What the hell is the deal with Gary Busey?

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*** update August 2016 – bottom

Hi, come on in.  Please, have a seat.  I am glad you came.  Listen, we have to talk about Gary Busey.  We are WAY past the ‘what the fuck’ stage.  Way way past.

So, I watch Celebrity Apprentice, Big Brother, Dancing with the Stars… all of it.  I blame my wife!  I am not proud of it, but I like to see how successful people interact with each other.  I am always curious if these people are dicks or not… and I get a pretty decent feeling from the show who is and isn’t.  Example?  Bret Michaels > not a dick.  Star Jones?  Monster dick!  Omarosa?  Second Worst person alive!

What really puzzles me is Gary Busey.  That guy is cooked.  Fried.  Absolutely nothing left in his gas tank.  He seems to be mentally retarded, with the capabilities of roughly a 6 year old.  Now, keep in mind that Border Collies have the intellect of a 3 year old human… and know more words than Busey.  So, I needed to know how long this has been.  Has he always been nuts?  Is he just famous for being famous?  I remember he did that Buddy Holly movie, and KILLED it.  I can’t think of a single other thing he has done of significance in acting.  So… was he a functional retarded person back when he did that?  I did some digging for you.  Well, actually I did some digging while chatting with Jamie, but I figured it was too good not to share.

I went back to 1978, when he did Buddy Holly.  There is not much I can glean from this time behind the scenes of his life.  The earliest I could find was this performance on Carson in 1985.  What do we have in 1985?  A handsome, beefy, and engaging Gary Busey.  Sure, the shirt is suspect, but this is a funny and decently likable guy.  So, he wasn’t always this dim.  That is great news, I think.


He has often talked about a very very serious and terrible motorcycle accident he had in 1988.  Apparently, this gave him brain damage and might have been what cooked him.  So, that explains it, right?  I am just an insensitive asshole making fun of an old guy with brain damage!  Nope.  Turns out that is not the case at all.  See this appearance below from 1990 on Letterman.  He is even more engaging, more likable, better looking, and even funnier.  This guy is a dream talk show guest on the top of his game.  He even quickly references his motorcycle accident and brain damage.  So, that isn’t it then.

So what was it?  I can’t figure it out.  I know he also had a very public overdose drama in 1995.  Maybe that, coupled with the accident, just cooked him.  I used to be so annoyed by watching him.  I thought it was an act.  It isn’t.  He is mentally incredibly feeble.  I seriously doubt that he can even take care of himself.  So, now when I watch, it is more like a sad feeling of watching a bird try and fly away after your cat ate its wings.

So when did he fly off the rails?  Was it a slow burn, or did he just wake up one day completely nuts?  I wrote this before the last celeb apprentice where he got booted.  He got booted because they asked him to demo a suite of LG products, and his plan to do so was a commercial about a robotic barking dog.

Good luck and god speed to you, Mr Busey.  I think to best sum up, we will go with a Hunter Thompson quote >

“There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

Update Sept 2015 > I get a lot of negative feedback asking why I am so mean, and insensitive to brain damage.  I am NOT mean.  I am not here to mock, I am super curious as to what happened, when, and why.  You are here because you, too, are curious.  Note, if I wanted to be mean, I could have found a thousand clips of him being a space cadet.  All my clips, carefully researched, are of an articulate and engaging Gary Busey.  I challenge you to find a more even handed look at the man.

He is making millions just being Gary Busey.  That is what he does, and it’s all he does.  He isn’t acting.  He is just being his creepy, sad, brilliant, childlike self.  His popularity, though, (we can all agree) is for the cruelest of reasons.  I think when people watch him, it is similar to slowing down to watch an accident.  I don’t watch him anymore, on any shows.  It freaks me out, and breaks my heart.  Leave Gary Busey Alone!  At least he is laughing all the way to the bank.

*** update August 2016

final thoughts on this piece

I wrote this years ago, as you can see.  Here are my final thoughts, and they are awesomely contradictory

  • His handlers should be ashamed of themselves, and taken away. This guy ONLY gets jobs because he is infantile and sadly incompetent.  Trust me, I know he has handlers making these decisions.  I don’t know that he could feed himself or dress himself without help.  How could they just throw him out there for a few dollars to watch the world laugh at his foibles
  • But then I think – he clearly seems happy, and to be having fun. I think he is also (luckily) unaware that he has regressed to a child like state.  So, even if he is only being hired for some kind of schadenfreude… who the hell cares?  If he is happy, what business is it of ours?
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88 thoughts on “What the hell is the deal with Gary Busey?

  1. He’s great. I wonder if the show affected him or if something was going on behind the scenes. I feel for him. It’s like they said we’ll pay you to be crazy.

    • I think thats exactly what they do. He might be a bit strange normally, but a lot of celebrities can get to that point where they get disconnected from the rest of us, and he also looks it. But most of it I think is an act. Look at what he did in entourage, and if you check out a lot of the movies he’s been in he does have a huge range he can play. Bat shit crazy just happens to be the best money maker for him now.

