Kris Kristofferson On Booze, His Beard And Crazy Dennis Hopper

03/28/2008 02:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Guardian

Legendary singer and actor Kris Kristofferson gave an interview to the UK Guardian about booze, crazy Dennis Hopper and pioneering the beard.


"[Willie Nelson was my hero when I came into town in 65, and he's probably my closest friend right now - saw him last night. You know, he didn't even have a beard back then. I had the very first beard in all of country music. And he used to give me a lot of shit for it!"

The beard was an accident, Kristofferson says. "I had pneumonia and I had to go into hospital for a week, didn't shave the whole time. And when I came out, some magazine took a picture of me and called it 'the new face of country music'. Ever since then Willie, too, has just looked as wild as heck."...

Kristofferson's first [movie] experience was on Dennis Hopper's calamitous The Last Movie, in 1971. "We were down in Peru in this old Inca village, and Dennis was as crazy as he ever was. I mean, I see the guy he's mellowed into now, doing his retirement-fund commercials on TV, and I ove Dennis, but back then he was" - and here his voice assumes an awed tone - "the most self-destructive guy I had ever seen! He got a priest defrocked, because he got him involved in some kind of weird mass for James Dean. He antagonised the military and all the politicians. It was crazy."...

The apogee of his career came with the 1977 remake of A Star Is Born, in which Kristofferson is the only compelling figure.

By that time he was, like his character, a fully fledged boozehound. "I had a half-gallon of Jose Cuervo in my trailer and they never let it empty. They just kept coming back in and filling it up, same half-gallon bottle. I don't know how much I was drinking, but it was a lot, and I had to quit it soon after. Doctor said my liver was the size of a football and that if I didn't quit, I was gonna kill myself. I had a new little daughter, so I quit. I drink wine today, but at the time I just went cold turkey. It was probably harder on the people around me than on myself."

Read the whole interview