Willie Nelson

The American icon is a legend of country music and has had a lengthy career of acting and activism as well.

Country music legend Willie Nelson is a true American icon. As he turns 80 on April 30, 2013, he's been honored with lifetime achievement awards, serenaded at special performances and saluted by musicians from every genre of music.

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Nelson performs onstage at Global Green USA's 10th anniversary pre-Oscar party at Avalon in Hollywood on Feb. 20, 2013.

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Nelson is flanked by his wife, Annie D'Angelo, left, and singer Sheryl Crow backstage during Keith Urban's fourth annual "We're All for the Hall" benefit concert at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., on April 16, 2013.

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Nelson is shown in a booking photo provided by the Hudspeth Country Sheriff's Department, in Sierra Blanca, Texas, on Nov. 26, 2010. Nelson was arrested for possession of marijuana and released on $2,500 bond.

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Nelson stars alongside Jessica Simpson in the 2007 film "Blonde Ambition" about a small town girl who moves to New York City to become a successful business woman.

Nelson performs during day three of the Coachella Music Festival held at the Empire Polo Field in Nindio, Calif., on April 29, 2007.

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A poster for Bio Willie Diesel Fuel is posted on the podium as Nelson speaks at the Pearson Ford alternative fuel station in San Diego on Feb. 8, 2006. Nelson unveiled his first pump in California, that dispenses his brand of 20 percent biodiesel fuel.

Denis Poroy

Uncle Jesse (Nelson) punches out Boss Hogg (Burt Reynolds) in the 2005 film adaptation of "The Dukes of Hazzard."

After singing "Georgia On My Mind," Nelson seems overcome as he and the Rev. Jesse Jackson embrace during funeral services for Ray Charles at First AME Church in Los Angeles on Friday, June 18, 2004.

Reed Saxon

Nelson, center, leads a large group of celebrities as they sing "America the Beautiful" at the finale of the live television telethon, "America, A Tribute to Heroes," in Los Angeles on Sept. 21, 2001. The telethon was aimed at aiding victims of the attacks in New York and Washington on 9/11. Some celebrities pictured are Mariah Carey, Halle Berry, Stevie Wonder, Kelsey Grammer, Tom Cruise, Neil Young, Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller.

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Nelson takes a drag off a joint while relaxing at his home in Texas. A large amount of marijuana is spread out on the table in front of him. The country star has long been an advocate for the use -- and legalization -- of marijuana.

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Nelson is among the recipients of the 1998 Kennedy Center Honors on Dec. 5, 1998, in Washington, DC. He is joined by, from left, standing, Bill Cosby, John Kander, and Fred Ebb, and sitting from left, Cherly Temple Black and Andre Previn. Each year the Kennedy Center Honors celebrate the lifetime achievements of America's greatest performing artists with a star-studded evening of song, dance, and tribute.

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Nelson gives a thank you speech alongside fellow country stars Kris Kristofferson, center, and Johnny Cash for his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the Country Music Association Awards at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., on Sep. 29, 1993.


Nelson and Waylon Jennings perform on stage at Farm Aid V at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, on March 14, 1992. Nelson started the series of benefit concerts in an effort to raise money for family farmers.

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Nelson stars as the Rev. Julian Shay in the 1986 Western "Red Headed Stranger."

Actor Don Johnson, left, and Nelson are seen on the set while filming an episode of the TV series "Miami Vice," in Miami, Fla., on June 27, 1986.

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Nelson starred as Buck Bonham in the 1980 film "Honeysuckle Rose."

Nelson was part of the USA for Africa supergroup that recorded the 1985 song and video "We Are the World." Proceeds from sales of the song, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, were aimed at providing African famine relief.

Nelson, center, shares the stage with former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter, following the singing of "Amazing Grace" at a centennial concert in Plains, Ga., on May 18, 1985.

Ric Feld

Former first lady Nancy Reagan, left, shares a laugh with Ray Charles, center, and Nelson and other entertainers at a salute to country music at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC., on March 16, 1983.

Nelson stars in the title role from the 1982 film "Barbarosa," in which he played a legendary outlaw. Gary Busey also starred.

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Nelson performs on stage on Feb. 13, 1979. The country music legend has recorded more than 60 studio albums and appeared in over 30 films and TV shows.

Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives

Nelson is pictured around 1967 without the long hair and beard that would become his trademark.

Michael Ochs Archives / Michael Ochs Archives