Friday Night Lights

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Charlie Billingsley Character Analysis

Don Billingsley’s father, Charlie, too, was a running back for Permian, arguably more talented than Don—but Charlie shares Don’s propensity for drinking, womanizing, and fighting. By the end of the football season, Charlie has drifted away from Don, and is back in rehab, having tried, and failed, to remain sober to watch Don play.

Charlie Billingsley Quotes in Friday Night Lights

The Friday Night Lights quotes below are all either spoken by Charlie Billingsley or refer to Charlie Billingsley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Football Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Perseus edition of Friday Night Lights published in 1990.
Chapter 4: Dreaming of Heroes Quotes

I’ve spilt more whiskey than most people have drunk . . . I wouldn’t have married a couple of girls I married . . . .

Related Characters: Charlie Billingsley (speaker)
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

Charlie Billingsley is the great example of the hard-drinking, hard-living former football player—the person for whom life ceases to grow after high school, after the Panthers. Bissinger uses Charlie not to make fun of him, but to indicate that the pressures placed on Permian players can last throughout their lives. The experience of being a star at a very young age, and of carrying the expectations of a whole town, can take its toll.

Charlie lives a "boom-bust" life, and his personal finances are often a mess. He marries, he divorces. Life is, for him, a game not unlike football—one in which a person plays as hard as he can, only to be knocked out all at once, kept on the sidelines via injury or bad luck. 


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Charlie Billingsley Character Timeline in Friday Night Lights

The timeline below shows where the character Charlie Billingsley appears in Friday Night Lights. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Dreaming of Heroes
Football Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
...Paso Austin. Bissinger moves from Winchell to a running back named Don Billingsley, whose father Charlie sits in the stands, watching his son play. (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Charlie Billingsley was a notable running back for Permian in the 1960s, where he was also... (full context)
Football Theme Icon
Race and Racial Divisions Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Winning, Losing, and a Purpose in Life Theme Icon
Charlie, watching the El Paso game from the stands, comments that he is perhaps living through... (full context)