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Wednesday, February 07, 2018 by Alesa

Background:

American singer/songwriter and actor Lyle Lovett rose to fame in the 1980s thanks to his first three albums, “Lyle Lovett” (1986), “Pontiac” (1988) and “Lyle Lovett and His Large Band” (1989), all of which received positive reviews from critics. Since then, he has recorded 10 more studios albums, including “Joshua Judges Ruth” (1992), “The Road to Ensenada” (1996), “Smile” (2003), “My Baby Don't Tolerate” (2003) and “It's Not Big It's Large” (2007). Lovett had his first country hit with the Top 10 track “Cowboy Man” (1986) and produced several more singles that peaked on the Billboard Hot Country Chart, including “Give Back My Heart” (1987), “She's No Lady” (1988), “If I Were the Man You Wanted “ (1989), “Stand by Your Man” (1989) and “Private Conversation” (1997). As an actor, Lovett co-won a Golden Globe Award and a Venice Film Festival Award as well as a National Board of Review Award for his work in the Robert Alman films “Short Cut” (1993) and “Prêt-à-Porter” (1994). Other films in which he has acted in include “Bill on His Own” (1983, TV), “The Player” (1992), “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998), “The Opposite of Sex” (1998), “The New Guy” (2002) and “Three Days of Rain” (2003). His new film, “The Open Road,” will be released in 2008.

Outside of his growing acting career and his success as a singer, Lovett is probably best remembered for his short-lived marriage to “Pretty Woman” star Julia Roberts. They were married in June 1993 after dating for three weeks and divorced two years later in March 1995. Lovett's love life has also been linked to April Kimble, Ashley Judd (together in the early 1990s) and Elizabeth Vargas (dated briefly in 1996).


Small-town Boy

Childhood and Family:

Lyle Pearce Lovett was born on November 1, 1957, in Klein, Texas, to Bill Lovett and Bernell Lovett, who both were employees of Exxon. He was raised on his family ranch and grew up Lutheran. He studied journalism and German at Texas A&M University and after getting his BA in 1982, he went to Germany to further his education. Upon returning to America, Lyle embarked on his professional career as a musician.

On June 25, 1993, Lyle enjoyed a great deal of notoriety for his marriage to actress Julia Roberts. Meeting on the set of Robert Altman's “The Player” (1992), the two had a relatively short romance before eloping and getting married in Marion, Indiana. The bond, however, only lasted for two years and they divorced on March 22, 1995. Since then, they have maintained a good relationship and Julia even sang one of Lyle's songs in her 1998 film, “Stepmom.”


Joshua Judges Ruth

Career:

Texas native Lyle Lovett started writing songs in the late 1970s while attending Texas A&M University. As a student, he performed covers and original songs at local clubs and folk festivals and when he spent time in Europe following his graduation, Lovett still found time to pursue his musical interest. However, he did not consider music as a full-time career until after returning to America in the early 1980s.

Lovett continued to play clubs throughout Texas and in 1983, he made his TV debut as a singer on the TV film “Bill on His Own,” starring Mickey Rooney and Helen Hunt. With the hope of getting a big break, he moved to Nashville the following year and began his collaboration with Nanci Griffith. In addition to recording Lovett's song “If I Were the Woman You Wanted,” Griffith also hired him to sing back-up for her first album, “Once in a Very Blue Moon,” and the follow-up “Last of the True Believers.” In 1985, Lovett was signed to MCA Records and released a self-titled debut album in 1986. It was well-received by critics and was hailed by the All Music Guide as “one of the most promising and exciting debut albums to come out of Nashville in the 1980s.” One of four singles released from the album, “Cowboy Man,” became Lovett's first Top 10 Country hit.

Lovett returned with his sophomore effort in 1988 called “Pontiac,” which again received a positive response. While he blended jazz, folk, pop and country to his first album, the singer verified he was eclectic and sophisticated with “Pontiac,” which peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard chart for Top Country Albums and No. 117 on the Billboard Hot 200. The album received gold certification and broadened his popularity to pop and rock fans. At about the same time, Lovett found his country fan base beginning to decline. After the Top 20 country hits “Give Back My Heart” and “She's No Lady,” his subsequent singles failed to break the country Top 40.

In January 1989, Lovett launched “Lyle Lovett and His Large Band,” a third album he recorded with his touring band. Following its predecessors, the album, which peaked at No. 10 on Billboard's chart for Top Country Albums, and No, 62 in the Billboard Hot 200, was also released to critical success and went on to enjoy commercial success.

Following his Los Angeles move, Lovett could be seen making his feature acting debut in the Robert Altman comedy/drama “The Player” (1992), where he was cast as Detective DeLongpre. He was reunited with Altman for 1993's “Short Cuts” (1993), from which he jointly nabbed a Golden Globe for Best Ensemble Cast and Venice Film Festival's Volpi Cup for Best Ensemble Cast. He also released the album “Joshua Judges Ruth” (1992) and the disappointing “I Love Everybody”(1994). The first marked his most triumphant album to date.

Lovett withdrew from the public eye after his separation with his actress-wife Julia Roberts by writing and touring throughout the remainder of 1995. In 1996, he resurfaced with his next album, “The Road to Ensenada,” which marked a return to his country roots. A successful album, it debuted at No. 24 on the Billboard 200 and No. 4 on the Top Country Albums. The same year, he also had a small role on the Showtime drama “Bastard Out of Carolina,” directed by Anjelica Huston.

The rest of the decade saw Lovett act in such films as “Breast Men” (1997), “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998), “The Opposite of Sex” (1998, opposite Lisa Kudrow) and “Cookie's Fortune” (1999) and in the TV series “Sin City Spectacular” (1999) and “Mad About You” (1995-1999). Meanwhile, in music, he released the album “Step Inside This House” in September 1998 and the concert record “Live in Texas” in June 1999. Also in 1999, the Boston Ballet premiered “Nine Lives: The Songs of Lyle Lovett.”

Entering the new millennium, Lovett recorded a soundtrack for Robert Altman's “Dr. T. & the Women” (2000), a comedy/romance starring Richard Gere. It was followed by “Anthology, Vol. 1: Cowboy Man” a year later and “Smile,” a compilation of songs recorded for diverse film soundtracks, in February 2003. Still in 2003, he also released an album of new material called “My Baby Don't Tolerate.” Lovett resumed his acting career by having roles in the movies “The New Guy” (2002) and “Three Days of Rain” (2003).

In 2007, Lovett and his Large Band released “It's Not Big It's Large.” The album debuted at No. 18 on Billboard's 200 chart and sold around 25,000 copies in its first week of release. As an actor, Lovett will be featured with Justin Timberlake, Jeff Bridges, Harry Dean Stanton and Mary Steenburgen in the upcoming film, “The Open Road” (2008), a comedy/drama written and directed by Michael Meredith.


Awards:

  • Golden Globe: Special Award, Best Ensemble Cast, “Short Cuts,” 1994

  • National Board of Review: Best Acting by an Ensemble, “Prêt-à-Porter,” 1994

  • Venice Film Festival: Volpi Cup, Best Ensemble Cast, “Short Cuts,” 1993

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