Gary Busey (/ˈbjuːsi/; born June 29, 1944) is an American
actor. A prolific character actor, Busey has appeared in over 150
Lethal Weapon (1987),
Predator 2 (1990), Point Break
Under Siege (1992), The Firm (1993), Carried Away (1996),
Black Sheep (1996), Lost Highway (1997), Fear and Loathing in Las
The Gingerdead Man (2005) and
Piranha 3DD (2012). Busey
also made guest appearances on television shows such as Gunsmoke,
Texas Ranger, Law & Order, Scrubs, and Entourage.
Buddy Holly in The
Buddy Holly Story (1978), Busey was
nominated for the
Academy Award for Best
Actor and won the National
Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor. In 2014, he lampooned
his public image through a series of advertisements for Amazon Fire
1 Early life
2.1 Early career
2.2 Rise to prominence
3 Personal life
4.3 Video games
5 Awards and nominations
7 External links
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
Pittsburg State University in
Pittsburg, Kansas on a football scholarship, he became interested in
acting. He then transferred to
Oklahoma State University in
Oklahoma where he quit school just one class short of
Gary Busey (standing),
Mark Hamill and
Jack Elam from The Texas
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
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
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
Gary Busey at the premiere of A Star Is Born in 1976
In 1974, Busey made his major film debut with a supporting role in
Michael Cimino's buddy action caper Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,
Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges.
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 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, the comedies D.C. Cab and Insignificance, and the
Stephen King adaptation Silver Bullet. He played one of the primary
Mel Gibson and
Danny Glover in the action comedy
In the 1990s, he had prominent supporting roles in successful action
films such as Predator 2, Point Break and Under Siege. He also
appeared in Rookie of the Year, The Firm, Black Sheep, Lost Highway,
and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Busey sang the song "Stay All Night" on
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live in March
1979 (season 4, episode 14), and on the Late Show with David Letterman
in the 1990s.
In 2003, Busey starred in a Comedy Central reality show, I'm with
Busey. In 2005, he also voiced himself in 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 2007, he appeared as himself in a prominent recurring role on HBO's
Entourage, in which he parodied his eccentric image, ultimately
appearing on three episodes of the show.
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 2014, he became a celebrity spokesperson for Amazon Fire TV. That
August, he appeared in, and became the first American winner of the
fourteenth series of the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother.
On September 1, 2015, it was announced that he will be competing on
the 21st season of Dancing with the Stars. He was paired with
professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya. Busey and Trebunskaya made
it to Week 4 of competition but were then eliminated and finished in
Busey in September 2007.
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
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.
In 1996, Busey publicly announced that he was a Christian, saying: "I
am proud to tell Hollywood I am a Christian. For the first time I am
now free to be myself." Busey cites the motorcycle accident,
as well as a 1995 cocaine overdose, as events that strengthened
his religious faith.
In 1997, Busey underwent successful surgery to remove a cancerous,
plum-sized tumor from his sinus cavity. The congenital growth was
found after Busey began suffering nose bleeds.
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
In February 2010, Busey's fiancée Steffanie Sampson gave birth to
their son, Luke Sampson Busey.
In 2015, Busey supported Donald Trump's 2016 presidential bid saying,
"For the American people, vote for
Donald Trump come election
night." In 2015, he again expressed support for Trump's
candidacy for president.
The Love-Ins as Hippie with Loudspeaker (uncredited)
Wild in the Streets
Wild in the Streets as Concert Attendee (uncredited)
Angels Hard as They Come (also known as Angel Warriors) as Henry
The Magnificent Seven Ride!
The Magnificent Seven Ride! as Hank Allen
Dirty Little Billy
Dirty Little Billy as Basil Crabtree
Lolly-Madonna XXX (also known as The Lolly-Madonna War) as Zeb
1973: Hex as Giblets
The Last American Hero (also known as Hard Driver) as Wayne
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Curly
1975: You and Me Himself
1976: A Star Is Born as Ritchie
The Gumball Rally
The Gumball Rally as Gibson - Camaro Team
Buddy Holly Story as Charles Hardin Buddy Holly
Straight Time as Willy Darrin
Big Wednesday as Leroy Smith
1980: Carny as Frankie
Foolin' Around as Wes
Barbarosa as Karl Westover
1983: Didn't You Hear... as James
D.C. Cab as Dell
1984: The Bear as Paul W. Bryant
1985: Insignificance as The Ballplayer
1985: Silver Bullet as Uncle Red
1986: Eye of the Tiger as Buck Matthews
Let's Get Harry
Let's Get Harry as Jack
Lethal Weapon as Joshua
1988: Bulletproof as Frank McBain
1989: Hider in the House as Tom Sykes
Act of Piracy
Act of Piracy as Ted Andrews
Predator 2 as Peter Keyes
1991: Point Break as F.B.I.
