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Rita Coolidge's Geni Profile

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Rita Coolidge

Birthplace: Lafayette, Macon, Tennessee, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Raymond Merrill "Dick" Coolidge and Charlotte Faye Coolidge
Ex-wife of Kris Kristofferson
Mother of <private> Kristofferson
Sister of Priscilla Bradley; <private> (Coolidge) and <private> Coolidge

Managed by: Gene Daniell
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Rita Coolidge

Rita Coolidge (born May 1, 1945) is a multiple Grammy Award-winning American vocalist. During the 1970s and 1980s, she charted hits on Billboard's pop, country, adult contemporary and jazz charts.

Coolidge was born in Lafayette, Tennessee. She is of Scottish and Cherokee Native American ancestry.


Coolidge is a graduate of Florida State University in Tallahassee. She became known as "The Delta Lady" and inspired Leon Russell to write a song of the same name for her. In November 1970, she met Kris Kristofferson at the LA airport when they were both catching the same flight to Tennessee and he got off in Memphis with her rather than go on his originally planned stop in Nashville; the two married in 1973. With him, she recorded several duet albums which sold well, and earned them a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1974 for "From the Bottle to the Bottom", and in 1976 for "Lover Please". Willie Nelson references her in Devil in a Sleepin' Bag on Shotgun Willie, singing:

Just got back from New York City Kris (Kristofferson) and Rita (Coolidge) done it all Bought perfection there for all the world to see Lord, I heard an angel singing in that Philharmonic Hall Rita Coolidge, Rita Coolidge, cleft for me

Coolidge's greatest success on the pop charts came during 1977-1978 with four consecutive top 25 hits. The list consisted of remakes of Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher", Boz Scaggs' "We're All Alone", and The Temptations' "The Way You Do The Things You Do", followed by "You".

Personal life

Coolidge was married to Kris Kristofferson from 1973–1980. They have one daughter, Casey. Coolidge previously had romantic liaisons with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash; her leaving Stills for Nash has been cited as a contributing factor behind the initial 1970 breakup of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Coolidge now lives in Fallbrook California. She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.


In 1997, Coolidge was one of the founding members of Walela, a Native American music trio, that also includes Coolidge's sister Priscilla and Priscilla's daughter Laura Satterfield. The trio released studio albums in 1997 (Walela) and 2000 (Unbearable Love), a live album and DVD (Live in Concert) in 2004 and a compilation album (The Best of Walela) in 2007. Walela means hummingbird in Cherokee.


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Rita Coolidge's Timeline

May 1, 1945
Lafayette, Macon, Tennessee, United States