William Gareth Jacob "Gary" Busey (born June 29, 1944) is an Academy Award- and Golden Globe Award-nominated American film and stage actor, as well as an artist. He has appeared in a number of films, including The Buddy Holly Story, Big Wednesday, Lethal Weapon, Point Break, The Firm and Under Siege.
Busey was born in Goose Creek (now Baytown)
, the son of Virginia (née
Arnett), a homemaker
, and Delmer Lloyd Busey, a construction design manager. He graduated from Nathan Hale Highschool in Tulsa, Oklahoma
. He attended Pittsburg State University
on a football scholarship where he became interested in acting. He is listed as one of the university's "outstanding alumni. He then transferred to Oklahoma State University
, where he quit school just one class short of graduation. In 1971, wife Judy Helkenberg gave birth to his son, fellow actor Jake Busey
. Gary and Judy divorced
when Jake was nineteen. On December 4
, 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
. Busey has spoken out as being a Born Again Christian
as a result of his near-death experience
. He currently lives in Malibu.
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
(which starred fellow Tulsan Gailard Sartain
as "Dr. Mazeppa Pompazoidi"). He played in a band called Carp
, who 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 Banging Our Heads with Trash Lids
(in the third to the last episode, No. 633 - "The Los Carnales").
In 1978, he starred as Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story with Sartain as The Big Bopper. The movie earned Busey an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. In the same year he also starred in the critically-acclaimed surfing movie Big Wednesday.
In the 1980s, Busey's roles included Silver Bullet (adapted from Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King), Insignificance and Lethal Weapon. In the movie, D.C. Cab, Busey portrayed the character, Dell. Dell, much like Busey at the time, was self-absorbed and using drugs regularly. At one point of D.C. Cab, Dell is singing along with a cassette recording of Gary Busey singing the song, Why Baby Why (which Busey recorded, but still remains unreleased).
In the 1990s, he appeared in Predator 2, Rookie of the Year, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Under Siege, The Firm and Point Break.
Throughout the 70s and 90s, Busey would occasionally perform live. Busey sang the song "Stay All Night" on Saturday Night Live in March of 1979 and on the Late Show with David Letterman in the 90s.
In 2002, Busey voiced the character Phil Cassidy in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, then again in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories in 2006.
Gary Busey appeared in the 2006 Turkish film, Valley of the Wolves Iraq, (Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak, in Turkish). The film, accused of anti-Americanism,
and anti-Semitism, tells the story of the U.S. Army run amok in Iraq, and brought into check by a brave Turkish soldier; Gary Busey plays a Jewish-American Army doctor who harvests fresh organs from injured Iraqi prisoners to sell to rich patients in New York, London and Tel Aviv.
In 2007, he appeared as "his crazy self" on HBO's Entourage. Producers at HBO asked Busey to play a "character" on the show who was the self-named actor who is also a famous painter and sculptor. Although Busey is not actually a painter, he does love to sing and write music.
Busey was once again 'front and center' in the media, when during the E! broadcast of the 2008 Oscar red carpet pre-show, he interrupted host Ryan Seacrest's interview with Jennifer Garner and Laura Linney. Busey proceeded to give Garner a hug and kissed her neck, to which Garner expressed her distaste moments later. Busey later apologized for the incident. Busey is also seen on the tape introducing his long time attorney, Vicki Roberts, to Ryan Seacrest. Vicki Roberts, an actress/producer in her own right, who is very well known in the entertainment industry,  often accompanies Busey to red carpet events but it is strictly a professional relationship.
Busey recently took part in a photo shoot done by famed photographer Tyler Shields where Gary was put in a straitjacket. The shoot was reportedly for Tyler's book called the dirty side of glamour. The proceeds from which are to be given to charity. A reporter from Inside Edition was there to cover the shoot and speak with Gary about his upcoming projects but the program chose to edit together raw clips from the interview to show more of Gary's crazy side.
The video clip and its many offshoots an re-edits have made their way around the net. Posted on sites such as Insideedition.com, Filmdrunk.com and the photographer's own site Tylershields.com. Adding to the speculation that Gary might not be as insane as he appears, many bloggers and websites have begun to wonder if he is simply pretending to be so eccentric or if he really is as off the wall and unabashed as he seems.
Busey has recently starred in several advertisements for the upcoming video game Saints Row 2, entitled "Street Lessons with Uncle Gary".
Busey appears in several short videos for GotVMail Communications called Gary Busey on Business, featuring Busey's thoughts on new business ideas, excuses for missing work, and business cliches like Think Outside the Box and Now More Than Ever.
- Gary Busey was originally cast as H.M. "Mad" Murdock in the 1980s television series 'The A-Team'. A total of fourteen episodes were filmed with him in the role until it became apparent to Stephen J. Cannell, the creator of the series, that Busey believed that he truly was a member of an elite group of crack-commandos-cum-soldiers-of-fortune on the run for a crime they did not commit. Busey went as far as accosting actor George Peppard, who played team leader John "Hannibal" Smith, that if he ever revealed the location of the A-Team he would "tear his guts out through his stink-button and make that pussy Mr. T eat them". (Mr. T; "The Man With the Gold"; 1984).
- The film 'Schindler's List' was originally conceived by Gary Busey as a sitcom about a bumbling SS officer named Heinrich von Tinklepants who gets into all sorts of mischief around the death camp he works at. NBC greenlight the series but quickly halted all production on the show when producers showed up at the soundstage where the pilot was being filmed only to see Busey sitting on a bar stool stolen from the 'Cheers' set in front of a camera. When asked why no sets had been built, Busey claimed that he had planned all along to use his Buddhist learnings to transport the viewer to Nazi Germany via transcendental meditation and shoot the program "guerilla style". Schindler's List would go on to win 7 Academy Awards, not including a special lifetime achievement award of Busey due to his originating the project. (Taylor & O'Brien; Steven Spielberg: The Man, His Movies, and Their Meaning"; 1999).
- "The Cho Show" (VH1, 2008)
- The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest... (truTV, 2008)
- I Love Money (VH1, 2008)
- Celebrity Paranormal Project (VH1, 2006)
- Scrubs ("My Missed Perception", 2006)
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit! ("12 Stepping", 2004)
- I'm with Busey (Comedy Central, 2003)
- Celebrity Fit Club 2 (VH1; Busey lost 39 pounds)
- Entourage ("Busey and the Beach", Season 1, Episode 6; "The Boys Are Back In Town", Season 2, Episode 1; "Gary's Desk", Season 4, Episode 8)
- The Outer Limits (2000), Episode: "Revival"
- The Simpsons (On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister, season 16, episode 11)
- Walker, Texas Ranger
- Scrubs (A running joke that Sarah Chalke bears a resemblance)
- Kung Fu (Season 1, Episode 15 (Ancient Warrior); Busey plays 'Josh')
- Tom Goes to the Mayor
- High Chaparall
- The Man Show
- Law & Order
- King of the Hill
- With Rick Danko and Paul Butterfield, playing guitar on "Stay All Night" on Saturday Night Live, 03.10.1979.
- The Texas Wheelers (ABC-TV 8-episode sitcom, 1974-75), starring role with co-stars Jack Elam and Mark Hamill
- ''World's Dumbest Drivers