Achy Breaky Heart
Grammy nominated country singer Billy Ray Cyrus began his music career playing at bars during the 1980s until he was discovered and signed by Mercury Nashville Records in 1990. His debut album, "Some Gave All," received 9 times Multi-Platinum certification and spawned the breakthrough song "Achy Breaky Heart." The musician, who plays a left-handed guitar, has since released nine less successful albums and will release his latest album, "Back to Tennessee," on January 13, 2009.
Cyrus began dabbling in acting in the late 1990s and was seen in an episode of "The Love Boat: The Next Wave." He followed it up with appearances in the films "Radical Jack" (2000), "Mulholland Dr." (2001), "Death and Texas" (2004), and "Elvis Has Left the Building" (2004). After landing his first starring role on the TV series "Doc" (2001-2004), he snagged the role of Robby Stewart, the manager and father of a teen singer (played by his real-life daughter Miley Cyrus), in the mega hit Disney Channel program, "Hannah Montana" (2005-Present). He will reprise the role in its film version, "Hannah Montana: The Movie," which will be released on April 10, 2009.
This 6' performer has been married twice and has two daughters and two sons, as well as two step children that he has legally adopted.
Childhood and Family:
The son of Ron Cyrus (was a Democratic politician and public servant in Greenup County, Kentucky; born on July 10, 1935; died February 28, 2006) and Ruth Ann Cyrus, William Ray Cyrus was born on August 26, 1961, in Flatwoods, Kentucky. His siblings are Angie Cyrus, Lisa Cyrus, Cherie Cyrus, Kevin Cyrus, and Mick Cyrus. His father divorced his mother when Billy Ray was 5 years old and subsequently married Joan Cyrus. His mother remarried Cletis Adkins.
A star athlete (played on a state champion football team while in high school), Billy Ray attended Georgetown College in Kentucky on a baseball scholarship. He was also educated at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky.
From 1987 to 1991, Billy Ray was married to Cindy Cyrus, who co-wrote the song "Wher'm I Gonna Live?" featured on his 1992 album “Some Gave All.” On December 28, 1992, he secretly married his present wife, Leticia 'Tish' Finley (born in 1967), an actress and manager. With Tish, Billy Ray has three children, Miley Cyrus (born Destiny Hope Cyrus on November 23, 1992; best known for starring on the Disney Channel series, "Hannah Montana"), Braison Cyrus (born in 1994), and Noah Lindsey Cyrus (born in 2000). He also has one stepdaughter, Brandi Cyrus (born in 1987; guitarist in Miley’s band; from Tish's previous relationship), and one stepson, Trace Cyrus (born in 1989; singer/guitarist for “Metro Station,” from Tish's previous relationship with Baxter Neal Helson), both of whom have been legally adopted by Billy Ray. He also fathered a son, Christopher Cody Cyrus (born in 1992), from his relationship with Kristen Luckey.
Hannah Montana’s Dad
Growing up surrounded by bluegrass and gospel music, Billy Ray Cyrus turned to music and began playing at bars during the 1980s to 1990 until he was discovered by Mercury talent scouts in 1990 while opening for a Reba McEntire concert in Louisville, Kentucky.
After scoring a record deal with Mercury Nashville Records in 1990, he released his debut album, “Some Gave All,” on May 19, 1992. It produced four hit singles on the Billboard country charts, beginning with the breakthrough song "Achy Breaky Heart," a five-week Number One, as well as a Top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 that was nominated for a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
Other three singles off the album are "Could've Been Me," "Wher'm I Gonna Live?" and "She's Not Cryin' Anymore," which peaked at #2, #23, and #6, respectively, on the country charts. The album eventually received 9× Multi-Platinum certification from RIAA. It also earned awards from the Country Music Association, the American Music Awards, and The Nashville Network.