Special Agent Angelo Pappas
1991: My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys as Clint
1992: Canvas as Ozzy Decker
Under Siege as Commander Krill
1992: The Player as Himself
1993: The Firm as Eddie Lomax
1993: Rookie of the Year as Chet Steadman
South Beach as Lenny
1994: Breaking Point as Dwight Meadows
Surviving the Game
Surviving the Game as Doc Hawkins
1994: Drop Zone as Sergeant Vince Banger
Warriors as Frank Vail
Chasers as Ty Moncrief
1995: Man with a Gun as Jack Rushton
Livers Ain't Cheap (also known as The Real Thing) as Foreman
1996: One Clean Move as Connie
1996: Black Sheep as Drake
1996: Carried Away (also known as Acts of Love) as Major Nathan
1996: Sticks & Stones as Book's Dad
1996: The Chain as Frank Morrisey
1997: Steel Sharks as Cmdr. Bill McKay
Suspicious Minds as Vic Mulvey
1997: The Rage as Art Dacy
1997: Lost Highway as Bill Dayton
1997: Lethal Tender as Mr. Turner
1997: Plato's Run as Plato
1998: Rough Draft as Nelson Keece
1998: Soldier as Church
1998: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Highway Patrolman
Detour (also known as Too Hard to Die) as Otto Mazur
1999: Two Shades of Blue as Jack Reynolds
1999: Hot Boyz (also known as Gang Law) as Tully
1999: The Girl Next Door as Sheriff Larson
1999: No Tomorrow as Noah
1999: Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang as The Hodded Fang
A Crack in the Floor as Tyler Trout
2000: Tribulation as Tom Canboro
2000: Glory Glory (also known as Hooded Angels)
2000: G-Men from Hell
2001: 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 (also known as Daddy Dog Day)
2003: The Shadowlands
2003: Ghost Rock
2004: Shade of Pale
2004: Motocross Kids
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: The Baker's Dozen
2005: Buckaroo: The Movie
2005: The Gingerdead Man
2006: The Hard Easy
2006: Valley of the Wolves: Iraq
Dr. Dolittle 3
Dr. Dolittle 3 (voice)
2006: Shut Up and Shoot!
2006: Soft Target
2006: Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film
2007: Lady Samurai
2007: Homo Erectus (also known as National Lampoon's The Stoned Age
and Dawn of Sex)
2007: Blizhniy Boy: The Ultimate Fighter
2007: Succubus: Hell-Bent
2008: Beyond the Ring
2009: Down and Distance
2010: Freaky Saturday Night Fever
2012: Change of Heart
2012: Piranha 3DD
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"
The Execution of Private Slovik
The Execution of Private Slovik (movie)
Texas Wheelers (all 8 episodes)
1975: Gunsmoke; episode: "The Busters"
1975: Baretta; episode: "On the Road"
Saturday Night Live
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)
A Dangerous Life (miniseries)
The Neon Empire
The Neon Empire (movie)
Texas Wind (TV movie)
1992: Chrome Soldiers (TV movie)
1997: Hawaii Five-O (movie)
1997: Rough Riders (miniseries)
1998: Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms (movie)
1998: The Girl Next Door (movie)
Texas Ranger; episode: "
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)
I'm with Busey
I'm with Busey (all 13 episodes) (as himself)
2004: Penn & Teller: Bulls***!; episode: "12 Stepping" (as
2004–2005, 2007: Entourage; episodes: 1.6, 2.1, 4.8 (as himself)
2005: Yesenin (miniseries)
2005: The Simpsons; episode: "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister"
(as himself) (voice)
2005: Into the West (miniseries)
2005: Celebrity Fit Club (USA) (season 2) (as himself / team member)
2006: Tom Goes to the Mayor; episode: "Wrestling") (voice of Coach
2006: Scrubs; episode: "My Missed Perception" (as Gary Busey
Celebrity Paranormal Project
Celebrity Paranormal Project (all 9 episodes) (as himself)
2007: Maneater (movie)
2008: The Cho Show; episode: "Off the Grid") (as himself)
Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew
Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (season 2) (as
2009: Nite Tales: The Series; episode: "Trapped"
The Comedy Central Roast of Larry the Cable Guy
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
2012: truTV Presents: World's Dumbest... (as himself)
