After appearing on Celebrity Apprentice, former US President and then-reality TV show host Donald Trump said of Garey Busey that he wasn’t sure whether he was a genius or a moron.
One things for sure. Gary Busey is one star that’s hard to pin down. Most people know him as an actor who’s notorious for his eccentric off-the-wall personality. Some would even go as far as calling him ‘crazy’. But we’re not trying to throw around pejorative terms like that. Regardless of how you see the man, there’s no denying that Busey’s high-energy. Over-the-top demeanor has always been one of his most prominent traits.
He’s once considered to be one of Hollywood’s most promising leading men after his award-winning performance in 1978s The Buddy Holly Story. But after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a 1988 motorcycle crash. He left with the inability to censor himself and prone to wild public outbursts.
Gary’s son Jake Busey, whom you might recognize for his role as Bruce in season three of Stranger Things. Once told a reporter that after his father injured in that accident, his personality turned up to ’11’. He went on to explain that he felt like he lost his father on that ill-fated day.
It’s a pretty well established fact that Gary Busey’s life forever changed after that nearly-fatal motorcycle accident. But that not the only low point in his life. In many ways, it could argued that that wreck actually gave the world the Gary Busey that we’re all familiar with. But it also set off a chain reaction that eventually led to him going down the road to addiction.
You might have noticed that Gary Busey’s name hardly ever gets mentioned anymore. Sadly, it’s looking like he’s yet another star whose glory days are well behind him. Join Facts Verse as we explore the sad reasons why you don’t see Gary Busey anymore. And how he ended up going from one of the most talked-about stars in Hollywood to being flat broke.
Busey’s Musical Beginnings
Garey Busey started out as a musician, playing drums alongside singer-songwriter Leon Russell. He showed off his musical talent when he appeared in the 1978 film Buddy Holly Story. In which he played the late rock ‘n roll legend superbly. Throughout that film, Busey’s singing, guitar playing, and heartfelt portrayal of Holly were remarkable.
While the biopic film’s script otherwise somewhat uninspired. Busey stole the screen and deservedly scored an Oscar nomination for his performance.
Busey went on to appear in more than 150 films. In most of these features, he played unhinged tough guys that made you feel a bit uncomfortable watching. Some of his most memorable roles were that of Leroy the Masochist in John Milus’s surfer flick Big Wednesday and Mr. Joshua in Lethal Weapon. Perhaps his best-known role was in yet another surfer film. 1990’s Point Break, in which he played a mayhem-raising FBI agent named Angelo Pappas.
These days, Busey is living out his golden years at his home in Malibu. At 78 years old, he lives with his long-time girlfriend. Stand-up comedian and hypnotherapist Stefanie Sampson, their 12-year-old son, and his pet Parakeet Pee Wee.
Busey’s last film credit was in 2018s Camp Manna. In 2020, he hosted the quirky comedy court miniseries Gary Busey: Pet Judge, which can streamed on Amazon Prime. The following year he appeared in an episode of Shameless in which he played Frank Gallagher’s father.
While Busey isn’t officially retired and has expressed some interest in continuing to appear in television shows and films. It’s very clear that his acting career isn’t what it used to. More than anything, Busey’s name is somewhat of a punchline these days.
Not unlike many other former big-name Hollywood players. Busey’s work in recent years has been relegated to the occasional reality show appearances and supporting roles in Sharknado films. And if you do a quick search of the actor’s net worth. You’ll discover that by most estimates, his wealth is estimated at a mere $$00K. Really, is there any worse place a once-prolific actor can find themselves?
So, how did Garey Busey end up where he is today? Keep watching to find out
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The Motorcycle Accident And Busey’s Spiritual Awakening
In 1988, the then-44 year old actor had just picked up his Harley-Davidson motorcycle from the shop when he tried to speed around a bus. In the process, he accidentally turned too abruptly and started skidding. When he pumped his back brake, he went flying over his handlebars and landed headfirst into the pavement. He wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time, so his injuries were extensive.
Busey rushed into emergency neurosurgery. After which he had a long and arduous recovery that took many months. In an interview with The Guardian a few years ago, Busey described in detail how the accident changed his mindset.
