Dwight David Yoakam (born October 23, 1956) is an American singer-songwriter, actor and film director, most famous for his pioneering country music. Popular since the early 1980s, he has recorded more than twenty-one albums and compilations, has charted more than thirty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 25 million records.
Yoakam was born in Pikeville, Kentucky, the son of Ruth Ann, a key-punch operator, and David Yoakam, a gas-station owner. Like many Kentucky families of the mid-20th century, the Yoakams moved to Ohio in hopes of creating a better life. However, Yoakam has always maintained a strong connection with his Kentucky roots, as evident by many of his songs, such as "Readin', Rightin', Route 23," "Bury Me," "Floyd County," "Louisville," "Miner's Prayer" and "I Sang Dixie."
Yoakam has also starred in many films, most notably in critically acclaimed performances as an abusive alcoholic in Sling Blade (1996), as a sociopathic killer in Panic Room (2002), as the sheriff in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2002) and as a police detective in Hollywood Homicide (2005). He appeared in a supporting role as Doc Miles, the doctor for Chev Chelios, in Crank and its sequel, Crank 2: High Voltage. In addition, he also guest starred in the King of the Hill episode Nine Very Angry Men as Lane Pratley. Yoakam also had a cameo appearance in the 2005 comedy movie Wedding Crashers. In 2008, Yoakam played Pastor Phil in Four Christmases, starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, and he appears in the upcoming film Dirty Girl. He also appeared in The Last Rites of Ransom Pride, an independent 2010 Western that also stars fellow country singer Kris Kristofferson. In 1993, he played a truck driver in the Wyoming crime thriller, Red Rock West.