William “Billy” Ray Cyrus (born August 25, 1961) is a singer-songwriter and actor. He is a 1979 graduate of Russell High School (located in Russell, KY), where he was on both the varsity football and baseball teams.
Cyrus began singing as a child and learned to play guitar as well. He got his first recording contract in 1990 and released his first album two years later. The album did very well, debuting in the top spot on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and eventually reaching 9x multi-platinum status in the U.S. One single, “Achy Breaky Heart,” became a huge hit, and the video made line dancing extremely popular.
Over the course of his musical career, Cyrus has released 14 studio albums and had 16 singles in the top 40, including eight that reached the top ten on the Billboard Country Songs chart.
Cyrus has also done quite a bit of acting. He is well-known for co-starring in Hannah Montana (2006 – 2011) with daughter Miley and also starred in the PAX series, Doc (2001 – 2004). Other acting credits include roles in the films Mulholland Drive (2002) and Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014) as well as guest appearances in The Nanny, Diagnosis Murder, and Phineas and Ferb. He was also a contestant on the 2007 season of Dancing with the Stars.
Cyrus was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Walkway of Stars in 1992 and into the VFW Hall of Fame in 1996.
Awards (partial list):
- Country Music Association Award for Single of the Year for “Achy Breaky Heart.” 1992
- Billboard Music Award for Billboard 200 Albums – Most Weeks at No. 1 for Some Gave All. 1992
- Country Music Television award for Most Popular Music Video for “Achy Breaky Heart.” 1992
- American Music Award for Favorite Country New Artist. 1993
- Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment. 1995