Gary Busey (born June 29, 1944) is an American film and stage actor and artist.

Early life

Busey was born William Gary Busey[1] in Goose Creek (now Baytown), Texas, the son of Sadie Virginia (née Arnett), a homemaker, and Delmer Lloyd Busey, a construction design manager.[2] 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 is listed as one of the university's "outstanding alumni."[3] 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 (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.[4] 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 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 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 critically-acclaimed surfing movie Big Wednesday.

In the 1980s, Busey's roles included Silver Bullet (adapted from Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King), Barbarosa, Top Gun (voiceover for Tim Robbins' character Merlin), 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).[5] 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 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.

Gary Busey appeared in the 2006 Turkish film Valley of the Wolves Iraq, (Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak, in Turkish). The film, accused of anti-Americanism[6] and anti-Semitism,[7] 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 City, London and Tel Aviv.

File:CUN2008 Oscar party Gary Busey.jpg

Busey in February 2007

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.

Busey recently took part in a photo shoot done by photographer Tyler Shields where Busey was put in a straitjacket. The shoot was reportedly for Shields' book 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 Busey about his upcoming projects but the program instead edited together raw clips from the interview.

The video clip and its many offshoots and re-edits have made their way around the net. Posted on sites such as,[8][9] and the photographer's own site[10] The clip has also been featured extensively on the E! network's The Soup, hosted by Joel McHale, replaying Busey's line "I'm going to pull your endocrine system out of your body," numerous times for comedic effect.

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.[11] 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 was previously addicted to cocaine, but has been sober for 13 years. In a conversation with model Amber Smith, being treated for a pain killer addiction, he revealed several backronyms related to religion and sobriety, which he called "Busey-isms," and stated his intention to compile them into a book. These included "Gone: Getting Over Negative Energy," "Faith: Fantastic Adventures In Trusting Him," "Sober: Son Of a Bitch Everything's Real," "Fraud: Finding Relevant Answers Under Deception," and "Freedom: Facing Real Exciting Energy Developing Out of Miracles." In a talking head interview recorded later, Smith expressed appreciation for Busey's knowledge and enthusiasm, but also felt he was "crazier than [she] is."[12]

At Pinsky's recommendation, Busey was seen at the facility 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. He recommended Busey take a medication called Depakote, to which he agreed.[13]

In 2009, he was a roaster at the Comedy Central roast of Larry the Cable Guy.

He has recently been on a Youtube advertisement for Vitamin Water where he portrays a lawyer named Norman Tugwater who defends Professional athletes' entitlements to a cut from Fantasy Football team owners.

Personal life

File:Gary Busey 2007.jpg

Busey in September 2007

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

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.[14]

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.[15]



Video games


External links

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