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Hoyt Axton – MovieActors.com

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About Hoyt Axton (1938 – 1999)

Hoyt Wayne Axton was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, on March 25, 1938. His mother was Mae Boren Axton. She wrote Elvis Presley's hit song, HEARTBREAK HOTEL. His father, who loved to sing, was John T. Axton, a naval officer who was stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, which is where Hoyt grew up.

Hoyt graduated from Robert E. Lee High School, and enrolled in Oklahoma State College, for a short time, before joining the Navy. Hoyt Axton served aboard the USS Ranger (CV/CVA-61).

Hoyt Axton was a folk singer, song writer and actor who specialized in playing down-home, good old boys on television and films.

About his song-writing, Hoyt mused, "Contemplating mankind's purpose turns people like me into pseudo-philosophers. I feel that life is simply a matter of one foot in front of the other and down the road we go. If we're lucky we get to enjoy a little dance or song now and then--I've been singing my song to life since I was born. I've learned that love and the blues seem to be partners."

In the early 60s', his first folk album, THE BALLADEER was recorded at the Troubadour, and released as an album.

Many of Hoyt's songs were written for other singers. Hoyt Axton wrote JOY TO THE WORLD, and NEVER BEEN TO SPAIN, for Three Dog Night, in 1971. In 1978, Hoyt Axton formed his own record label, Jeremiah Records, named after the Bullfrog in the song, JOY TO THE WORLD.

Hoyt Axton's best known country hits included GREENBACK DOLLAR;(Kingston Trio), WHEN THE MORNING COMES, BONEY FINGERS, and DELLA AND THE DEALER.

Hoyt Axton composed many songs for fifty seven movie soundtracks. Some of the songs were, FIVE DOLLAR BILL, SMILE AS YOU GO BY, QUEEN OF THE ROCKIN' R and TROUBLE AND MISERY.

In 1969, Hoyt Axton wrote and did the soundtrack for "The Pusher"( Steppenwolf) in the movie EASY RIDER.

JOY TO THE WORLD song was very popular for movie soundtracks; heard in films such as FORREST GUMP, ENCINO MAN, THE BIG CHILL, ELLA ENCHANTED, RODGER AND ME, and RAISE YOUR VOICE.

Concerning his acting technique, Hoyt explained how he saw film making to THE OKLAHOMAN; "I'll tell you what the mystery is - They drive you to work, they give you a dressing room, they dress your hair, they put your makeup on, give you the clothes to wear, they tell you what to say and then they tell you how to move when you say it. Then they pay you a bunch of money.... It's a piece of cake."

In 1966, Hoyt Axton starred in the movie, SMOKEY. In 1979, Hoyt portrayed Alec's father in THE BLACK STALLION. In 1984, Hoyt Axton was cast as Randall Peltzer in the movie, GREMLINS. He had first billing for his role. The movie won seven awards and five nominations.

Hoyt had a long battle with alcohol, and cocaine addiction. While this hard struggle produced some fine songs:(THE PUSHER, SNOWBLIND FRIEND AND NO-NO SONGS;(Ringo Starr), these temptations destroyed some of his marriages.

Hoyt's first wife was Mary Sanino, and they were married in 1960. They had a son, Mark in 1961. Their marriage only lasted a few years. Mark Axton grew up to be a successful animator, CGI department manager, visual and digital effects coordinator.

Kathryn Roberts married Hoyt Axton, in 1966, but they were later divorced in 1973. They had three children together.

In 1980, Hoyt Axton married Donna Bambi Roberts and they had one son. They were divorced in 1990.

Deborah Hawkins became his third bride in 1997, and was the love of his life. They were in love until Hoyt died. Hoyt suffered a stroke; an event that he didn't quite recover from, as he had to be in a wheelchair to the end of his life. Four years later, on October 26, 1999, Hoyt Axton died at his ranch in Helena, Montana, after suffering two severe heart attacks in two weeks. Deborah stuck with him through it all. Hoyt was survived by Debbie and his five children.

On November 1, 2007, he and his mother were honored by being inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Hoyt Axton's notable movie credits include...

KING COBRA - 1999
NUMBER ONE FAN - 1995
SEASON OF CHANGE - 1994
HARMONY CATS - 1993
SPACE CATS - 1992
BURIED ALIVE - 1990
DIXIE LANES - 1988
CHRISTMAS COMES TO WILLOW CREEK - TV - 1987
GREMLINS - 1984
HEART LIKE A WHEEL - 1983
THE BLACK STALLION - 1979
SMOKY - Actor and Soundtrack - 1966


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Hoyt Axton in GREMLINS (1984).