Gary Busey

William Gareth Jacob Busey, Sr. (born Jun. 29, 1944) is an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe Award-nominated American film and stage actor. He has appeared in a number of films, including The Buddy Holly Story, Big Wednesday, Lethal Weapon, Point Break, Valley of the Wolves Iraq and Under Siege.


Born in Goose Creek (now Baytown), Texas, he attended Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas and Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, 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; she would also give Gary a daughter, Ellie Busey (who is now in college). The couple divorced sixteen years later. 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 and permanent aesthetic damage to his face.

He 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 name "Teddy Jack Eddy", 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"). 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 the last episode, No. 633 - "The Busters").

In 1978, he starred as Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story with Sartain as The Big Bopper. The movie won 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 D.C. Cab, Silver Bullet (adapted from Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King), and Lethal Weapon. In the 1990s, he appeared in Predator 2, Point Break, Rookie of the Year, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Under Siege, and The Firm.

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