Buck Henry

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Buck Henry
Buck Henry (4970849739).jpg
Henry in 1978
Born Henry Zuckerman
(1930-12-09) December 9, 1930 (age 84)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation Screenwriter, actor, director
Years active 1964-present
Spouse(s) Irene Henry

Henry Zuckerman, credited as Buck Henry (born December 9, 1930), is an American actor, writer, film director, and television director. He has been nominated for an Academy Award twice, in 1968 for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Graduate and in 1979 for Best Director for Heaven Can Wait.

Early life[edit]

Henry was born in New York City, the son of silent film actress and star of the original Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Ruth Taylor, and Paul Steinberg Zuckerman (April 15, 1899 – 1965), a retired Air Force brigadier general and stockbroker.[1][2][3]

Buck Henry attended The Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall) and Dartmouth College, where he met Bob Rafelson, and also worked on the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern humor magazine. From 1959 to 1962, as part of an elaborate hoax by comedian Alan Abel, he pretended to be G. Clifford Prout, the quietly outraged president of the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, who presented his point of view on talk shows.[citation needed]

Television career[edit]

Henry's dry humor attracted attention in the entertainment community. He became a cast member on TV programs such as The New Steve Allen Show (1961) and That Was The Week That Was (1964–65). He was a co-creator and writer for Get Smart (1965–70), with Mel Brooks. Two of his TV projects had short runs but are fondly remembered by fans: Captain Nice (1967) with William Daniels as a reluctant superhero, and Quark (1978), with Richard Benjamin in command of a garbage scow in outer space. He also played Dr. Victor Rudman, a fractile scientist who dated Murphy, on the "My Dinner With Einstein" episode (1989) of Murphy Brown.

He appeared on the television show Will and Grace in 2005. In 2007, he made two guest appearances on The Daily Show as a contributor, billed as the show's "Senior Senior Correspondent". He has also appeared as Liz Lemon's father, Dick Lemon, in the 30 Rock episodes "Ludachristmas" (December 13, 2007) and "Gentleman's Intermission" (November 4, 2010). In 2011, he appeared in a multi-episode arc of Hot in Cleveland as Elka's groom.

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Henry hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live 10 times between 1976 and 1980. It became a tradition in those four years for him to host the final show of each season. Henry also hosted the only live remote attempted by SNL, broadcast live from Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Henry's frequent host record would be broken when Steve Martin hosted the 14th season finale in 1989.[4] During the October 30, 1976 episode, Buck Henry was injured in the forehead by John Belushi's katana in the samurai sketch. Henry's head began to bleed and he was forced to wear a large bandage on his forehead for the rest of the show. As a gag, the members of the SNL cast each wore a bandage on their foreheads as well.

Recurring characters on SNL[edit]

  • Howard, a sadistic stunt coordinator
  • Marshall DiLaMuca, father of Bill Murray's character Todd in The Nerds sketches
  • Mr. Dantley, the straight man and frequent customer to Samurai Futaba's (John Belushi) many businesses.
  • Uncle Roy, a single, pedophilic babysitter who disguises his attempts at molesting the children he's watching (played by Gilda Radner and Laraine Newman) as games.

Celebrity impersonations on SNL[edit]

Film and stage career[edit]

Henry has appeared in more than 40 films including The Graduate, Candy, Catch-22, Taking Off, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Gloria, Eating Raoul, Aria, Tune in Tomorrow, Defending Your Life, The Player,[5] and Grumpy Old Men. He co-directed Heaven Can Wait, the 1978 remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan, and appeared in the film as an officious angel, reprising the character originally played by Edward Everett Horton.

His many writing credits include Candy, The Owl and the Pussycat, What's Up, Doc?, Catch-22, The Day of the Dolphin, Protocol, and To Die For. He shared an Oscar nomination for his screenplay, The Graduate, a film in which he made a cameo appearance. In 1997, Henry was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival's Distinguished Screenwriter Award.