  2. @ Natalie – good question. I honestly don’t think it was either. I went through exhaustive clips of him. See the clips embedded above. After his severe motorcycle accident, he was on a talk show lucid and funny and even joked about it Same thing after his very public overdose s few years later. My guess is a combination of the damage done during the motorcycle accident, and perhaps low lying mental illness. He truly seems to operate at about a five to six year old level. I don’t think it is an act or a bit for tv. I don’t think it’s malicious, you can see he has a heart of gold. He just isn’t all there anymore… And that was not always the case as you can see from clips above.

  3. My understanding by doing a search of Gary is that during the second season of Celebrity Rehab in 2008, Gary was referred to a psychiatrist who suspected that Gary’s brain injury from the motorcycle accident in 1988, has had a greater effect on him than realized. The Dr. described it as essentially weakening his mental “filters” which causes him to speak and act impulsively. The doctor recommended that Gary take a special kind of medication, to which Gary agreed. As far as I know, Gary never followed up on getting help for his injury way back then. So I’m suspecting that with his injury, along with his abuse of drugs over the years, has made him very crazy acting. I also read that Gary became a father again in 2010, so hopfully with him taking whatever meds he needs to take, and being a father again, has helped him turn his life around. Sure, he’s what? 66 or 67 now? But it’s never too late to get things straightened out for oneself. I wish him and his family the best.

  4. Gary suffered traumatic brain damage in the motorcycle accident. It is not uncommon for inconsistent and changing moods and affect. I makes me sad to see him on the kind of shows he goes on, as he is obviously paraded out to be mocked. You can see he is genuinely stunned and deeply hurt when he finds that others have trouble with him. research the topic. I don’t laugh. It’s sad, and shame on his manager for continually subjecting him to this kind of role where he gets publicly and brutally humiliated

    • I’ve literally just watched him walk in to the Celebrity Big Brother House here in the UK and instantly looked up what his deal is (and came here); the host even had to walk him up the stairs and in to the door, he was having trouble hearing and understanding what is being said to him. I am very worried about his condition and his appearance. He really shouldn’t be there I think, unless he really really wants to do this then bugger the rest, Gary FTW!

  5. Team, it is I, your author. I see twice above people mentioning his terrible motorcycle accident. However, I address that above in the timeline. AFTER the accident he shows up on Letterman and is lucid and charming as ever. Maybe it was a slow burn for the damage to take hold. I don’t pretend to know much neurology outside of behavioral issues.

    • I think that he probably has CTE chronic traumatic encephalopathy he talked about other instances where he could have got concussed. It is a progressive degenerative disease caused by multiple head injuries. People don’t even know they have it, your brain just gets slowly flooded with tau proteins. Mental collapse is slow. Addiction and erratic behavior are effects not causes.

      • He was a football player. He went to college on a football scholarship. So the motorcycle accident might have not been his only traumatic brain injury. Couple that with drugs, alcohol, and other factors and that could account for his bizarre behavior. Now it appears that old Donald Trump is even more insane than he is lol!

    • The psychoneurological effects of acquired brain injuries can be wildly inconsistent over time and in different individuals because the brain does so much (literally, everything). The difficulties with hygeine, social awareness, attention holding, self-initiation, and processing are all very common in the aftermath of an ABI. Also remember that brain injuries will NEVER be fully resolved the way a broken leg or infected tooth might me (because the brain literally never stops functioning until death), so even if an ABI appears not to have had significant effects immediately it’s VERY common for problems to develop and continue on for months, years, and decades.

  6. He is also in his late 60’s. Sure, we are used to seeing older celebrities who are rich enough to afford the finest health running around like they’re 20 years younger. But money can’t always buy your way out of old age.

  7. He was in a motorcycle accident in 1988 and cracked his skull, kinda explains why the right part of his face is elevated by roughly 2 cm.

  8. He was involved in a Motorcycle bike crash in 88′ and he wasn’t wearing a helmet, he died, they brought him back – and hasn’t been right since – and he probably did a bunch of drugs in the 90’s too

  9. He takes depakote since his accident… Over time this clouds your thought processes and brain damage can worsen as u age. Im an nurse….yes u are being mean to an old man with brain damage.

    • Puck, respectfully, I do not think I am being mean to an old man with brain damage. I am simply socially observing from a far. The issue is with the producers of these shows to put him out there knowing he is virtually incapable of interactions just to make good tv. They are the enemy, I am just your friend… saying the same things you are saying in your living room. This post was a ‘is it just me? Or, are you guys seeing this?’ – judging by the record response I received after he hit ‘big brother’, lots of folks are having these conversations as well.

  10. What most do not understand, regarding brain injuries, is that once the recovery is complete, often times the damage is not over. It is not uncommon for a person to appear more functional after the injury and then begin to deteriorate over time. The frontal lobe, the most damaged area of Busey’s brain, controls many things, including a person’s temperament and behavior. This would explain his behavioral differences. Then there is the issue of necrosis (unprogrammed death of cells and living tissue), where tissue surrounding the injury continues to deteriorate well after injury and recovery. I believe that Busey has experienced some level of behavioral change immediately after the accident that has been magnified by necrosis of the surrounding brain tissue over time. This would explain the ongoing behavioral changes through the years.