Rove LA (4 episodes) (as himself)
Celebrity Wife Swap
Celebrity Wife Swap (1 episode) (as himself)
Mr. Box Office
Mr. Box Office (4 episodes)
2013: Celebrity Apprentice 6 (contestant)
2014: American Dad!; episode: "She Swill Survive" (as himself) (voice)
Celebrity Big Brother 14
Celebrity Big Brother 14 (contestant and winner)
2015: Dancing with the Stars (contestant)
2016 Sharknado: The 4th Awakens
2002: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (voice)
2006: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (voice)
Saints Row 2
Saints Row 2 (voice)
2016: Hitman (voice and likeness) (uncredited)
Awards and nominations
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
Buddy Holly Story
New Generation Award
New York Film Critics Circle
Actor in a Leading Role
Golden Globe Awards
Best Motion Picture
Actor – Musical/Comedy
National Society of Film Critics
British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
Actor in a Dramatic Series
^ "William Gary Busey :
Texas Birth Index". Familysearch.org.
Texas Births, 1926–1995". familytreelegends.com. Retrieved
December 19, 2010.
^ "Amazon's official '
Gary Busey meets Amazon Fire TV' commercial
recycles his Celebrity Apprentice task and fails in exactly the same
manner". Techtimes.com. April 7, 2014. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
^ "Watch crazy
Gary Busey talk to himself in another Amazon ad".
Geekwire.com. December 14, 2014. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
Gary Busey Biography (1923)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved
^ "Gary Busey". eBiog. Archived from the original on October 8, 2007.
Retrieved August 5, 2007.
^ Johnny Carson Show August 23, 1985
^ a b c 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"". Archived
from the original on June 13, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2010. CS1
maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) ,
VH! press release,
June 10, 2008
^ Wright, Adam (November 18, 2010). "Celebrity Apprentice Season Four
Cast Revealed". TVDoneWright.com. Archived from the original on
November 29, 2010.
^ Cassens Weiss, Debra (August 30, 2010). "'Lawyer Norman Tugwater'
Ready to Sue for Pro Athletes' Fantasy Rights". ABA Journal. American
^ "Dancing with the Stars Season 21 Cast Announcement". ABC. September
2, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
^ "'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: Most Memorable Years for the Top
10". buddytv.com. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
^ James Peragine. "First Photos:
Gary Busey Introduces Son Luke".
Retrieved August 15, 2017.
^ Moran, W. Reed (July 5, 2001). "
Gary Busey ministers to brain injury
community". USA Today. Retrieved August 5, 2007.
^ Cramberg, Joanne. "Tulsa's 'Bad Boy'
Gary Busey Accepts Jesus".
Retrieved April 29, 2013.
^ Virtue, David. "Rescued From The Present Evil Age". Retrieved April
Gary Busey On His Life-Changing Cocaine Overdose And Motorcycle
Accident (VIDEO)". Huffington Post/Oprah Winfrey Network. January 21,
2014. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
Gary Busey Heads for Cancer Surgery".
^ "Celebrity Rehab 2 with Dr. Drew (Episode 2)". Retrieved March 26,
^ Kate Stanhope. "
Gary Busey and Girlfriend Are Expecting".
TVGuide.com. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
Gary Busey Endorses
Donald Trump for President. People Video. April
29, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
^ Powers, Lindsay (April 18, 2011). "
Gary Busey Endorses Donald Trump
for President". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
^ Glines, Carole (September 15, 2015). "
Donald Trump gets coveted Gary
Busey endorsement ahead of big debate". Fox News. Retrieved October
^ "'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.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gary Busey.
Gary Busey on IMDb
Gary Busey at AllMovie
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