Gary Busey at the Billboard-Children Uniting Nations after-party red carpet in 2008.
June 29, 1944 |
Goose Creek, Texas, United States
Gary Busey (born June 29, 1944) is an American actor. He has appeared in films such as Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), The Buddy Holly Story (1978), Big Wednesday (1978), Silver Bullet (1985), Eye of the Tiger (1986), Lethal Weapon (1987), Predator 2 (1990), Point Break (1991), Under Siege (1992), The Firm (1993), Rookie of the Year (1994), Surviving the Game (1994), Drop Zone (1994), Black Sheep (1996), Lost Highway (1997), Soldier (1998), and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998). In addition he has had guest appearances on shows such as Gunsmoke, Walker, Texas Ranger, Law & Order, Scrubs, and Entourage. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1978 for his role in The Buddy Holly Story.
Busey was born in Goose Creek, Texas, the son of Sadie Virginia (née Arnett), a homemaker, and Delmer Lloyd Busey, a construction design manager. He graduated from Nathan Hale High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1962. While attending Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas on a football scholarship, he became interested in acting. He then transferred to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he quit school just one class short of graduation.
Busey began his show business career as a drummer in The Rubber Band. He appears on several Leon Russell recordings, credited as playing drums under the names "Teddy Jack Eddy" and "Sprunk", a character he created when he was a cast member of a local television comedy show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called The Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting on station KTUL (which starred fellow Tulsan Gailard Sartain as "Dr. Mazeppa Pompazoidi"). For his skits on Uncanny Film Festival, Busey drew on his American Hero, belligerent, know-it-all character. When he told Gailard Sartain his character needed a name, Sartain replied, "Take three: Teddy, Jack and Eddy."
He played in a band called Carp, which released one album on Epic Records in 1969. Busey continued to play several small roles in both film and television during the 1970s. In 1975, as the character "Harvey Daley," he was the last person killed on the series Gunsmoke (in the third-to-last episode, No. 633 – "The Busters").
Rise to prominence
In 1976, he was hired by Barbra Streisand and her producer-boyfriend Jon Peters to play Bobby Ritchie, road manager to Kris Kristofferson's character in the remake film A Star is Born. On the DVD commentary of the film, Streisand says Busey was great and that she had seen him on a TV series and thought he had the right qualities to play the role.
In 1978, he starred as rock legend Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story with Sartain as The Big Bopper. For his performance, Busey received the greatest critical acclaim of his career and the movie earned Busey an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and the National Society of Film Critics' Best Actor award. In the film, he changes the lyrics to the song "Well All Right" and sings, "We're gonna love Teddy Jack..." a reference to his Teddy Jack Eddy persona. In the same year he also starred in the small yet acclaimed drama Straight Time and the surfing movie Big Wednesday, which is now a minor cult classic.
In the 1980s, Busey's roles included the critically acclaimed western Barbarosa (1982), the comedies D.C. Cab (1983) and Insignificance (1985), and the Stephen King adaption Silver Bullet (1985). Perhaps most notably, he played one of the primary antagonists in the smash hit action comedy Lethal Weapon (1987).
In the 1990s, he had prominent supporting roles in successful action films such as Predator 2 (1990), Point Break (1991) and Under Siege (1992), which remain some of his best-known roles today. He also appeared in a number of other notable films such as Rookie of the Year (1993), The Firm (1993), Black Sheep (1996), Lost Highway (1997), and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), further establishing himself as a prolific actor in major films. Many of these characters are defined by their dynamic yet odd and offbeat personalities.
Since the turn of the century, Busey has appeared in very few mainstream films. In 2002, Busey voiced the character Phil Cassidy in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, then again in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories in 2006. In 2005, he also voiced himself on an episode of The Simpsons and appeared in the popular miniseries Into the West. Busey controversially appeared in the 2006 Turkish nationalist film Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, (Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak, in Turkish), which was accused of fascism, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.