  11. I find the last reply intriguing and reasonable. I would also cite the following from Wikipedia: “During the filming of the second season of Celebrity Rehab in 2008, Busey was referred to psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy. Sophy suspected that Busey’s brain injury has had a greater effect on him than realized. He described it as essentially weakening his mental “filters” and causing him to speak and act impulsively. Sophy recommended Busey take a medication called Depakote, with which Busey agreed.”

  12. Just so you know, the effects of brain damage can sometimes take years to present themselves and can come on slowly.

  13. I agree, complications from the head injury and the drug abuse has contributed to Gary’s erratic behavior. But, you know, the other day, on the Oprah Winfrey show, “Where Are They Now?”, Gary and his fiancee gave a short interview, where Gary talked about his motorcycle accident and how he and his fiancee met, and now have a 3 year old son. The interview went very well, and aside from him interrupting his fiancee a little bit while she was speaking, there wasn’t anything weird about him at all. Personally, I think with him now having a lady in his life who truly understands him, and especially having a little son to enjoy his life with, Gary is now having the best years of his life. I’m very happy for Gary and his family!

  14. I just saw a commercial on television with Gary Busey as the spokesman, selling some type of internet TV system. I can’t remember the exact device, because I am distracted on how poor Gary Busey seems so screwed up, rather than focusing on the actual product. I am sure he is sober, but his speech is nearly slurred. Oh well, look at the bright side. At least he is not as toasted as Ozzy Osbourne. Now wouldn’t that make for interesting TV? Gary Busey and Ozzy Osborne on the same show. Perhaps celebrity Family Feud?

    • I don’t think people with degenerative brain injury due to trauma caused by concussion, drug abuse, or illness should be paraded around like side show freaks. I experienced my father’s deterioration caused by a a brain tumor. It was not entertaining. RIP, Dad. 8/31/1998.

      • Robin, I could not agree more. He gets paraded around so people can watch him struggle for their entertainment. Its not just wrong but creepy and cruel.

    • You may find that idea isn’t very amusing, since Osbourne suffered an eight day coma after an ATV accident, and has abused drugs most of his life. He has also been diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s disease, which causes him to shake. Busey was dead for 8 minutes on the operating table and given a ten percent chance of surviving–as a vegetable. He suffered a 33 day coma, and like many coma victims, experienced sensations of light, color and shapes. So did Sharon Stone and other celebs, but their experiences vary. Busey is not the only coma victim who believes he had gone to heaven and remembers objects and voices. This does not make him crazy, as so many people like to joke. He had to learn how to talk and walk and play his guitar and drums all over again. Also, he has many personalities. The normal, sentient Busey who gets along with everyone. The childlike Busey who can get other adults into a food fight with him. There’s a brilliant side to him, also. Yes, brilliant. When he is talking with people, a lot of them shake their heads and marvel at the immense scope of knowledge he can discuss, leaving them in the dust. I’m not referring to his double talk, which can kick in pretty fast, but lucid conversation. At the roast for Larry the Cable Guy, at the end he began referring to art movements: Post Modern, Surrealism and (deep fried) Dadaism. The rest of the roasters had no clue what he was talking about, but someone with an art history background would understand.
      Most people are intimidated by his unpredictable nature and tell him he’s scary. He has been known to be violent, punching a fellow actor whose playful attempt to wrestle being one example.He does have memory problems and he does wear hearing aids, which are almost useless if there’s a lot of noise in the area. He has been considered a loose cannon for some time now, and while he appears fine on most public appearances, the interviewers are probably keeping their fingers crossed that a Mr. Hyde Busey doesn’t decide to show up. It happened on Howard Stern, and if you ever watch the video, he was a bit hyper, and then the rude phone callers started getting to him. His reaction was extremely inappropriate during commercial break, since his filters for behaving properly were no longer in control, and he ended up being told the interview was over. He was perfectly calm by then, and said “Okay, I’ll go home now.” The rest of the show they made fun of him and what he had been doing, instead of having some sympathy for his situation and recognizing his brain had shifted gears.
      But one thing that doesn’t get him down, is the ability to laugh at himself. Yes, sometimes I think he gets a kick out of throwing people off balance with his behavior, but I doubt anyone laughs as hard at Gary Busey as Gary Busey.
      By the way,if you want to see him in complete joy and contentment, watch some of his videos when he is playing music. He’s focused as if nothing else exists, and is relaxing in his true element.

  15. After a brain injury one cannot take / do drugs without them affecting them much more severely than had they not had a brain injury. My husband had a brain injury and I’ve seen what happens when he has to take pain killers now. Since Busey did serious drugs, I’m guessing it did fry his brain. My son bears a resemblance to him. Heartfelt sorrow for him.

  16. Just read this as he entered big brother house in the UK. Hopefully people will understand he has a problem as I can recall a couple of brilliant films of the time he has been in. Watch ‘hider in the house’ for one!

