Born: 29 June 1944
Birthplace: Goose Creek, Texas
Best known as: Star of The Buddy Holly Story
Gary Busey was nominated for an Oscar for his first lead role in 1978's The Buddy Holly Story
, but modern audiences know him more for portraying wild-eyed villains in such films as Lethal Weapon
(1987, starring Mel Gibson
) and Point Break
(1991, starring Keanu Reeves
). Raised in Oklahoma, Busey went to Hollywood in the late 1960s as a drummer in a rock band. In the early '70s he started working in the movies, earning small parts in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
(1974, starring Clint Eastwood
) and A Star is Born
(1976, starring Barbra Streisand
). Then his performance as rock legend Buddy Holly
made him a star. In the '80s Busey's career nearly took a backseat to his out-of-control personal life, but by the '90s he had survived a near-fatal motorcycle accident, cancer surgery and drug addiction to come out the other side a "born again" Christian and a hard-working character actor. In addition to roles in The Firm
(1993), Lost Highway
(1997) and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
(1998), Busey has done voice work for the video game Grand Theft Auto
and starred in Comedy Central's I'm With Busey
(2003), a "reality" show capitalizing on Busey's famously oddball behavior.
As a drummer Busey played with Willie Nelson, his co-star in the movie Barbarosa (1982), and with Kris Kristofferson, his co-star in the movie A Star is Born (1976)… He is the father of actor Jake Busey… In The Buddy Holly Story Busey performed the songs himself.
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