His Broadway credits include the 2002 revival of Morning's at Seven. Off-Broadway in July 2009, he starred opposite Holland Taylor in Mother, a play by Lisa Ebersole.[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1959 The Bridge Voice English Version
1964 The Troublemaker T.R. Kingston
1967 The Graduate Room Clerk
1968 The Secret War of Harry Frigg Stockade Commandant
1968 Candy Mental Patient
1970 Catch-22 Lieutenant Colonel Korn
1970 The Owl and the Pussycat Bookstore Man Uncredited
1971 Taking Off Larry Tyne
1971 Is There Sex After Death? Dr. Louise Manos
1973 The Day of the Dolphin Women's Club Man Uncredited
1976 The Man Who Fell to Earth Oliver Farnsworth
1977 The Absent-Minded Waiter Bernie Cates Short
1978 Heaven Can Wait The Escort
1979 Old Boyfriends Art Kopple
1980 Gloria Jack Dawn
1980 First Family Father Sandstone/TV Anchorman
1981 Strong Medicine
1982 Eating Raoul Mr. Leech
1987 Aria Preston
1989 Rude Awakening Lloyd Stool
1990 Tune In Tomorrow Father Serafim
1991 Defending Your Life Dick Stanley
1991 The Linguini Incident Cecil
1991 Shakespeare's Plan 12 from Outer Space The Priest
1992 The Player Himself
1992 The Lounge People Lewis Louis
1993 Short Cuts Gordon Johnson
1993 Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Dr. Dreyfus
1993 Grumpy Old Men Snyder
1995 To Die For H. Finlaysson
1997 The Real Blonde Dr. Leuter
1998 1999 Mr. Goldman
1998 I'm Losing You Phillip Dagrom
1998 Curtain Call Charles Van Allsburg
1998 The Man Who Counted George Postlewait Short
1999 Breakfast of Champions Fred T. Barry
2000 Lisa Picard is Famous Buck Henry
2001 Town and Country Suttler
2001 Serendipity Himself Uncredited
2004 The Last Shot Lonnie Bosco
2011 A Bird of the Air Duncan Weber
2013 Streetcar Sheriff Short
2015 Kiss Kiss Fingerbang Cat Owner Short


Year Title Role Notes
1961 The New Steve Allen Show Regular 5 episodes
1964-1965 That Was the Week That Was Himself
1975 The Owl and the Pussycat Felix Sherman TV Pilot
1976-1980, 1989 Saturday Night Live Host/Himself 17 episodes
1976 That Was the Year That Was - 1976 News Reporter TV Movie
1978 Quark Dignitary 1 episode
1984 The New Show Regular 9 episodes
1985 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Walter Lang 1 episode
1987-1988 Falcon Crest Foster Glenn 3 episodes
1989 Murphy Brown Victor Rudman 1 episode
1989 Trying Times Man on TV 1 episode
1992 Keep the Change Smitty TV Movie
1992 Tales from the Crypt George 1 episode
1992 Eek! The Cat Cupid 1 episode
1992 Mastergate Clay Fielder TV Movie
1995 Harrison Bergeron TV Producer TV Movie
1999 Dilbert Dadbert 1 episode
2005 Will & Grace Leonard 1 episode
2007 The Daily Show Contributor 2 episodes
2007-2010 30 Rock Dick Lemon 2 episodes
2011 Hot in Cleveland Fred 3 episodes
2012 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mr. Morton 1 episode
2013 Franklin & Bash Judge Henry Dinsdale 2 episodes

Writing credits[edit]



Directing Credits[edit]


  1. ^ "Buck Henry Biography". Filmreference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  2. ^ "That Old Feeling: Sweet Smells". TIME. March 21, 2002. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  3. ^ [Displaying Abstract] (September 5, 2010). "PAUL S. ZUCKERMAN, BROKER HERE, WAS 66 - Obituary - NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  4. ^ Alec Baldwin is now the most frequent male host in SNL history with 16 episodes from 1990 to 2011.
  5. ^ Henry's cameo in The Player had him (playing himself) pitching a 20-years-later sequel to The Graduate, which Henry later claimed led to real-life interest in such a project from some studios.
  6. ^ "Buck Henry and Holland Taylor Cast in Lisa Ebersole's play, Mother". Playbill.com. May 11, 2009. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 

External links[edit]