In 2008, he joined the second season of the reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Busey returned to reality television in Celebrity Apprentice 4, which premiered in March 2011, and appeared again in Celebrity Apprentice 6. There, he briefly reprised his role as Buddy Holly by performing "Not Fade Away".
In a series of 2010 YouTube advertisements for Vitamin Water, Busey appeared as Norman Tugwater, a lawyer who defends professional athletes' entitlements to a cut from Fantasy Football team owners.
In 1971, Busey's wife Judy Helkenberg gave birth to their son, William Jacob "Jake" Busey. Busey and Helkenberg divorced when Jake was 19 years old. Busey has a daughter named Alectra from a previous relationship. In February 2010, Busey's girlfriend Steffanie Sampson gave birth to their son, Luke Sampson Busey.
On December 4, 1988, Busey was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in which he was not wearing a helmet. His skull was fractured, and doctors feared he suffered permanent brain damage. During the filming of the second season of Celebrity Rehab in 2008, Busey was referred to psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy. Sophy suspected that Busey's brain injury has had a greater effect on him than realized. He described it as essentially weakening his mental "filters" and causing him to speak and act impulsively. Sophy recommended Busey take valproic acid (Depakote), with which Busey agreed.
In 1997, after recurring nosebleeds, he underwent surgery to remove a golf-ball-sized cancerous tumor from his sinus cavity, and after surgery he underwent radiation therapy.
- 1968: Wild in the Streets
- 1971: Angels Hard as They Come (a.k.a. Angel Warriors)
- 1972: The Magnificent Seven Ride!
- 1972: Dirty Little Billy
- 1973: Lolly-Madonna XXX (a.k.a. The Lolly-Madonna War)
- 1973: Blood Sport (TV movie)
- 1973: Hex
- 1973: The Last American Hero (a.k.a. Hard Driver)
- 1974: The Execution of Private Slovik (TV movie)
- 1974: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
- 1974: The Law (TV movie)
- 1975: You and Me
- 1976: A Star Is Born
- 1976: The Gumball Rally
- 1978: The Buddy Holly Story
- 1978: Straight Time
- 1978: Big Wednesday
- 1980: Carny
- 1980: Foolin' Around
- 1982: Barbarosa
- 1983: Didn't You Hear...
- 1983: D.C. Cab
- 1984: The Bear
- 1985: Insignificance
- 1985: Silver Bullet
- 1985: Half a Lifetime (TV movie)
- 1986: Eye of the Tiger
- 1986: Let's Get Harry
- 1987: Lethal Weapon
- 1988: Bulletproof
- 1988: A Dangerous Life (TV miniseries)
- 1989: The Neon Empire (TV movie)
- 1989: Hider in the House
- 1990: Act of Piracy
- 1990: Predator 2
- 1991: Point Break
- 1991: My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
- 1991: Wild Texas Wind (TV movie)
- 1992: Chrome Soldiers (TV movie)
- 1992: Canvas
- 1992: Under Siege
- 1993: The Firm
- 1993: Rookie of the Year
- 1993: South Beach
- 1994: Breaking Point
- 1994: Surviving the Game
- 1994: Drop Zone
- 1994: Warriors
- 1994: Chasers
- 1995: Man with a Gun
- 1996: Livers Ain't Cheap (a.k.a. The Real Thing)
- 1996: One Clean Move
- 1996: Black Sheep
- 1996: Carried Away (a.k.a. Acts of Love)
- 1996: Sticks & Stones
- 1996: The Chain
- 1997: Steel Sharks
- 1997: Suspicious Minds
- 1997: Before They Were Pros (TV movie)
- 1997: The Rage
- 1997: Lost Highway
- 1997: Lethal Tender
- 1997: Plato's Run
- 1997: Hawaii Five-O (TV movie)
- 1997: Rough Riders (TV miniseries)
- 1998: The Girl Next Door (TV movie)
- 1998: Rough Draft
- 1998: Soldier
- 1998: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- 1998: Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms (TV movie)
- 1998: Detour (a.k.a. Too Hard to Die)
- 1999: Two Shades of Blue
- 1999: Hot Boyz (a.k.a. Gang Law)
- 1999: The Girl Next Door
- 1999: No Tomorrow
- 1999: Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang
- 2000: A Crack in the Floor
- 2000: Tribulation
- 2000: Glory Glory (a.k.a. Hooded Angels)
- 2000: G-Men from Hell
- 2000: A Crack in the Floor
- 2001: Down 'n Dirty
- 2002: Sam and Janet
- 2002: On the Edge
- 2002: Welcome 2 Ibiza
- 2002: Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice
- 2003: Frost: Portrait of a Vampire
- 2003: The Prize Fighter
- 2003: Quigley (a.k.a. Daddy Dog Day)
- 2003: Scorched
- 2003: The Shadowlands
- 2003: Ghost Rock
- 2004: Shade of Pale
- 2004: Motocross Kids
- 2004: Fallacy
- 2004: Lexie
- 2004: El Padrino
- 2004: Border Blues
- 2004: Latin Dragon
- 2005: The Hand Job
- 2005: Souled Out
- 2005: No Rules
- 2005: Chasing Ghosts
- 2005: A Sight for Sore Eyes (Short)
- 2005: Esenin (TV miniseries)
- 2005: The Baker's Dozen
- 2005: Into the West (TV miniseries)
- 2005: Buckaroo: The Movie
- 2005: The Gingerdead Man
- 2006: The Hard Easy
- 2006: Descansos
- 2006: Valley of the Wolves: Iraq
- 2006: Dr. Dolittle 3 (voice)
- 2006: Shut Up and Shoot!
- 2006: Soft Target
- 2006: Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film (Documentary)
- 2007: Lady Samurai
- 2007: Homo Erectus (a.k.a. National Lampoon's The Stoned Age and Dawn of Sex)
- 2007: Blizhniy Boy: The Ultimate Fighter
- 2007: Succubus: Hell-Bent
- 2007: Maneater (TV movie)
- 2008: Beyond the Ring
- 2009: Hallettsville
- 2009: Down and Distance
- 2010: Freaky Saturday Night Fever
- 2011: Guido
- 2011: Jenny
- 2012: Change of Heart
- 2012: Piranha 3DD
- 2012: Lizzie
- 2013: Matt's Chance
- 2013: Bounty Killer
- 2014: Confessions of a Womanizer
- 2014: Behaving Badly
- 1970: The High Chaparral (episode: "The Badge")
- 1971: Dan August (episode: "The Manufactured Man")
- 1972: Bonanza (episode: "The Hidden Enemy")
- 1973: Kung Fu (episode: "The Ancient Warrior")
- 1974–75: The Texas Wheelers (all 8 episodes)
- 1975: Gunsmoke (episode: "The Busters")
- 1975: Baretta (episode: "On the Road")
- 1979: Saturday Night Live (March 10) (as himself / host)
- 1985: The Hitchhiker (episode: "W.G.O.D.")
- 1993: Fallen Angels (episode: "Since I Don't Have You")
- 1997: Hawaii Five-O (unaired pilot)
- 1999: Walker, Texas Ranger (episode: "Special Witness")
- 1999: Shasta McNasty (episode: "The Thanksgiving Show")
- 2000: The Outer Limits (episode: "Revival")
- 2000: The Huntress (episode: "What Ralph Left Behind")
- 2001: Law & Order (episode: "Formerly Famous")
- 2001: King of the Hill (episode: "Soldier of Misfortune") (voice)
- 2002: The Man Show (episode: "The Juggbournes") (as himself)
- 2003: Russians in the City of Angels (3 episodes)
- 2003: I'm with Busey (all 13 episodes) (as himself)
- 2004: Penn & Teller: Bulls***! (episode: "12 Stepping") (as himself)
- 2004–05, 2007: Entourage (3 episodes: 1.6, 2.1, 4.8) (as himself)
- 2005: The Simpsons (episode: "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister") (as himself) (voice)
- 2005: Celebrity Fit Club (USA) (Season 2) (as himself / team member)
- 2006: Tom Goes to the Mayor (episode: "Wrestling") (voice)
- 2006: Scrubs (episode: "My Missed Perception") (as Gary Busey lookalike)
- 2006: Celebrity Paranormal Project (all 9 episodes) (as himself)
- 2008: The Cho Show (episode: "Off the Grid") (as himself)
- 2008: Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (Season 2) (as himself / participant)
- 2009: Nite Tales: The Series (episode: "Trapped")
- 2009: The Comedy Central Roast of Larry the Cable Guy (as himself)
- 2011: Celebrity Apprentice 4 (as himself / contestant)
- 2011: Two and a Half Men (episode: "Frodo's Headshots") (as himself)
- 2012: truTV Presents: World's Dumbest... (as himself)
- 2012: Rove LA (4 episodes) (as himself)
- 2012: Celebrity Wife Swap (1 episode) (as himself)
- 2012–13: Mr. Box Office (23 episodes)
- 2013: Celebrity Apprentice 6 (as himself / contestant)
- 2014: American Dad! (episode: "She Swill Survive") (as himself) (voice)
- 2014: Celebrity Big Brother 14 (as himself / contestant and winner)
- 2002: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (voice)
- 2006: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (voice)
- 2008: Saints Row 2 (voice)
Awards and nominations
|1978||Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards||Best Actor||The Buddy Holly Story||
|New Generation Award||Won|
|New York Film Critics Circle Awards||Best Actor||
|1979||Academy Awards||Best Actor in a Leading Role||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy||Nominated|
|National Society of Film Critics Award||Best Actor||Won|
|1980||BAFTA Awards||Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles||Won|
|1987||CableACE Award||Actor in a Dramatic Series||The Hitchhiker||Won|
|2003||DVD Exclusive Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice||Nominated|
|2014||Laugh or Die Comedy Fest||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
- "Texas Births, 1926–1995". familytreelegends.com. Retrieved December 19, 2010.
- "Gary Busey Biography (1923)".
- "Gary Busey". eBiog. Retrieved August 5, 2007.
- Tulsa TV Memories.com, Gary Busey reference as Teddy Jack Eddy in Tulsa, OK.
- Carp at AllMusic
- People May 15, 1989, pp. 65–68
- Gary Busey - Stay All Night on YouTube
- "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister". The Simpsons. Season 16. Episode 11. 2005-06-03. Fox.
- "Turkish rush to embrace anti-US film". BBC News. February 10, 2006. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- "Turkish Film Uproar: Attacking the American Enemy on Screen – International – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News". Der Spiegel. February 22, 2006. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
- Archive of "Celebs Check Into Rehab 2 With Dr. Drew" at the Wayback Machine (archived June 13, 2008), VH! press release, June 10, 2008
- Wright, Adam (November 18, 2010). "Celebrity Apprentice Season Four Cast Revealed". TVDoneWright.com.
- Cassens Weiss, Debra (August 30, 2010). "‘Lawyer Norman Tugwater’ Ready to Sue for Pro Athletes’ Fantasy Rights". ABA Journal. American Bar Association.
- James Peragine. "First Photos: Gary Busey Introduces Son Luke".
- Kate Stanhope. "Gary Busey and Girlfriend Are Expecting". TVGuide.com.
- Moran, W. Reed (July 5, 2001). "Gary Busey ministers to brain injury community". USA Today. Retrieved August 5, 2007.
- "Celebrity Rehab 2 with Dr. Drew , Episode 2 , VH1.com". Retrieved March 26, 2009.
- Cramberg, Joanne. "Tulsa's 'Bad Boy' Gary Busey Accepts Jesus". Retrieved April 29, 2013.
- Virtue, David. "Rescued From The Present Evil Age". Retrieved April 29, 2013.
- "'Two and a Half Men': Gary Busey joins as a mental patient – From Inside the Box – Zap2it". Blog.zap2it.com. November 4, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
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