Stephen Stucker

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Stephen Stucker
Born (1947-07-02)July 2, 1947
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Died April 13, 1986(1986-04-13) (aged 38)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Cause of death AIDS-related complications
Resting place Chapel of the Pines Crematory
Nationality American
Occupation Actor
Years active 1975–1986

Stephen Stucker (July 2, 1947 – April 13, 1986) was an American actor, known for portrayals of bizarre, larger-than-life flamboyantly gay characters, notably the manic control-room worker Johnny Henshaw-Jacobs in the early 1980s Airplane! movies and the cross-dressing, rubber-penis-waving stenographer in the courtroom sequence of 1977's The Kentucky Fried Movie.

Early life and career[edit]

Stucker was born in Des Moines, Iowa. His family moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio, where he distinguished himself in school as a pianist and class clown. He graduated from high school in 1965.

Stucker made his screen debut co-starring in the 1975 comedic sexploitation film Carnal Madness as Bruce Wilson, a gay fashion designer who escapes an insane asylum with two fellow inmates, fleeing to an all-girls school. He went on to perform in the 1977 earthquake-in-Los-Angeles comedy Cracking Up, alongside Fred Willard, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer.

Stucker was a scene-stealing member of the cast of the Madison, Wisconsin Kentucky Fried Theater sketch comedy troupe founded by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker.[1] In 1977 he appeared in the John Landis film The Kentucky Fried Movie, based on the troupe's sketches. This led to his memorable supporting role in the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker comedy Airplane!, which he reprised in Airplane II: The Sequel. For the initial film, the writers gave Stucker the straight lines for his scenes and let him write his character's off-the-wall responses.[1]

In 1982 he had a guest role in a three-episode sequence in the TV series Mork and Mindy and, in 1983, he had a small featured role in Landis' Trading Places. In 1984, Stucker had a co-starring role as the sex-obsessed psychiatrist, Dr. Bender, in the teen comedy film Bad Manners (aka: Growing Pains).

Illness and death[edit]

On July 12, 1984, Stucker was diagnosed with AIDS. He later publicly announced his illness, making him one of the first actors to announce he was suffering from the disease.[2]

He died from AIDS-related complications on April 13, 1986 at the age of 38. He was buried in Chapel of the Pines Crematory.


Year Title Role Notes
1975 Delinquent School Girls Bruce Wilson Alternative title: Carnal Madness
1977 Cracking Up Bruce "Tushy" Smith
1977 The Kentucky Fried Movie Stenographer Segment: "Courtroom"
1980 Airplane! Johnny
1982 Mork & Mindy Billy Vincent 3 episodes
1982 Jimmy the Kid 2nd Neighbor
1982 Airplane II: The Sequel Controller Jacobs/Courtroom Clerk
1983 Trading Places Stationmaster
1984 Bad Manners Dr. Bender Alternative title: Growing Pains
1985 Hot Resort Bobby Williams
1988 The Wizard of Speed and Time Piano Choreographer Scenes filmed in 1984; Released posthumously


  1. ^ a b Airplane! DVD commentary
  2. ^ Simross, Lynn (November 14, 1985). "AIDS Victim Runs to Beat the Odds: More Are Showing a Positive Approach to the Disease". Los Angeles Times. p. 4. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 

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