skip navigation
Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Barbarosa DVD Legendary country music star Willie Nelson gives an appealingly laid-back... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Beer For My Horses DVD Country music star Toby Keith writes and stars in this road movie comedy... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

One Peace At A Time DVD Activist and filmmaker Turk Pipkin treks the globe in search of profound... more info $19.95was $19.95 Buy Now

Thief DVD Crime movies are a dime a dozen, but "Thief" (1981) doesn't get included in that... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Once Upon A Texas Train... The unlikely team of Richard Widmark, Willie Nelson, Angie Dickinson and Shaun... more info $6.99was $6.99 Buy Now

Townes Van Zandt: Be Here To Love Me... Musician Townes Van Zandt influenced everyone from Bob Dylan to Norah Jones.... more info $26.97was $26.97 Buy Now

Also Known As: William Hugh Nelson Died:
Born: April 30, 1933 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Abbott, Texas, USA Profession: singer, songwriter, producer, actor, disc jockey, encyclopedia salesman (sold door to door)

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the most prolific and respected figures in American music, multiple Grammy winner Willie Nelson was a singer, songwriter and occasional actor whose five-decade career produced some of the most memorable country and pop songs of the postwar era, including "Crazy," "Funny How Time Slips Away," "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," "Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" and "On the Road Again." He was also a founding member of the outlaw country scene of the 1970s, which rebelled against the slick orchestrations of Nashville productions in favor of grittier, biographical fare. Even among that eclectic group, Nelson stood out by virtue of his unique voice and phrasing, which incorporated elements of vocal jazz and pop standards into a blend of country, blues, swing and rock. By the 1980s, Nelson had risen from cult hero to national treasure, and emerged from a lengthy battle with the IRS with his legend firmly intact and his creative drive even stronger than before. A hero to celebrities, politicians, pro-marijuana activists and the common man alike, Nelson's colorful life was matched only by his extraordinary breadth of talent.

One of the most prolific and respected figures in American music, multiple Grammy winner Willie Nelson was a singer, songwriter and occasional actor whose five-decade career produced some of the most memorable country and pop songs of the postwar era, including "Crazy," "Funny How Time Slips Away," "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," "Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" and "On the Road Again." He was also a founding member of the outlaw country scene of the 1970s, which rebelled against the slick orchestrations of Nashville productions in favor of grittier, biographical fare. Even among that eclectic group, Nelson stood out by virtue of his unique voice and phrasing, which incorporated elements of vocal jazz and pop standards into a blend of country, blues, swing and rock. By the 1980s, Nelson had risen from cult hero to national treasure, and emerged from a lengthy battle with the IRS with his legend firmly intact and his creative drive even stronger than before. A hero to celebrities, politicians, pro-marijuana activists and the common man alike, Nelson's colorful life was matched only by his extraordinary breadth of talent.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Wild Bunch, The (2016)
2.
 When Angels Sing (2013)
3.
4.
5.
6.
 Swing Vote (2008)
7.
 Surfer, Dude (2008)
8.
 Blonde Ambition (2007)
9.
 Unforeseen, The (2007)
10.
 Broken Bridges (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised by his paternal gradparents after parents' divorce
1937:
First public performance, recited a poem at a church picnic at age four
1943:
Joined first band, John Raycjeck's Bohemian Polka Band
1956:
Released first album, the self-financed <i>No Place for Me</i>; sold over the radio in Vancouver, Washington
:
Moved to Texas in the late 1950s; settled in Houston and worked as a disc jockey
:
Moved to Nashville
1961:
Had first success as a songwriter with the Patsy Cline song, "Crazy"
1962:
Duets with second wife Shirley Collie hit the charts
1964:
Debuted at the Grand Old Opry (November 28)
1970:
Moved from Nashville back to Texas after his Tennessee home was destroyed in a fire
1973:
Released what is considered breakthrough album, <i>Shotgun Willie</i>
1975:
Became established star with release of <i>Red Headed Stranger</i> album
1979:
Made feature film acting debut in "The Electric Horseman"
1980:
In the mid-1980s, Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash formed a group called The Highwaymen
1980:
First leading role in a film, "Honeysuckle Rose"; also wrote songs and music; earned Oscar nomination for Best Song for "On the Road Again"
1982:
Made TV acting debut in the docudrama, "Coming Out of the Ice"
1983:
Appeared in the documentary, "Hells Angels Forever"
1986:
First credit as producer, "Red-Headed Stranger"
1990:
Seven-year dispute with the IRS ended with IRS agents seizing Nelson's possessions (including the Pedernales Country Club and Recording Studio near Austin TX and his 44-acre Dripping Springs ranch, as well as properties in four other states and his instruments, recordings and memorabilia) in November, claiming he owed $16.7 million in back taxes, penalties and interest
1993:
Released <i>Across the Borderline</i>, with guests Bob Dylan, Sinéad O'Connor, David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristofferson and Paul Simon
1996:
Featured on the Beach Boys' now out-of-print album <i>Stars and Stripes Vol. 1</i>, singing a cover of their 1964 song "The Warmth of the Sun"
1998:
Had a cameo in "Half Baked" as an elderly 'Historian Smoker'
2004:
Released the album, <i>Outlaws & Angels</i>; earned two Grammy nominations
2005:
Cast as Uncle Jesse in the big-screen version of "The Dukes of Hazzard" based on the 1970's hit show
2006:
Released <i>You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker</i>, featuring songs written by the late Cindy Walker; earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album
2007:
Second collaboration with Dukes' co-star Jessica Simpson, "Blonde Ambition"
2008:
Appeared in the comedy "Surfer, Dude" starring Matthew McConaughey
2009:
Earned three Grammy nominations, including one for his album, <i>Willie and the Wheel</i>, and one for his collaboration with Norah Jones, "Baby, It's Cold Outside"
2010:
Earned a Grammy nomination for the album <i>Country Music</i>
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Martha Matthews. Carhop. Full-blooded Cherokee; married in 1952; divorced in 1962; died in December 1989.
wife:
Shirley Collie. Singer. Recorded with Nelson; married c. 1962; divorced.
wife:
Connie Nelson. Married in the early 1970s; divorced.
wife:
Annie D'Angelo. Makeup artist. Married on September 16, 1991 in Dallas; fourth wife; met on set of "Red Headed Stranger" (1986); couple has two sons.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Ira Nelson. Musician.
mother:
Myrle Nelson.
sister:
Bobby Lee Nelson.
daughter:
Lana Nelson. Nelson's business manager. Born in 1953; mother, Martha Matthews; mother of four.
daughter:
Susie Nelson. Singer. Born in 1956; mother, Martha Matthews.
son:
Billy Nelson. Sometime musician. Born c. 1958, committed suicide by hanging himself on December 25, 1991 in Nashville, Tennessee; mother, Martha Matthews; married once to Janet Caldwell and had recently separated before his suicide; had undergone a 30-day hospital program for alcohol abuse in 1990.
daughter:
Paula Nelson. Born in 1969.
daughter:
Amy Nelson. Born in 1973.
son:
Lukas Autry Nelson. Born in 1989; mother, Annie D'Angelo.
son:
Jacob Micah Nelson. Born in 1990; mother, Annie D'Angelo.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Willie: An Autobiography"
"The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes" Random House

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute