On March 11, 2002, Willie Nelson was inducted into the Austin Film Society Hall of Time. He was presented by Lyle Lovett and Billy Gibbons.
Willie Nelson’s musical reputation is matched by his sterling songwriting (“Crazy,” “Nightlife,” “On The Road Again”) but when he appeared in 1979’s THE ELECTRIC HORSEMAN with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, a character actor for the ages was born. His first starring role was in 1980’s HONEYSUCKLE ROSE with Amy Irving and Dyan Cannon, filmed around Austin, followed by the western BARBAROSA (1982) and the underrated SONGWRITER (1984).
Numerous TV parts came to the Abbott native while film roles such as RED-HEADED STRANGER (1986), GONE FISHIN’ and WAG THE DOG (1997), and STARDUST (2000) kept his big screen image popular. Nelson’s downhome appeal is most evident when he plays himself (AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME, 1999) and he rallied a grieving nation performing “America The Beautiful” on AMERICA: A TRIBUTE FOR HEROES.
The Texas Film Hall of Fame, which operates under the auspices of the Austin Film Society, was co-founded in 2001 by Louis Black, the editor of The Austin Chronicle, and Evan Smith, Editor-In-Chief and CEO of The Texas Tribune and former editor of Texas Monthly. Every year, at a gala held at Austin Studios, on the site of the city’s onetime municipal airport, the Texas Film Hall of Fame inducts or honors Texans who’ve made a significant contribution to film or filmmaking, as well as non-Texans who’ve made significant strides in the advancement of the Texas film industry. Classic Texas films are also honored, with a member of the cast or crew accepting on behalf of his colleagues. In 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, the gala was emceed by Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas, who died on September 13, 2006. The 2007 gala commemorated her passing by celebrating her life and her passion for film, emceed by New York columnist and 2001 Inductee Liz Smith. www.AustinFilm.org