  17. U are a proper prize cunt , brain injuries do effect people in a big way . And for u to slate a person that’s had a serious head injury is just unbelievable . Maybe you should do some research into brain injury before you go slating people . Then u might realise how much of a fucking retard u are . In fact I think you was dropped on your head as a baby cunt

    • Wow. P, I am honored by that much invective british hate. I haven’t heard a rant that mean and profane since I asked Liam Ghallagher if he wanted more chips. However, you absolutely get my intentions wrong. I am NOT here to make fun of Busey, and or his condition. I am NOT here to poke fun at brain damage. Please read the piece again. It is more an investigation wondering what happened. See, I looked at interviews and clips from AFTER his horrible motorcycle accident… and he seemed super lucid and engaging. So… maybe that wasn’t it. I then looked at clips and interviews AFTER his famous and very public overdose. No, he seems super engaged and maybe even funnier and more present.

      So, the piece, to me, is about ‘how did this happen, when did it happen? Is it possible this is all an act?’ I back all this up with video clips as you can see.

      Also, everyone please note… I can delete all the comments. I left this here, and I always will. I do not censor people who are critical of me. Ideally, I prefer a more thoughtful give and take. Perhaps that is what P was offering. However, I don’t know for sure. Being American, I only got about 5% of the words offered. It’s ok if you think I am wrong. Hell, I encourage it!

      What I would ask, as I did with the super pissed off hillbillies on my ‘civil war re-enactment’ piece is this: prove it.

      In fact, for all my new British visitors, here is a piece I think you will like. It is uniquely American. It’s about the sociological weirdness that is the Southern United States STILL celebrating and re-enacting the Civil War. its the war there they didn’t just lose, but were WRONG about. It is the war where they killed their own brothers and family just to make sure black people never got rights. OH… AND… they took up arms against their own country. They call it ‘patriotism’, I call it ‘terrorism’. Anyhow, take a read and especially enjoy the comments. if you think P hates me, wait to you see the hillbillies turn on me.

      https://iamcorrect.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/seriously-what-is-the-deal-with-civil-war-re-enactment/

      Thanks for reading and stopping by, even if you hate me.

  18. I think you have to remember that things affect people differently. I myself went into a coma but I’m ok now. Their are days where I can’t remember if iv taken my insulin and had to pull out of uni as my short term memory has been damaged that’s just from a small coma so I dread to think the effects of what he went through

  19. Well I think he is a creep and a very selfish man. He was on Celebrity rehab and he was telling the others he was not an addict and was there to help them. Yeah right. I normally have no problem with people that are a tad crazy but this guy is always making arguments. If he is so deaf why does he not get an ear thingy so he can hear better? Anyway it is clear he is mentally ill and I think that has a lot to do with his drug use, the accident and probably inheritance?
    He should have never been invited for BB UK. He was horrible also on The Apprentice.
    He thinks he is all that. Everything has to center around Gary. The saying of the word death and team and the other things he said he said those during Rehab TV show so he is constantly repeating himself. When he had the argument with James. He tried to get the other 2 guys on his side was was very rude to James, not looking at him, but when he talks they have to look st him otherwise he is rude, Okay I a going to catch up on BB. Have only watched 2 eps and I hope they removed him out of the house cause this is not fun to watch..

    Question Is he a good actor? I had never heard of him before Rehab.

    • is he a good actor? No. Was he before whatever happened? Well, tough to say. He has one, and only one, great role. He played Buddy Holly in 1978 or 79. It was the role of a lifetime, and he nailed it. however, since then… he is really more famous for being famous. I think the last 35 years he has just been busy being a professional celebrity… doing bit parts here and there.

      What is sad is seeing how totally engaging and charismatic he used to be. I really want to root for him, but it’s tough. When he was on celeb apprentice a few years ago here in the states, he was a jerk to everyone. So, it’s not just that he has no faculties left… its also that he was just a dick to everyone. He is good at being sweet and charming and racy when the cameras were on. With celeb apprentice, though, they followed him for 16 hours a day with cameras. So, you get a better feel for someone’s real personality.

      speaking of apprentice, here is a bit I wrote a couple years ago about it –

      http://maybeiamwrong.blogspot.com/2013/03/rock-roll-celebrity-apprentice_6583.html

      • Hi. I came here cause I felt a bit guilty. I normally am not so mean so I thought let’s delete it. I am sure he has good things but I did not like him on those video’s as well. He is so full of himself even back then.Must watch that Buddy Holly movie now.And of course I am going to read your link. I did watch that season and I so did not like him. Thanks for the link.

    • thank you SO much, Olivia. You are the greatest! Please poke around and read more. I think you’ll find much more you like. This certainly wasn’t my best piece, but it somehow really captured the zeitgeist of the moment. That is something a blogger lives for.

      • Excellent piece Lono,
        I arrived here following the obligatory “what the hell happened to his face?” Google search, immediately after spotting him on BB UK.
        I remember him from Lethal Weapon I think. Then there was Predator 2 I believe with Danny Glover too.
        I expected the cause to be drugs and botched plastic surgery. Still do really ha ha!
        Only Googled it because he made me laugh and really intrigued.
        To the Brit with the swears: please grow up and remember it is best to be thought a fool and say nothing, than open your mouth and remove all bloody doubt. Awesome representation of British custom….. Tosser 😀
        To Lono: I am sure you know but the reason they flock at this time, is because the poor sod’s being paraded on UK TV.
        To anyone who think’s that’s cruel: Enough with the ‘Nanny state’, ‘Libel’ and ‘Health and safety’. It has become like an unleashed wild animal. Enough.

