Henry in 1978
December 9, 1930
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation||Screenwriter, actor, director|
Henry Zuckerman (born December 9, 1930), credited as Buck Henry, 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. His long career began on television with work on shows with Steve Allen and Mel Brooks as well as Saturday Night Live.
Henry was born to a Jewish family in New York City, the son of silent film actress and star of the original Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Ruth Taylor (January 13, 1905 – April 12, 1984) and Paul Steinberg Zuckerman (April 15, 1899 – 1965), a retired Air Force brigadier general and stockbroker.
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 made public appearances as G. Clifford Prout, the quietly outraged president of the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, who presented his point of view on talk shows.. The character of Prout, who wished to clothe all animals in order to prevent their 'indecency', was often presented as an eccentric but was otherwise taken seriously by the broadcasters who interviewed him. 'Prout' received many letters of support from TV viewers, and even some unsolicited monetary donations -- all of which were invariably returned, as neither Henry nor Abel (who had no intention of following through on the Society's stated aims) wanted to be accused of raising money fraudulently.
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 fractal 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
Henry hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live 10 times between 1976 and 1980, making him the show's most frequent host during its initial five-year run, thus setting a record that held for nearly a decade. This figure does not include the show's second-season Mardi Gras special, for which he was not in fact credited as host, but rather as one of several guest comedy and musical performers. Because he was featured more prominently than any of the other comedy performers who guested on the special episode (which was broadcast live from within the midst of Mardi Gras events in New Orleans), he is sometimes erroneously considered to have been the host of the program. (This role could be more accurately described as having been filled by musical performer Randy Newman). It became a tradition during these years for Henry to host the final show of each season, beginning with the 1976-1977 season. Henry's frequent host record would be broken when Steve Martin made his 11th appearance as host of the show on the finale episode of the 1988-1989 season. 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
- 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 is watching (played by Gilda Radner and Laraine Newman) as games.
Celebrity impersonations on SNL
Film and stage career
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, Short Cuts, 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.
Henry shared an Oscar nomination with Calder Willingham for their screenplay for The Graduate (1967). He received a second shared Oscar nomination, this time for Best Director of 1978's Heaven Can Wait, which he co-directed with the movie's star Warren Beatty. In 1997, Henry was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival's Distinguished Screenwriter Award.
|1959||The Bridge||Voice||English Version|
|1964||The Troublemaker||T.R. Kingston||Also Writer|
|1967||The Graduate||Desk Clerk||Also Writer|
|1968||The Secret War of Harry Frigg||Stockade Commandant|
|1968||Candy||Mental Patient||Also Writer|
|1970||Catch-22||Lieutenant Colonel Korn||Also Writer|
|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||Also Writer/Director|
|1979||Old Boyfriends||Art Kopple|
|1980||First Family||Father Sandstone/TV Anchorman||Also Writer/Director|
|1982||Eating Raoul||Mr. Leech|
|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 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||Also Writer|
|1997||The Real Blonde||Dr. Leuter|
|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 & Country||Suttler||Also Writer|
|2004||The Last Shot||Lonnie Bosco|
|2011||A Bird of the Air||Duncan Weber|
|2015||Kiss Kiss Fingerbang||Cat Owner||Short|
|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|
|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|
- The Troublemaker (1964) (with Theodore J. Flicker)
- The Graduate (1967) (with Calder Willingham)
- Candy (1968)
- Catch-22 (1970)
- The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)
- Is There Sex After Death? (1971) (Uncredited)
- What's Up, Doc? (1972) (with Peter Bogdanovich, Robert Benton and David Newman)
- The Day of the Dolphin (1973)
- Heaven Can Wait (1978)
- First Family (1980)
- Protocol (1984)
- To Die For (1995)
- Town & Country (2001)
- The Humbling (2014) (with Michal Zebede)
- That Was the Week That Was (1964) (3 episodes)
- Captain Nice (1967) (2 episodes) (creator)
- Get Smart (1965–1970) (co-creator)
- Quark (1978) (7 episodes)
- The New Show (1984) (TV) (5 episodes)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985) (1 episode "Wake Me When I'm Dead")
- Trying Times (1989) (TV) (director)
- Tales from the Crypt (1992) (1 episode)
- Great Railway Journeys (1996) (1 episode)
- Dilbert (2000) (1 episode)
- I Miss Sonja Henie (1971) (Short film)
- Heaven Can Wait (1978) (with Warren Beatty)
- First Family (1980)
- Trying Times (1989) (TV) (director)
- Tampa Jewish Federation: "Jews in the News: Carrie Fisher, Norman Lear and Stephen Tobolowsky" retrieved March 18, 2017
- "Buck Henry Biography". Filmreference.com. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
- "That Old Feeling: Sweet Smells". TIME. March 21, 2002. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
- [Displaying Abstract] (September 5, 2010). "PAUL S. ZUCKERMAN, BROKER HERE, WAS 66 - Obituary - NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
- Crockett, Zachary (March 16, 2016). "The Hoaxster Who Revealed Sad Truths About America". Priceonomics. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
- Alec Baldwin is now the most frequent male host in SNL history with 16 episodes from 1990 to 2011.
- 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.
- "Buck Henry and Holland Taylor Cast in Lisa Ebersole's play, Mother". Playbill.com. May 11, 2009. Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved September 21, 2010.