Cyrus subsequently released the Platinum album "It Won't Be the Last" in 1993 and the Gold album "Storm in the Heartland" in 1994. He has since released the less successful albums "Trail of Tears" (1996), "Shot Full of Love" (1998; spawned the #3 country chart single "Busy Man"), "Southern Rain" (2000), "Time Flies" (2003), and a gospel album, “The Other Side” (2003), which earned favorable reviews.
“It's going great. This is what I love to do, make music and throw in a little acting on the side.” Billy Ray Cyrus (about his career)
Meanwhile, he began acting with a guest appearance in a 1999 episode of UPN’s sitcom “The Love Boat: The Next Wave,” and followed it up with the low-budget action/adventure film, “Radical Jack” (2000), in which he starred in the title role.
Cyrus made the leap to series TV with “Doc,” a medical drama in which he starred as a Montana doctor who takes a job in a New York City clinic. The show was broadcasted on PAX TV (now ION Television) between March 11, 2001, until November 28, 2004, and earned him a Grace Award nomination for Most Inspiring Television Acting at the MovieGuide Awards. He also brought his character to the 2002 pilot for another PAX series, "Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye," a Canadian-American co-produced television drama.
During this time, Cyrus could also be seen in David Lynch’s mystery film "Mulholland Dr." (2001), Joel Zwick comedy starring John Corbett and Kim Basinger, “Elvis Has Left the Building” (2004) and Kevin DiNovis' offbeat “Death and Texas” (2004), starring Charles Durning and Steve Harris. After guest-starring in a 2004 episode of the popular Canadian teen television series “Degrassi: The Next Generation” and acting in the play "Annie Get Your Gun" at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada, in 2005, Billy Ray landed the role of Robby Stewart, the manager and father of a teen singer (played by his real-life daughter Miley Cyrus), in the mega hit Disney Channel program, “Hannah Montana.” The show that debuted on March 24, 2006, recently premiered its 3rd season on November 2, 2008. He will reprise the role in its film version, "Hannah Montana: The Movie," which will be released on April 10, 2009.
“I tried to discourage Miley from pursuing the entertainment business because it's a double-edged sword. For everything that makes you happy, there's something equally heartbreaking. I kind of tried to steer her away from being in this business. I told her, 'Just stay in school and do cheerleading. Be a normal kid.' Well, you can see now how well she listened to me!” Billy Ray Cyrus
In March 2007, Cyrus joined several other celebrities in the fourth season of the U.S. version of “Dancing with the Stars,” but was eliminated in the eighth week (May 8, 2007). He has completed his latest film project, "Flying By," a musical drama written and directed by Jim Amatulli.
A dedicated philanthropist, Billy Ray has supported The Kennedy Center since 1994. He has been awarded Humanitarian of the Year by Kennedy Center Honors, Country Radio Broadcasters, and International Entertainment Buyer Association.
“I don't like to argue. I hate confrontation. And I just, you know, I just want everything to be smooth. I want the whole world to be smooth. I want everyone to quit fighting and killing each other and just love each other. If the whole world could just do something really nice for their fellow man on one given day, it might save us from self-destructing as a human race.” Billy Ray Cyrus
BMI Songwriter's Award: Top 50 Most Played Songs, "Ready, Set, Don't Go," 2008
Bob Hope Congressional Medal of Honor Society: Entertainer of the Year, 2002
Kennedy Center Honors: Humanitarian of the Year, 2000
Country Radio Broadcasters: Humanitarian of the Year, 2000
International Entertainment Buyer Association: Humanitarian of the Year, 1999
TNN/Music City News: Video of the Year, "Busy Man," 1998
TNN/Music City News: Single of the Year, "Busy Man," 1998
TNN/Music City News: Male Artist of the Year, 1998
TNN/Music City News: Album of the Year, "Shot Full of Love," 1998
TNN/Music City News: Single of the Year, "It's All the Same to Me," 1997
American Music Awards: Favorite Single, "Achy Breaky Heart," 1993
American Music Awards: Favorite New Artist, 1993
CMA: Single of the Year, "Achy Breaky Heart," 1992