        If he or any one else, wants to earn money by being thought a fool and laughed at like a tortured hideous simpleton monster, then just do it. Don’t ask anyone’s permission to live your life. Not hurting anyone? Then get on with it.

        Love from Kent 😀 xxxx

  20. Poor Gary he looks so vunerable,its heartbreaking to watch him.
    He had a golf ball sized tumour cacerous removed from his sinuses ,this won’t have helped his eye socket and facial balance on tophis motorcycle accident he ad the tumour removed a few years ago it ssays on wikipeadia.

    • Ah come on, he’s happy as Larry.
      If you don’t believe me, I urge you, in fact I urge everyone to scroll back to the top of the page before closing this window, and tell me a quick look at that ‘too crazy for crazy town’ face didn’t make you giggle!
      Awesome, thank you Gary, you rock!
      xxx

  21. I watched all of CBB and I don’t get why everyone thinks Gary is crazy!
    Yes he comes out with a lot of spiritual stuff – sad that so many people think that’s ‘weird’!
    He’s 70 and has survived brain injury and cancer, I don’t get how people can’t cut him a little bit of slack.
    So glad he won, only true star in there.

    • He’s also free of his cocaine addiction for about 17 or 18 years. He OD’d and again, was lucky to survive. His coma was 33 days long after the bike accident., and during that period he was experiencing glowing balls of light and voices telling him information. Coma victims often report that they went to heaven or angels were protecting them. They each have a different description. This experience has given him a firm belief in sharing what he learned. But if he was just a religious zealot, I doubt people would call him crazy. His true struggle is the brain injury. Some of the damage created voids in his ability to suppress unacceptable behaviors and outbursts of words. It means that he may do or say things that he never would have allowed if he was in complete charge. He can be fine and suddenly change personalities (and there are a lot of personalities). Gary claims he knows of 29 different personalities that he has counted in his own repertoire, Most people are afraid that he might do something when he’s with them, especially since he tends to invade personal space. Even some of his friends have told him he’s scary. Also, he is known for talking in sentences that may mean something to him, but are lost on the rest of us. He has occasionally been violent (punching a fellow actor who tried to wrestle with him). So, these are some of the reasons Mr. Busey is thought by many people to be crazy. BUT he is also the founder of a charity for Kawasaki Disease, which his youngest son Luke had contracted and was fortunately cured. He has a brilliant mind and is a philosopher, musician, actor and beloved by many. Here’s the kicker. Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy, right? Gary Busey knows his reputation and flows with it. He makes fun of his supposed insanity, and laughs along with the rest of us. If you haven’t see them, he has interpretations of words called Buseyisms. For instance FUN. Finally Understanding Nothing. Hope I didn’t wear out your eyes!

  22. it’s interesting I was just thinking this. I saw one of those amazon fire stick commercials and then I was like… dude what the hell is wrong with this guy? That’s how I can across this post. I wish him well I just wish he would come out and say what is going on.

  23. “He has often talked about a very very serious and terribly motorcycle accident ”

    It’s been a year.
    3000 hits a day.
    Fix the typo. (terribly should be terrible)

    Cheers

  24. It hurts to see all these hateful comments on such a great man. Not only does he make most peoples lives meaningful, but he brings happiness to anyone who comes in contact with him. Not to mention the fact that he is sitting on a hell of a lot more money then any of you low lives ever WILL be. Thank you for your time

    • They aren’t hateful comments. They are honest observations. Plus, lets be honest… is he really ‘great’. Outside of his amazing Buddy Holly performance (30 years ago)… what else has he really done but be a sideshow?

      he does play up the crazy, he isn’t dumb. However, he is also… crazy. A big bag of crazy. Family size, unlimited refills.

  25. Pingback: The Dougherty Gang – a movie | I am Correct

  26. He also had a golf ball sized tumor removed from his head in 97 and had to undergo radiation therapy to his face and head. That could also contribute to what happened to him mentally. It wouldn’t shock me.

  27. i just came here to find out what was going on with his eye because six weeks ago my right eye closed and looks like his. I’ve had two blunt force traumas to my head, one when I was 5 years old and one when I was 19 years old both resulting in concussions. I appeared to be fine afterward but I guess they finally caught up to me. Finding a physician that understands the delayed reaction to a head trauma is daunting to say the least.

  28. He was a genius and then a retard and then both rolled into one way before you heard the term ‘blogging’ and used it for your personal word bucket.

  29. You don’t even mention his music career 10 years before BUddy Holly. What about Carny ? You are a bad blogger.

    • Goatsaog – thank you for reading, and your feedback. It was a little mean, but I see your point. Your point is that I am lazy, and it was a half assed career piece on Gary Busey. Here is the thing, though – it isn’t meant to be the whole story of Busey. It is meant to figure out: how we went nuts, was he always nuts, how nuts is he, and is it all and act/bit.

