Henry in 1978
December 9, 1930
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation||Screenwriter, actor, director|
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.
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.
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.
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
Henry hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live 10 times between 1976 and 1980. It became a tradition in those four years for him to the host 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. 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's 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, 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.
- 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)
- The Nude Bomb (1980) (characters with Mel Brooks)
- First Family (1980)
- Protocol (1984)
- To Die For (1995)
- Town and Country (2001)
- The Humbling (2014)
- That Was the Week That Was (1964) (3 episodes)
- Captain Nice (1967) (2 episodes)
- 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, Season 04, E05 Beauty Rest (1992) (actor)
- Great Railway Journeys (1996) (1 episode)
- I Miss Sonia Henie (1971) (Short film)
- Heaven Can Wait (1978) (with Warren Beatty)
- First Family (1980)
- Trying Times (1989) (TV) (director)
- "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.
- 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. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
- Buck Henry at the Internet Movie Database
- Buck Henry interview video at the Archive of American Television