Billy Bob Thornton is an American actor, director, musician, playwright and screenwriter. Thornton gained early recognition as a cast member on the CBS sitcom Hearts Afire and in several early 1990s films including On Deadly Ground and Tombstone. In the mid-1990s, after writing, directing, and starring in the independent film Sling Blade, he won an Academy Award for Best Writing. He appeared in several major film roles following Sling Blade 's success, including 1998's Armageddon and A Simple Plan. During the late 1990s, Thornton, who has had a life-long love for music, began a career as a singer-songwriter. He has released three albums and was the singer of a blues rock band.