      You’ll note I was pretty thorough in looking at the timelines. Here is my final look. He is brain damaged, and barely able to care for himself. This is not empirical data, soley my opinion. NOW… with that being said ? how and why and when did this happen? There are two very critical events that built to this. one was the very bad motorcycle accident, and the other was the very bad (and sadly very public) drug overdose.

      What is weird is that the effects didn’t immediately manifest in symptoms. That is why I embedded the clips, so we could all see and judge for ourselves. I think his issues today are a combination of those two traumatic events.

      lastly, and this is mean but totally honest – I think he is wildly overrated. I think he hit a monster home run with his work in the Buddy Holly story, but that’s about it. I think he is a one hit wonder. I think Gary Busey has been famous for the last 30 years just for being Gary Busey.

      As for your other comment, the other mean one, I would be happy yo respond to it… but it made no sense.

      While I disagree with your comments (at least the one I understood) I do still totally appreciate you stopping in and leaving comments. I enjoy the back and forth. You’ll also note I do not edit or censor criticism. I welcome it. I makes me a better writer… hopefully.

      take care!

      Lono

      • Have you watched any other work of his than the oft repeated Buddy Holly reference? Many of his good roles were not starring, but supporting roles. If not you really should not repeat ad nauseum how that is the only good work he has done. Of course enjoyment is subjective but he was different before the accident and I think you may enjoy some of the films he was in.

        The first time I read your post I too thought you were a mean clueless asshole. After reading some of the comments and rereading the article with a fresh mind, I think you were just very clueless on how brain damage presents in different people over time.

        Knowing he had flat lined from a severe head injury and suffers from brain damage from that injury (as well as the drug/other issues), perhaps a little research on traumatic brain injury would have answered your question. It appears you did not do a whole lot of research on that before hitting the keyboard. I’ve seen a lot worse out here though…

        To end, some of the good roles he has done were after the accident; and in fairness you wondered about the apparent flip flopping his mental state has….I think the other posters have answered that already with information on brain injury that you previously did not appear to know.

        Anyway, enjoy the page hit.

  30. I’m still very curious of what happened to Gary Busey! I’m watching dancing with the stars and he’s in it this season. The guy is nutty for sure why they put him in it I sure would like to know. Is for real or what?!

    • Sharon,

      Thanks for stopping by. The answers to your questions are mostly above in the piece. Also, watch the clips I embedded. I was wondering the exact same thing myself, and I researched and put this piece together. Here are the bullet points:

      gary busey appears to be fried. Just mentally cooked and barely capable. So, I asked why, and did some digging

      Some will say his deterioration is due to a very serious motorcycle accident he had. YET… I have him on a talk show after that happened, and he is lucid and charming. So, maybe that wasn’t it.

      Others have said it was his very serious and very public drug overdose. YET… I found a clip of him after that happened, and (again) he is lucid and charming.

      So, what the hell is the deal with Busey? Is he acting, and getting one over on us?

      No, my thoughts, and the thoughts of almost everyone above is that the combined affects of his terrible OD and his terrible motorcycle accident have caused pretty serious brain damage. It has happened very slowly, but it has happened.

      When I think of Busey and his apparent slow breakdown, I think of Hunter Thompson’s suicide. When Hunter shot himself, he was in VERY bad physical shape. Bound to a wheelchair, and not entirely anywhere as sharp as he was in the 70’s. It was more than just old age, it was 5 decades of serious drug and alcohol abuse. You can’t do to the body and 50 what you were doing to your body at 18.

      Another mostly consensus you will see here is we are saddened for him. Because he is so charismatic, and yet barely functional as an adult, reality shows are parroting him around because he makes great TV. There was the Apprentice (which spurred me to write this article), then Big Brother, and now Dancing with the Stars. I think the popularity of him currently is like rubber-necking at a car accident. The guy is so lost that if you follow him around with a camera crew you will get great tv. Sadly, its at his expense.

      does that help? Again, go through the piece up top carefully, and watch the clips. It’s quite a rollercoaster.

  31. There are studies by the Institute of Medicine that aging causes significant deterioration to the cognitive abilities as well as affect the chemicals in the brain that transmit nerve impulses (neurotransmitters) of people who have suffered TBI. This may explain why as he gets older he has more difficulty. (Please see the works of Dr. Steven Flanagan MD as a reference)

  32. The woman he lives with a “hypnotherapist” who says that she and Gary have been together many times (over 30 times) in their past lives and were the parents to the emperor of Rome. She talked to him about his crossing over and thru hypnotizing him taught him that he has been reincarnated. So…some of this may be from his wife.

  33. Not all brain damage is immediate, folks. The brain is an extremely sensitive organ. Gary rode his motorcycle helmet less in 1988 and unfortunately crashed. That started a chain reaction of cells breaking down, neurons failing to fire, and god only knows what else. This has happened to Gary over time, and now it’s apprently moving into the speech and reasoning centers of his brain (frontal lobe). Couple that with surgery and chemo to remove a tumor from his sinuses in 1997, add a dash of drug and alcohol abuse, and guess what? You’ve got Gary Busey. The damage to his brain is real and permanent. Unfortunately, thanks to cancer, poor lifestyle choices, and natural aging (he’s 71, folks!) it seems to have advanced much faster in recent years. It’s not uncommon that people with brain injuries to exhibit an increase in decreased brain functionality and reasoning later in life. Gary has a trifecta of things working against him, not just age. Poor guy.

