kris Kristofferson: An Outlaw at 80 - Neil Strauss   June 6, 2016

Oh, my god, the son of a bitch is back," announces Lisa Kristofferson as she stands in the kitchen of her Los Flores Canyon home in Malibu. The son of a bitch, who is next to her, is more commonly known as Kris Kristofferson. He has been her husband for the past 36 years. He also happens to be one of the greatest songwriters of all time (covered by Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley and some 500 others), not to mention an iconic actor in his own right (from A Star Is Born to the Blade movies).

 

Three decades ago, "the son of a bitch is back" may have been the rallying cry of Kristofferson's girlfriends or wives after he went off on a drinking or cheating bender.

But today, just weeks away from Kristofferson's 80th birthday, it means something different entirely.
It means that the rugged, fiercely independent spark of consciousness that is Kris Kristofferson, which has been fading for the past few years due to memory loss, is brightening again – to everyone's surprise.

For years, doctors had been telling Kristofferson that his increasingly debilitating memory loss was due to either Alzheimer's or to dementia brought on by blows to the head from the boxing, football and rugby of his teens and early twenties. Some days, Kristofferson couldn't even remember what he was doing from one moment to the next.

married in 1983 - Lisa and Kris

It became so bad that Kristofferson started writing a song about it.

"I see an empty chair
Someone was sitting there,"
it began.
"I've got a feeling it was me
And I see a glass of wine
I'm pretty sure it's mine."

But then, like the chair and the wine, he forgot about the song. And it lay unfinished like many others he's begun these past few years. In this case, his daughter Kelly completed the song, which remains unrecorded.
Then, earlier this year, a doctor decided to test Kristofferson for Lyme disease. The test came back positive. His wife believes he picked it up from a tick as he crawled around the forest floor in Vermont for six weeks while filming the movie Disappearances.

"He was taking all these medications for things he doesn't have, and they all have side effects," she says.

She is wearing one of her husband's tour merchandise shirts. After he gave up his Alzheimer's and depression pills and went through three weeks of Lyme-disease treatment, Lisa was shocked. "All of a sudden he was back," she says.

There are still bad days, but "some days he's perfectly normal and it's easy to forget that he is even battling anything."

 

Beliefs

Kris Kristofferson believes in God.  He also believes in destiny and fate, and as a consequence – although he may never have expressed it in this way, by extension he also believes in the Great Work – that we are all placed on earth with a job to do and that one must as a consequence – ‘go with the Tao’. 

As a consequence he does not fear death or what life throws at him.

Rolling Stone Magazine - Kris Kristofferson: An Outlaw at 80 - Neil Strauss   June 6, 2016

So you were never scared about losing your past? Kristofferson stares straight ahead, into a sweeping ocean vista, his sky-blue eyes shining brightly under a brow that thrusts out like a rock ledge.

"What good would it do?" he says with a shrug.

Seventeen years ago, Kristofferson had bypass surgery. As he was being wheeled into the operating room, the doctor told Kris and Lisa that this would be a good place to say goodbye. "I hope it's not goodbye," Lisa said.

His response: "So what if it is?"

"I really have no anxiety about controlling my own life," Kristofferson says, taking a seat at the head of a wood dining table. "…. It's not up to me – or you. …… somehow I just always have the feeling that He knows what He's doing. It's been good so far, and it'll probably continue to be."

 We have more information about his life and the background to the songs in the observations.

 

 

Observations

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