Kris Kristofferson Has Officially Retired

Kris Kristofferson has officially retired from music. With no fanfare, the actor and singer-songwriter extraordinaire permanently stepped out of the spotlight in 2020, according to a new report regarding his estate.

Music Row announced on Wednesday (Jan. 27) that Kristofferson’s estate is now being represented from a management standpoint by Morris Higham Management. The legend’s son, John Kristofferson, is now leading the Kristoffersons’ family businesses — including KK Records, Kristofferson’s indie record label — while Tamara Saviano, a longtime friend and colleague, is in charge of public relations.

“It’s been amazing to dig in to my dad’s catalog and history with this seasoned group of professionals. MHM and Tamara are experts on everything from old Nashville to the up-and-comers, and I can’t imagine a better partnership to bring the full depth of his songwriting to a new generation,” John Kristofferson says. “The name has always been synonymous with songwriting as an art, and we’re excited to reintroduce his work to new and old fans alike. We have many exciting projects in the works, and I look forward to getting them out into the world.”

Included in this news is a note that Kris Kristofferson “officially retired in 2020,” though this announcement about new estate management representation marks the first time the general public is hearing the news. He turns 85 this June.

A Brownsville, Texas, native, Kristofferson played numerous college-level sports at Pomona College, then was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, which he used to study at Merton College and continue his athletic career there. He also spent time in the United States military, during which he formed a band, and turned down an offer to teach English at West Point in order to pursue songwriting.

Kristofferson’s big break in Nashville came in an unconventional way: He landed a helicopter in Johnny Cash’s front yard in an attempt to get the star’s attention — and it worked. Cash recorded “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” and, from there, Kristofferson’s songs were recorded by, among others, Ray Price, Waylon Jennings and Kenny Rogers.

As a recording artist himself, Kristofferson put out 17 solo albums and was part of the Highwaymen with Cash, Jennings and Willie Nelson. As an actor, he is well known for his role in the 1976 iteration of A Star Is Born, for which he won a Best Actor Golden Globe Award.

In 2013, Kristofferson revealed that he was suffering from memory loss, which, at the time, he tied to the concussions and hits to the head he suffered during his athletic career. However, in 2016, he revealed that the cause was, in fact, Lyme disease, which he likely picked up on a movie set in 2006 and had gone undiagnosed for about a decade.

“He was taking all these medications for things he doesn’t have, and they all have side effects,” Kristofferson’s wife Lisa shared at the time. He went through three weeks of treatment for Lyme disease and stopped taking medication for Alzheimer’s and depression, and “[a]ll of a sudden,” Lisa added, “he was back.”

Kristofferson was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1977, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004. As of 2016, he is a member of the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame, and in 2019, he received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Country Music Association.

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