Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson (born June 22, 1936) is an American writer, singer-songwriter, actor, and musician. He is best known for hits such as "Me and Bobby McGee", "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down", and "Help Me Make It Through the Night". Kristofferson is the sole writer of most of his songs, but he has collaborated with various other figures of the Nashville scene such as Shel Silverstein and Fred Rumfelt. For the next few years, Kristofferson focused on acting. He appeared in Blume in Love (directed by Paul Mazursky) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (directed by Sam Peckinpah). He continued acting, in Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Convoy, (another Sam Peckinpah film which was released in 1978), 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, and A Star Is Born (with Barbra Streisand), for which he received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. At the peak of his box-office power, Kristofferson turned down both William Friedkin's Sorcerer (1977) and the first Rambo-instalment, First Blood. In spite of his success with Streisand, Kristofferson's solo musical career headed downward with his non-charting ninth album, Shake Hands with the Devil. His next film, Freedom Road, did not earn a theatrical release in the U.S. Kristofferson's next film was Heaven's Gate, a phenomenal industry-changing failure—in which, nonetheless, he turned in a nuanced performance. In 1986 he starred in The Last days of Frank and Jesse James with Johnny Cash.
Also during this time, Kristofferson met singer Rita Coolidge. They married in 1973 and released an album titled Full Moon, another success buoyed by numerous hit singles and Grammy nominations. However, his fifth album, Spooky Lady's Sideshow, released in 1974, was a commercial failure, setting the trend for most of the rest of his career. Artists such as Ronnie Milsap and Johnny Duncan continued to record Kristofferson's material with much success, but his amazing yet rough voice and anti-pop sound kept his own audience to a minimum. Meanwhile, more artists took his songs to the top of the charts, including Willie Nelson, whose 1979 LP release of Willie Nelson Sings Kris Kristofferson proved to be a smash success.
In 1979, Kris Kristofferson travelled to Havana, Cuba, to participate in the historic Havana Jam festival that took place between 2–4 March, alongside Rita Coolidge, Stephen Stills, the CBS Jazz All-Stars, the Trio of Doom, Fania All-Stars, Billy Swan, Bonnie Bramlett, Mike Finnegan, Weather Report, and Billy Joel, plus an array of Cuban artists such as Irakere, Pacho Alonso, Tata Güines and Orquesta Aragón. His performance is captured on Ernesto Juan Castellanos's documentary Havana Jam '79. The cover of the tape shows Rita and Kris at a Willie Nelson's 4th of July picnic.
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