Gary Busey

Gary Busey (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

William Gary Busey (born June 29, 1944) is an American film and stage actor, and artist. He has appeared in a variety of films, including Lethal Weapon, Point Break, and Under Siege, as well as guest appearances on Gunsmoke, Walker, Texas Ranger, Law & Order, and Entourage. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1978 for his role in The Buddy Holly Story.

Early life

Busey was born in Goose Creek (now Baytown), 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 in Pittsburg, Kansas on a football scholarship, he became interested in acting. He then transferred to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, where he quit school just one class short of graduation.


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 KTUL (which 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 and Eddy."

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 antepenultimate episode, No. 633 " "The Busters").

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 Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story with Sartain as The Big Bopper. The movie earned Busey an Academy Award nomination and the National Society of Film Critics' Best Actor award. In the film, he changes the lyrics to the song "Well All Right" and sings, "We're gonna love Teddy Jack..." a reference to his Teddy Jack Eddy persona. In the same year he also starred in the surfing movie Big Wednesday.

In the 1980s, Busey's roles included Silver Bullet, Barbarosa, Insignificance and Lethal Weapon. In the movie D.C. Cab, Busey portrayed the character Dell. At one point, Dell is singing along with a cassette recording of 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, Lost Highway, Point Break and Black Sheep.

Busey sang the song "Stay All Night" on Saturday Night Live in March 1979, Episode 14, Season 4, and on the Late Show with David Letterman in the 1990s.

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. He also voiced himself on a 2005 episode of The Simpsons, narrating an informational video about restraining orders.

Busey appeared in the 2006 Turkish nationalist film Valley of the Wolves: Iraq, (Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak, in Turkish). The film, accused of fascism, anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, tells the story of the U.S. Army run amok in Iraq and brought into check by a Turkish soldier; Busey plays a Jewish-American Army doctor who harvests fresh organs from injured Iraqi prisoners to sell to rich patients in New York City, London and Tel Aviv.

In 2007, he appeared as himself 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.

In 2008, he joined the second season of the reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Per his contract and VH1's press release, he was to be part of the mentoring team and not a patient. Drew Pinsky has expressed a different opinion, saying that he can help by being in group meetings with others and is not part of the staff, but part of the patients of this second season. Busey returned to reality television in Celebrity Apprentice 4, which premiered in March 2011.

In a series of 2010 YouTube advertisements for Vitamin Water, Busey appears as Norman Tugwater, a lawyer who defends professional athletes' entitlements to a cut from Fantasy Football team owners.

The following year, a whirlwind of rumors flew around Hollywood that Busey had been fired from horror movie Mansion of Blood from Elusive Entertainment. Rather, according to Busey's publicist, Michael Conley, Busey stars as Zacharia in the indy film from Elusive Entertainment. In fact, Conley says, "The Producers were so happy with Gary's performance that they even called a "press conference" arranged by the movie's unit publicist, Liz Rodriguez, held by her and the "Mansion" producer team from historical Hollywood & Highland to officially exonerate Gary of any allegations that he had been fired and praised Gary's performance in the upcoming movie."

Personal life


In 1971, Busey's wife Judy Helkenberg gave birth to their son, William Jacob "Jake" Busey. Busey and Helkenberg divorced when Jake was nineteen.

Busey has a daughter named Alectra from a previous relationship.

On December 9, 2009, it was announced that Gary Busey and girlfriend Steffanie Sampson were expecting their first child in May 2010. On February 23, 2010, their son Luke Sampson Busey was born.


Media reports claimed that Busey is a Christian and active minister in Promise Keepers. Promise Keepers says that this is incorrect, that it was never contacted for verification of this false claim, and stated on its website that "There is a story circulating through the media that Gary Busey is a minister at Promise Keepers... This is false." (It was later discovered that the incorrect report came from a spoof in the satirical website The Onion.)

Motorcycle accident and brain damage

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.

At the recommendation of Dr. Drew Pinsky, Busey was seen by 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 a medication called Depakote (valproic acid), to which Busey agreed.

Legal issues

In May 1995, Busey was arrested for cocaine possession after being hospitalized for an overdose of cocaine and GHB.

On August 20, 1997, Busey was accused of pushing a stewardess who bumped him on a flight to Las Vegas. Upon the flight's landing, he was questioned by police, but no charges were filed.

On January 25, 1999, Busey was arrested after a fight with his wife. He was released on bail.

On December 2, 2001, Busey was again arrested for spousal abuse after his ex-wife Tiani Warden called authorities, complaining he left her bruised. Busey was released on $50,000 bail.

On September 7, 2004, Busey's landlord filed a lawsuit to evict him because Busey had refused to pay his rent for about three months.

On September 23, 2004, Busey was arrested for showing up late to a spousal support court hearing. His lawyer bailed him out 150 minutes later.

In February 2012, Busey filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, with reported liabilities of $500,000 to $1,000,000.


