Billy Ray Cyrus Biography

Singer, Television Actor, Songwriter, Actor, Film Actor (1961–)
Billy Ray Cyrus is a country singer/songwriter who is perhaps now more famous for his TV and film roles than for his music.


Born in Flatwoods, Kentucky, Billy Ray Cyrus, once known for his country singing, hunky good looks and mullet hairstyle, went on to a career as an actor. His first album hit the top of the pop and country charts, driven in part of the success of "Achy Breaky Heart." In 2006, he took the role of the father of two in the Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, which launched him into a new realm of fame.

Early Success

Singer, songwriter and actor Billy Ray Cyrus was born on August 25, 1961, in Flatwoods, Kentucky. Once famous for his international hit country song, "Achy Breaky Heart," hunky good looks and mullet hairstyle, Cyrus has built a career as an actor as well as a singer.

The son of a politician, Cyrus started his singing career performing gospel music in a group with his father. He went on to form the band Sly Dog in the early 1980s, and later found success as a solo artist, signing a recording contract with Mercury Records in 1990. His first album, Some Gave All (1992), hit the top of the pop and country charts, driven in part of the success of the single "Achy Breaky Heart." The up-tempo song about heartbreak became a huge sensation, inspiring its own dance. His follow-up album, It Won't Be the Last (1993), also saw strong sales, but no big crossover hits like his first recording.

Acting Debut

Subsequent albums fared well on the country charts, reaching the top 20 with Storm in the Heartland (1994), Trail of Tears (1996) and Southern Rain (2000). But Cyrus was unable to shake the expectations that came with "Achy Breaky Heart" as he struggled to prove himself to be more than a one-hit wonder. In 1999, he began acting, making a guest appearance on The Love Boat and later landing a small part on David Lynch's television film, Mulholland Drive.

In 2001, Cyrus took on the lead role in the medical drama Doc. He played Clint Cassidy, a country doctor who moves to New York City for love, only to experience heartbreak. Even after being dumped, he decides to stay in the city and work for an HMO. The series aired on the PAX television network and this family-friendly show earned its share of fans. Some of Cyrus' music also found its way on to the program as well, including tracks from his 2000 album Southern Rain. The show ended in 2004.

Teaming up with Miley

Cyrus wasn't off television for long. He returned in 2006 in the role of Robby Stewart, the father of two in the Disney Channel's Hannah Montana. The show featured a young teenager named Miley Stewart—played by Cyrus’s own daughter, Miley Cyrus—with a secret life as a pop music sensation known as Hannah Montana. The father-daughter team recorded the song "I Learned for You" for the show's soundtrack. They also recorded a song together for Bill Ray Cyrus's 2006 album, Wanna Be Your Joe.

'Dancing with the Stars'

In 2007, Cyrus joined the ranks of such celebrity competitors as Olympic speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno, singer Joey Fatone and actor Ian Ziering on the popular series Dancing with the Stars. While he struggled with his dance routines, he lasted for eight weeks of the competition, which was eventually won by Ohno.

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