Although American leading man Gary Busey has made distinguished appearances in many films, he has yet to attain the consistent popularity that would make him a major star. Born in Texas, Busey first few years were spent on an Oklahoma ranch where he learned to be a bull rider. He attended three different colleges before finally graduating in 1963, the year he became a professional drummer with the rock group The Rubber Band. Later, he billed himself as Teddy Jack Eddy and played percussion for Leon Russell, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson. In 1970, Busey made his acting debut in an episode of the TV western High Chaparel. This led to his feature film debut as a biker in Angels Hard as They Come the following year. After that Busey went on to play supporting roles (typically cast as renegades, daredevils, or good ol' boys with dubious morals) until 1978 when he made a major splash playing the lanky lead in The Buddy Holly Story, for which he did all the guitar and vocal work. His impersonation of Holly was remarkable and won him considerable acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Busey then went on to play leads in many films of varying quality during the early to mid-1980s. In the late '80s he returned to supporting roles and co-leads. In 1988, Busey almost died in a motorcycle accident and his near death resulted in enactment of tougher helmet laws in California.
Biography by Rovi
- Left college one class shy of graduation.
- An accomplished musician, formed his own band and also played on stage with Leon Russell, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.
- Suffered a severe head injury in a motorcycle accident in 1988, while not wearing a helmet.
- Is a licensed airplane pilot.