  34. Back in the day, this guy rocked! He was in all of the big hit movies. The last movie I saw him in was Apocalypse III-Tribulation, which came out in 2000. Although the movie was weird to me, his acting was on point. I thought it was a strange role for him, coming from Lethal Weapon, etc. Something has definitely switched off since then, like all of a sudden. I’m glad he’s not on DWTS anymore. To me, he’s a legend and deserves more respect. He shouldn’t be looked at as a sideshow attraction.

    • AngieBee, I agree. He does deserve more respect. If you read back, a few people wrote that Gary Busey had a brain tumor in 1996. He has quite a bit of brain damage and he knows it.

      He enjoys all of these experiences and tries everything he can and continues to find ways to pay the rent (so to speak).
      I give him credit for putting himself out there.
      As for DWTS ~ There is NO excuse for Paula Deen!

  35. Your diatribe took me 30 minutes to read I was laughing so hard. I mean I actually thought I was going to die at one point as I was spasmodically laughing like a lunatic. The reason this was so hysterical is because I was watching (under penalty of the silent treatment from my wife) Dancing with the Stars (rather stomping around with the stars as regards Busey) when Gary Busey feebly attempted to re-live his Buddy Holly routine by meandering across the dance floor like a psychiatric patient with tardive dyskinesia from an overdose of Haldol. It was unbelievable! I mean, truly un-f’ing believable. When it was over I had to pick my tongue up off the floor. He sucked so bad
    I don’t want to seem insensitive either, but WTF? Conclusion: once a famous person, always famous no matter if it;s because you have talent or you’ve managed to fool the crap out of the real dicks…us!

  36. I have to respectfully disagree with your evaluation of his David Letterman appearance. He seems a little kooky. He’s designing a helmet with “Frank Lloyd Wright”? Um, Mr. Wright died in the 50’s. He rarely makes eye contact with David and seems to ramble on. I pray he’s not in pain.
    Also, just a little shout out to you. I was pleasantly surprised when I read this. I was expecting something that totally denigrated Mr. Busey and you did a good job of being fair. The problem comes with people’s short attention span these days. They want to read a headline without reading the story.

  37. Just want to say, if I ever see Gary Busey in any movie I will want to watch it!!!!! I have always loved his acting and as a person you can tell he’s a very loving, caring and considerate man! Gary Busey we love you!

  38. I personally believe it to be an act. I used to think similar things about that gorgeous blonde who married the old dude, gained a ton of weight, then he died, she got her own show, looked similar to how Busey acts (like a 5 year old slow person), show got cancelled, and she got on Hydroxycut or something, lost all of the weight, and appeared intellectually normal again. They can be strikingly brain damaged and fool you. On the other hand, I could be wrong too. If that is the case, I feel awful for him and in either case kudos to the man for his success. I’ve always liked Busey personally.

    He always seemed relatively normal to me in late 80’s flicks Lethal Weapon and Under Siege. I didn’t really notice his super odd behavior until it became a fad.

  39. At the Dancing With The Stars finale last night, he was totally disrespectful of the host, not saying anything to him but wandering off the say hello to the judges who were intrigued by his behavior. Why they asked him back for the finale I have no idea. He is obnoxious, a true idiot, and seems actually a dangerous character to others, quick to offend, demanding…did I say obnoxious?

  40. Pingback: Movieing On #170: The Buddy Holly Story | CSICON

  41. You may find this interesting…my neurologist just brought up Gary Busey as an example to me. So when I got home, I Googled his name and that is why I got here. I was in a motorcycle accident when I was 16 years old and I was the driver and the car cut me off. I flew threw 2 windows of the car. I did not have any severe injuries at that time. I am now 48 and since that accident, I have suffered from Cluster Headaches, 10 years ago I was diagnosed with chronic Cluster Headaches and Chronic Migraines. Since then I can not as a paralegal but I can do a little side work but with difficulty.

    The reason my neurologist used Gary Busey as an example is because I have trouble with focusing on a task, memory, understanding complex/dynamic ideas or instructions. My point, all of these symptoms developed over many years. Plus, he’s an actor…of course he did drugs!

  42. Seeing how lucid he was in the Letterman interview makes me worry for Tracy Morgan. Tracy seems back to his old self, but now I worry about long-term effects from his brain trauma.

    • Jon,

      THANK YOU!!! I feel like you are the first person who actually read the piece… or at least who understand it. In the comments above, you will see that people just missed the boat. People thought I was being a dick and making fun of Busey. Nope, not even a tiny bit. I am fascinated and sociologically curious about him. Then, people thought I was making fun of mental illness. They too are wrong. THEN… people thought ‘well, duh. it’s obvious brain damage don’t you see that?’ Of course I do. My piece is an examination of how and when things went wrong.