  • Angels Hard as They Come (1971)
  • The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972)
  • Dirty Little Billy (1972)
  • Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973)
  • Hex (1973)
  • Blood Sport (1973)
  • The Execution of Private Slovik (1974)
  • The Last American Hero (1973)
  • Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
  • The Law (1974)
  • A Star Is Born (1976)
  • The Gumball Rally (1976)
  • The Buddy Holly Story (1978)
  • Straight Time (1978)
  • Big Wednesday (1978)
  • Carny (1980)
  • Foolin' Around (1980)
  • Barbarosa (1982)
  • Didn't You Hear... (1983)
  • D.C. Cab (1983)
  • The Bear (1984)
  • Insignificance (1985)
  • Silver Bullet (1985)
  • Half a Lifetime (1986)
  • Eye of the Tiger (1986)
  • Let's Get Harry (1986)
  • Lethal Weapon (1987)
  • Bulletproof (1988)
  • A Dangerous Life (1988)
  • The Neon Empire (1989)
  • Hider in the House (1989)
  • Act of Piracy (1990)
  • Predator 2 (1990)
  • Point Break (1991)
  • My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (1991)
  • Wild Texas Wind (1991)
  • Canvas (1992)
  • Chrome Soldiers (1992)
  • Under Siege (1992)
  • Breaking Point (1993)
  • The Firm (1993)
  • Rookie of the Year (1993)
  • South Beach (1993)
  • Warriors (1994)
  • Surviving the Game (1994)
  • Drop Zone (1994)
  • Chasers (1994)
  • Man with a Gun (1995)
  • Steel Sharks (1996)
  • One Clean Move (1996)
  • Livers Ain't Cheap (1996) (a.k.a. The Real Thing)
  • Black Sheep (1996)
  • Carried Away (1996)
  • Sticks & Stones (1996)
  • The Chain (1996)
  • Suspicious Minds (1997)
  • The Rage (1997)
  • Lost Highway (1997)
  • Lethal Tender (1997)
  • Plato's Run (1997)
  • Rough Riders (1997)
  • Rough Draft (1998) (a.k.a. Diary of a Serial Killer)
  • Soldier (1998)
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
  • Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms (1998)
  • Detour (1998) (a.k.a. Too Hard to Die)
  • Hot Boyz (1999)
  • The Girl Next Door (1999)
  • No Tomorrow (1999)
  • Two Shades of Blue (1999)
  • Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang (1999)
  • A Crack in the Floor (2000)
  • Tribulation (2000)
  • Glory Glory (2000) (a.k.a. Hooded Angels)
  • Inside The Metal Box (2000)
  • Down 'n Dirty (2000)
  • G-Men from Hell (2000)
  • Frost: Portrait of a Vampire (2001)
  • On the Edge (2002)
  • Welcome 2 Ibiza (2002)
  • Sam & Janet (2002)
  • Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2002)
  • The Prize Fighter (2003)
  • Scorched (2003)
  • Shadowlands (2003)
  • Shade of Pale (2004)
  • Motocross Kids (2004)
  • Lexie (2004)
  • El Padrino (2004)
  • Border Blues (2004)
  • Latin Dragon (2004)
  • Ghost Rock (2004)
  • American Dictators: Documenting the Staged Election of 2004 (2004)
  • The Hand Job (2005)
  • Souled Out (2005)
  • No Rules (2005)
  • Chasing Ghosts (2005)
  • The Baker's Dozen (2005)
  • Into the West (2005)
  • Buckaroo: The Movie (2005)
  • A Sight for Sore Eyes (2005)
  • The Gingerdead Man (2005)
  • The Hard Easy (2005)
  • Descansos (2006)
  • Valley of the Wolves Iraq (2006)
  • Dr. Dolittle 3 (2006) (voice)
  • Shut Up and Shoot! (2006)
  • Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride (2006)
  • Soft Target (2006) (a.k.a. Crooked)
  • Quigley (2006)
  • Lady Samurai (2007)
  • Homo Erectus (2007) (a.k.a. National Lampoon's The Stoned Age)
  • Blizhniy Boy: The Ultimate Fighter (2007)
  • Succubus: Hell Bent (2007)
  • Maneater (2007)
  • Beyond the Ring (2008)
  • Nite Tales: The Movie (2008)
  • Hallettsville (2009)
  • Down and Distance (2009)
  • DaZe: Vol. Too (sic) " NonSeNse (2009)
  • Piranha 3DD (2012)
  • Matt's Chance (2012)
  • Guido (2012)


  • Kung Fu (Season 1, Episode 15 ("The Ancient Warrior")) (1973)
  • Gunsmoke (1975)
  • The Texas Wheelers (ABC-TV 8-episode sitcom, 1974"75)
  • Saturday Night Live (1979) (himself " host)
  • Hawaii Five-O (1997 unaired pilot)
  • Walker, Texas Ranger (1999)
  • The Outer Limits (2000), Episode: "Revival"
  • Law & Order (2001)
  • King of the Hill (2001) (voice)
  • 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) (2004, 2005, 2007) (as himself)
  • The Man Show (2002) (as himself)
  • I'm with Busey (Comedy Central, 2003) (as himself)
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! ("12 Stepping", 2004) (as himself)
  • High Chaparall (2004) (as himself)
  • The Simpsons (On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister, season 16, episode 11) (2005) (as himself)
  • Celebrity Fit Club 2 (VH1, 2005) (as himself)
  • Esenin (2005, Russia) (Zinger, Isedora Dunkan's ex-husbund )
  • Tom Goes to the Mayor (2006) (voice)
  • Scrubs ("My Missed Perception", 2006) (as Gary Busey look-a-like)
  • Celebrity Paranormal Project (VH1, 2006) (as himself)
  • The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest... (truTV, 2008-2009,2012) (as himself)
  • The Cho Show (VH1, 2008) (as himself)
  • Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (VH1, 2008) (as himself)
  • The Comedy Central Roast of Larry the Cable Guy (Comedy Central, 2009) (as himself)
  • Conan (TBS, 2010) (as himself)
  • Celebrity Apprentice (2011) (as himself)
  • Two and a Half Men (Season 9, Episode 9 ("Frodo's Headshots")) (2011) (as himself)
  • Mr. Box Office (2012) (John Anderson)

Video games

  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (voice) (2002)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (voice) (2006)
  • Saints Row 2 (voice) (2008)

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