Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson (born June 22, 1936) is an American musician, actor, and writer. He is known for hits such as "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times", "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.
Kris Kristofferson was born in Brownsville, Texas, to parents Mary Ann (née Ashbrook) and Lars Henry Kristofferson, a U.S. Army Air Corps (later U.S. Air Force) major general. Kristofferson's paternal grandfather was also an officer (in the Swedish Army). When Kristofferson was a child, his father pushed him toward a military career. Like most "military brats", Kristofferson moved around frequently as a youth, finally settling down in San Mateo, California, where he graduated from San Mateo High School. An aspiring writer, Kristofferson enrolled in Pomona College in 1954. He experienced his first dose of fame when he appeared in Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd" for his achievements in collegiate rugby union, football, and track and field. He and fellow classmates revived the Claremont Colleges Rugby Club in 1958, which has remained a Southern California rugby dynasty. Kristofferson became a member of Phi Beta Kappa at Pomona College, graduating in 1958 with a BA, summa cum laude in Literature. In a 2004 interview with Pomona College Magazine Kristofferson mentioned philosophy professor Frederick Sontag as an important influence in his life.
Kristofferson earned a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford, where his college was Merton. While at Oxford he was awarded his blue for boxing and began writing songs. With the help of his manager, Larry Parnes, he recorded for Top Rank Records under the name Kris Carson. Parnes was working to sell Kris as "a Yank at Oxford" to the British public and Kristofferson was willing to take that sell with the end goal of becoming a novelist. This early phase of his music career was unsuccessful.