      More importantly, you made a thoughtful contribution to the piece. No one else has managed this. Tracy Morgan – man, I think you are right. Not only did he suffer a horrific experience, he was VERY notorious for his partying ways before that happened. In a sense, he perfectly fits the Busey model in potential for longer term degradation.

      this is the conversation I am interested in. You are awesome, and thanks for stopping by, reading, and leaving a comment. Hope you come back to see this!

      • It took me 8 months to find my way back here. I’ve always liked Tracy’s comedy, seen his entire SNL run growing up. In the interviews I’ve seen/heard Tracy is starting to pepper conversations with some of the weird non-sequiturs that Gary is known for. It also seems to me that tv hosts are going out of their way to introduce him with lines like “crazy as always”. I can imagine there would be a taboo around pointing out that the accident may have caused changes in Tracy’s personality. There is no mention of it anywhere.

      • Jon,
        This is a very interesting point. Will this be Tracy Morgan in 20 years? Tracy was, and likely is, famously ‘crazy’. However, when we are talking about him, we mean ‘crazy’. I have heard comedians talk about his after show parties (before the accident) and it was an epic bacchanalia every night. Again, though, this isn’t about his lack of mental capacity. I think we call him ‘nuts’ or ‘crazy’ to his lack of judgement in the realm of polite society.

        thanks for coming by and reading!

  43. I had the opportunity to actually meet Gary Busey in 2011 at a local horror show convention, He and Jake Buseywere to share a booth, Jake was there from the start, (He was very pleasant and very personable).The folks putting on the convention had a special cake made for Gary I think it was his birthday ..Of course there were many folks waiting to to have photos signed that they’d bought at the booth. He did come fashionable late, (along with Robert England) who was at a different booth, Gary appeared to be very intoxicated. You could smell alcohol if you came within a reasonable distance. He was verbally abrasive to many of the folks who’d waited on him, and also to the folks who presented him with the cake. (This may be part of the persona he thinks he needs to portray) He did take his place at the booth with Jake but very only for a short time, Jake had to walk him out. Jake came back, The rest of the convention went on as scheduled.But after reading this article I too wonder if there wasn’t something else involved. I didn’t know his background that well. Many patrons and workers at the convention, myself included just thought he was just being a donkeys rear end.

  44. Sadly this dipshit hasn’t bothered to do even the most basic “due dilligence” research into TBI before publishing this trash. It is extremely well documented that the effects of serious brain injury often intensify as one ages. So when he asks ” I am just an insensitive asshole making fun of an old guy with brain damage!” the answer unquestionably is: “Yes, that is exactly what you are.”

    • Ryan,

      First off, thank you for stopping by and reading. I appreciate it! Let me tell you why I think you are wrong. I AM doing my due diligence, that is EXACTLY what this piece is. I could have just posted 5 videos of him being weird. Yet, there is not a SINGLE video that mocks him. Each and every piece I selected shows what a great and engaging and interesting guy he is.

      I’ll go so far as to contradict my own point. I am not an insensitive asshole making fun… You read the whole piece wrong, and I encourage you to read again. This is me wondering what happened, when, and why. If you want to bully people for making fun of Gary Busey, you can find thousands of pieces online. This isn’t that, though.

      It is nice so many folks came here to say something nice and leave a good memory. To me, that is what my piece is.

  45. I agree with you.. But we will never realy know what the hell is wrong with him… He might just be crazy like alot of actors who live life in their movies… He played a crazy man in the movie under siege 2… Just saying… Lol

  46. He was super sharp, hilarious and talented. I have seen him on other shows in the recent past and he primarily plays wigged out psycho characters. Still can be funny, but as you said, BS crazy now and it is sad! I no longer watch him either, but I sure did like him. Guess he always had a wild, kinda quirky streak, as his son seems to have it too.

  47. You don’t know what kind of brain damage he has,or that has come on since his accident 27 years ago, or what types of meds he may have to take now. But I do know that you will answer for every word that comes out of your mouth,good or bad,when you stand before God Almighty. So keep that in mind,when you want to give your loud mouth opinion about someone,when maybe you should keep your yap shut. In brotherly love.

    • Kevin,

      Thank you for stopping by, reading, and commenting. Hopefully y’all note and appreciate I censor none of the criticism about me or my pieces. However, you are wrong on every level. NONE of this is meant to be mockery or judgement. It is a true and curious look as to what happened. Can we trace it? Can we see the minute it happened?
      As for ‘keeping my yap shut’… well that wouldn’t be fun. Plus, you came here and read. I didn’t show up at your door and ask you to discuss Gary Busey. You will hopefully also notice the piece is mostly out of genuine concern and curiosity. I admit, there is also a big bag of ‘what the fuck?’ in my piece. However, it is why everyone is here, isn’t it?

  48. I don’t want to argue semantics but maybe instead of calling the people who help Busey “handlers,” you could call them, “aides.” I certainly don’t know how much assistance he gets (do they cut his steak for him? Who knows!), but I think that by referring to Vusey’s disability as being, “handled,” it kind of takes away his personhood and sounds a little harsh in general.
    I’ve ready your other entries and you seem like a nice person so I hope you don’t take this as attack or something.

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