“Did you know Gary Busey has his own YouTube Channel?” “No,” my coworker replied “Didn’t he die? Or maybe I’m thinking he died in some movie.” I laughed, “Nope…you’re thinking of Gary Busey actually dying.”
Is there no wackier actor (wacktor? ™) “alive” today than Gary Busey, who isn’t a raging anti-Semite? Looking at you Mel Gibson. Busey seems to be off the rails but it’s an endearing kind of madness. It’s the kind of insanity one might find in a fantasy novel, for example “Lord of the Rings”.
Busey got his start on a local comedy TV show in Tulsa, Oklahoma called “The Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting,” where he developed a belligerent, know-it-all character named Teddy Jack Eddy. Here’s a clip featuring Gailard Sartain who you might recognize from “Ernest Goes to Everything, All the Places.” Busey’s crazy. He’s wearing jeans under his jogging shorts. Classic Busey.
Busey’s first major role was playing Buddy Holly in the 1978 film “The Buddy Holly Story,” which earned him an Academy Award nomination as well as the National Society of Film Critics’ Best Actor Award. His experience as a musician, playing in bands such as The Rubber Band (just stop for a moment and take in the brilliance of this band name) and Carp, helped him bring more life to the role. His lack of experience as a pilot also helped, naturally.
In 1985 Busey played the lovable uncle to Corey Haim and Megan Follows in the Stephen King adapted movie “Silver Bullet,” which tells the tale of a crippled young boy (Haim) who believes the town’s priest is a werewolf. Interesting fact, this book was taken away from me no less than 6 times in the 2nd grade because my teachers deemed it “inappropriate for school.” This makes sense because 8 is an impressionable age and who knows how many werewolves I would have tried to kill had they not stopped me from finishing the novel.
He’s had great success playing “loose cannon” type characters in films such as “Lethal Weapon,” “Predator 2,” and “Black Sheep,” but I didn’t fall in love with him until he played an innocuous character in a little film entitled “Point Break.”
Now we’re talking. It’s like we’re playing a game of fucking amazing celebrity scrabble and you have to reach into the bag and pull out actors instead of letters…here’s who you get: Lori Petty, Gary Busey, Keanu Reeves and goddamn it Patrick Swayze playing a spiritual surfer who says ridiculous things like: “If you want the ultimate, you’ve got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It’s not tragic to die doing what you love.” I beg to differ here, death is usually tragic, or at the very least a bummer. Busey plays the straight guy in this film and we’re all supposed to believe Keanu Reeves could ever be in the FBI…and his name is Johnny Utah? *slow clap*
His career is spotty at best, peppered with some hits but mostly misses. In the latter portion of his time spent in Hollywood he seems to mostly play himself such as his role in HBO’s “Entourage”. In 2008 he joined the 2nd season of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” where I assume he also played himself but who really knows? This is where we are introduced to “Buseyisms,” which is basically my new religion.
Busey is best known for his colorful legal issues. Buckle up, or rather Busey up because he has been quite the bus(e)y little bee. In 1995 he was arrested for cocaine possession after being hospitalized for an overdose of cocaine and GHB. Two years later he was accused of pushing a stewardess who bumped him on a flight to Las Vegas. In 1999 he was arrested for fighting with his wife and he liked it so much he did it again in 2001. In 2004 his landlord filed a lawsuit to evict him because Busey refused to pay his rent for about 3 months (waitin’ on those “Point Break” residuals I assume). Two weeks after that he was arrested for showing up late to a spousal support court hearing. Then he gave himself a little break until 2012 when he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Where in the hell is Busey now? Only God knows, but I pray he makes a comeback of Biblical proportions. In fact I pray daily for his return, for about an hour or so.
Until he returns we’ll have to live off of Buseyisms, which is a lot like reading the Bible until that Jesus guy comes back.