(Israel Twitter)Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 30, 1933) is an American country singer-songwriter, author, poet, actor, and activist. Nelson started studying music from mail order material that his grandparents gave him. He wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at nine. During high school, he toured locally with the Bohemian Fiddlers as their lead singer and guitar player. After graduating from high school in 1950, he joined the Air Force. However, he was discharged due to back problems. After his return, Nelson attended Baylor University for two years but dropped out because he was succeeding in music. During this time, he worked as a disc jockey in Texas radio stations and a singer in honky tonks. Nelson moved to Vancouver, Washington, where he wrote "Family Bible" and recorded the song "Lumberjack" in 1956. In 1960, he signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music which allowed him to join Ray Price's band as a bassist. During that time, he wrote songs that would become country standards, including "Funny How Time Slips Away", "Hello Walls", "Pretty Paper", and "Crazy". In 1962, he recorded his first album, And Then I Wrote. Due to this success, Nelson signed in 1965 with RCA Victor and joined the Grand Ole Opry.
Nelson's acting debut was in the 1979 movie, The Electric Horseman, followed by Honeysuckle Rose, Thief, and Barbarosa. In 1982 he played the role of Red Loon in Coming Out of the Ice with John Savage. In 1984 he starred in Songwriter, with Kristofferson. He portrayed the lead role in the 1986 film version of his concept album Red Headed Stranger. Other movies include Wag the Dog, Gone Fishin' (as Billy 'Catch' Pooler), the 1986 television movie Stagecoach (with Johnny Cash); Half Baked, Beerfest, The Dukes of Hazzard, Surfer, Dude and Swing Vote. He has also made guest appearances on Miami Vice (1986's "El Viejo" episode), Delta, Nash Bridges, The Simpsons, Monk, Adventures in Wonderland, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, King of the Hill, The Colbert Report, Swing Vote and Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
Willie Nelson married four times and fathered seven children. During his first marriage to Martha Matthews from 1952 to 1962, he had three: Lana, Susie, and Billy, who committed suicide in 1991.Nelson was married to Shirley Collie from 1963–1971. In 1971 he married Connie Koepke, and had two daughters, Paula Carlene and Amy Lee. Nelson and Koepke divorced in 1988, and in 1991, he married his current wife, Annie D'Angelo, with whom he has two sons, Lukas Autry and Jacob Micah. Nelson traces his genealogy to the American Revolutionary War, in which his ancestor John Nelson served as a major.He is a black belt in taekwondo.
In 1981, while swimming in Hawaii, Nelson suffered of a collapsed lung. All the concerts scheduled were canceled and he was taken to the Maui Memorial Hospital. Nelson temporally quit smoking cigarettes each time his lungs were congested, and he smoked again when the congestion ended, in 2008 he started to smoke with a carbon-free system to avoid the effects of smoke in his lungs.