Busey told the outlet that after splitting his skull open on the curb, he passed away while having brain surgery and ‘went to the other side’. Gary went on to say that in the ‘spiritual realm’ he received special information and instructions.
When he came back and regained consciousness, Busey claims that he imparted with a newfound sense of understanding and appreciation for the world around him. According to him, he then was able to see the world as if he was seeing it through a new set of eyes – with an added layer of arcane significance.
Busey claims that while he was on the operating table, he became surrounded by angels in the form of balls of light that floated all around him. In that moment, he says that he felt a level of trust, love, happiness, and protection that he had never experienced before.
He further insists that three of these angels came up to him as he took the form of a 1-inch wide and 1-foot-long spirit entity. Busey asserts that this is the form that one’s soul takes and that during one’s life, their soul is housed in their spinal column.
Busey reports that the angels spoke to him and told him that while he was on the right path, he had a greater responsibility to humankind to seek out other helping spirits. He says that the angels then gave him a choice to either ‘step into the light’ and join them or return to his body to continue his destiny.
Years later in 1989, Busey described yet another supernatural experience that he had at a rehabilitation facility weeks after the accident in which he visited by the Grim Reaper. Busey claims that he was sitting in bed when he looked up to see the Scythe-wielding apparition standing in the corner.
Gary says that the Grim Reaper told him that it’s not his time to go yet and that he had received gifts that were ‘ready to be received by mankind’.
Busey saw the encounter as a positive reminder to stay on the road to recovery. He eventually discharged and made a rather impressive recovery. He went on to return to the spotlight and continued to appear in films and television shows. But even though he had survived a harrowing ordeal and had a profound spiritual experience, everything wasn’t sunshine and roses following his recovery.
Busey Struggled With Drug Addiction And Other Health Issues
Before his accident, Gary Busey seemed more interested in feeding his drug addiction than acting. His drug of choice was cocaine, and throughout the 80s, he consumed the substance in staggeringly high quantities.
After the incident, Busey admits that he returned to drugs. His brain injury has led him to be far more impulsive. Drug addiction is just one side effect of this; another would be his numerous highly publicized outbursts and mishaps.
In one interview, Busey revealed that he overdosed on May 3, 1990. At that point, he realized that he needed to leave the drugs behind if he wanted overcome his inner demons, but it would take him another five years of addiction and another overdose in 1995 before he would make another attempt to get clean.
In 1995, Busey publicly announced that he had become a Christian. The following year, he married actress Tiani Warden, who had appeared alongside him in three of his films, The Chain, Plato’s Run, and The Rage. Busey and Warden later would file for divorce in 2001.
In 1997. Busey underwent surgery to receive a plum-sized cancerous tumor from his sinus cavity. The motorcycle accident had already cost him a fortune in medical bills, and his drug addiction had eaten up a large chunk of his wealth as well.
In 2008, Busey appeared on the second season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. By that time, he claimed that he had been clean for 13 years. He went on the show claiming to not be a paitent but rather a mentor to assist others in their recoveries.
In 2012, Busey filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection inc California. At the time, he claimed to be more than $500,000 in debt.
Busey and classic rocker Meat Loaf got into a little spat in 2011 while appearing on Celebrity Apprentice. At one point, the Bat out of Hell singer erupted in a profanity-laden tirade after accusing Busey of stealing his art supplies. Throughout the ordeal, Busey remained uncharacteristically calm and dignified. He later expressed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno that he believed Meat Loaf playing up the incident to try and get a rise out of him to get him fired.
It’s pretty clear that Gary Busey is no longer the hot-ticket Hollywood hotshot that he once was. His 1988 motorcycle accident may have given him a new lease on life, but he also left with a crippling brain injury that permanently changed him. His son Jake’s insistence that his father hasn’t been the same since is at the very least eye-opening.
Busey’s net worth once was in the millions, but even a decade after filing for bankruptcy, it would seem that he has yet to recover financially.
We’re just about out of time for this video, but we’d love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite films that Gary Busey has been in? And do you think that his career would have taken a different route if he hadn’t gotten into his accident? Let us know in the comments section down below.
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