William Gareth Jacob Busey was born on June 29, 1944 in Goose Creek, Texas. 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 then transferred to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he quit school just one class short of graduation.
Busey made his film debut in “Angels Hard As They Come”, a low-budget 1971 hippies vs. bikers saga, with Busey as a hippie and Scott Glenn as one of the "big men with throbbing machines". For several years Busey worked in obscure films and low-profile appearances on TV series, including playing the last man killed in the final episode of the long-running western ‘Gunsmoke’. He also worked as a musician, playing drums in several struggling bands, and on Leon Russell's 1975 album Will O'the Wisp. He was nominated for an Oscar as the title character in “The Buddy Holly Story” (1978), but he has since drifted through numerous lesser roles, and is often typecast as a sneering villain.
In 1995 he suffered a near-deadly double overdose of cocaine and GHB. Busey has said that he came to God while he was hospitalized in the aftermath, and after the felony drug charges were dismissed he joined the Christian men's group Promise Keepers. For the next few years, Busey often appeared on Christian TV shows, talking about how the group's teachings had saved his marriage, and was ordained as a minister. In 1999, Busey was arrested for brawling with his wife Tiani. They divorced in 2001, but soon after, he was again arrested for allegedly beating her, but prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to take the case to court.
In 2000 Busey appeared in his only Euro-western “Hooded Angels” as the sheriff.
Recently Gary can be seen in a commercial for Amazon Fire.
Today we celebrate Gary Busey’s 70th birthday.