Gary Busey Biography

Gary Busey photo

Born: June 29, 1944


Date of Birth: June 29, 1944

This Goose Creek, Texas native spent the first few years of his life learning to be a bull rider. He attended college on a football scholarship until a knee injury forced him out of sports and into theater. After attending Kansas state college where he majored in theatre, he moved to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater to continue his studies on a drama scholarship.

Before graduation, Busey was drawn to the music and film communities in Los Angeles. From 1967 to 1970, he indulged both of his passions by playing the drums in a rock and roll band and studying camera technique (with James Best). His studies led to his first acting job in an episode of High Chaparral.

He first landed a film acting gig in Angels Hard as They Come, co-starring Scott Glenn. For the next two decades, Busey starred in over 20 films including A Star is Born, The Bear, and Canvas.

In 1978, Busey earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his performance as Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story. He also received nominations from The National Society of Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics awards.

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. Although voted out of these awards, he did win a CableACE award for Best Actor for his work on the television show, The Hitchhiker.

Within the last decade of the 20th century, Busey found his juiciest opportunities in sinister supporting roles in films like Lethal Weapon (1987), Predator 2 (1990), Hider in the House (1991), Under Siege (1992) and Soldier (1998). He was also offered two unusually good supporting roles: one as a freewheeling private eye in The Firm (1993) and the other a down-on-his-luck pitcher who befriends the Rookie of the Year (1993). He has continued to star in a long list of feature films, although many of the titles were not big blockbusters. His most recent project is the horror sequel Piranha 3DD (2012) about deadly, flesh-eating fish that terrorize visitors at a local water park.

In the late 80s he suffered from a near-fatal motorcycle crash in Los Angeles. The experience has led him to become a spokesperson for the National Head Injury Foundation.

Busey has married twice, but has found married life difficult at times. In 1999 he was arrested after having a fight with his wife, Tiani Warden, and later filed for divorce. He has one son, William, from his first marriage.


Piranha 3DD (2012)
Lizzie (2012)
Guido (2011)
Down and Distance (2010)
Hallettsville (2009)
Beyond the Ring (2008)
Lady Samurai (2007)
Blizhniy Boy: The Ultimate Fighter (2007)
Homo Erectus (2007)
The Hard Easy (2006)
Soft Target (2006)
Shut Up and Shoot! (2006)
Valley of the Wolves: Iraq (2006)
Descansos (2006)
The Gingerdead Man (2005)
Buckaroo: The Movie (2005)
Shade of Pale (2005)
Chasing Ghosts (2005)
No Rules (2005)
Souled Out (2005)
The Hang Job (2005)
Ghost Rock (2003)
Latin Dragon (2003)
El Padrino (2003)
Scorched (2003)
A Sight for Sore Eyes (2003)
Quigley (2003)
On the Edge (2002)
Welcome 2 Ibiza (2002)
Sam & Janet (2002)
Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2001) (V)
Frost: Portrait of a Vampire (2001)
A Crack in the Floor (2000)
Down and Dirty (2000)
Glory Glory (2000)
G-Men from Hell (2000)
Two Shades of Blue (2000)
Tribulation (2000)
Hot Boyz (1999)
The Stars of Star Wars: Interviews with the Cast (1999) (V)
Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang (1999)
Detour (1998)
No Tomorrow (1998)
Soldier (1998)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Plato's Run (1997)
The Rage (1997)
Rough Draft (1997)
Suspicious Minds (1997)
Livers Ain't Cheap (1997)
Lethal Tender (1997)
Lost Highway (1997)
Man with a Gun (1996)
One Clean Move (1996)
Steel Sharks (1996)
Sticks and Stones (1996)
The Chain (1996)
Carried Away (1996)
Black Sheep (1996)
The History of Rock 'N' Roll, Vol. 1 (1995) (voice)
The History of Rock 'N' Roll, Vol. 8 (1995)
Surviving the Game (1994)
Warriors (1994)
Drop Zone (1994)
Chasers (1994)
Breaking Point (1993)
Rookie of the Year (1993)
The Firm (1993)
Canvas (1992)
Night Caller (1992)
South Beach (1992)
Under Siege (1992)
The Player (1992)
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (1991)
Point Break (1991)
Predator 2 (1990)
Act of Piracy (1988)
Bulletproof (1988)
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Eye of the Tiger (1986)
Let's Get Harry (1986)
Insignificance (1985)
Silver Bullet (1985)
The Bear (1984)
D.C. Cab (1983)
Didn't You Hear (1983)
Barbarosa (1982)
Carny (1980)
Foolin' Around (1980)
Big Wednesday (1978)
The Set-Up (1978)
The Buddy Holly Story (1978)
Straight Time (1978)
A Star Is Born (1976)
The Gumball Rally (1976)
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
Hex (1973)
The Last American Hero (1973)
Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973)
Dirty Little Billy (1972)
You and Me (1972)
The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972)
Angels Hard as They Come (1971)

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