Buck Henry, Oscar Nominee and 'Get Smart' Co-Creator, Dead at 89
Buck Henry, the comedy writer who was nominated for an Oscar twice and became a familiar face as an actor, has died. He was 89.
Deadline reports that Henry died on Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital of a heart attack.
Henry, born December 8, 1930, to a silent movie actress and a stockbrocker, got his start in TV writing for "The New Steve Allen Show" in 1961 and "The Garry Moore Show" from 1963-1964.
In 1965, he co-created the classic spy spoof "Get Smart" (1965-1970) with Mel Brooks and wrote on the show, on which Don Adams played bumbling Agent Maxwell Smart and Barbara Feldon glamorous Agent 99. Henry wrote the film "The Nude Bomb" (1980), which revived Smart, who was played in a "Get Smart" movie (2008) by Steve Carell.
Henry also created the warmly remembered, short-lived series "Captain Nice" (1967) and "Quark" (1978).
Among his greatest achievements in film, Henry was nominated, along with Calder Willingham, for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on "The Graduate" (1967), featuring the iconic characters Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), an aimless college grad, and predatory cougar Mrs. Robison (Anne Bancroft). He was part of the team of screenwriters of the Barbra Streisand-Ryan O'Neal comedy "What's Up, Doc?" (1972), and received his second Oscar nomination for co-directing "Heaven Can Wait" (1978) with Warren Beatty. He also wrote director Gus Van Sant's dark comedy "To Die For" (1995), starring Nicole Kidman.
As successful as Henry was as a creative, he became instantly recognizable as a dry-witted actor as well, appearing in such films as "Catch-22" (1970), "The Man Who Fell to Earth" (1976), "Gloria" (1980), "Eating Raoul" (1982), "Defending Your Life" (1991), "Short Cuts" (1993), and "Grumpy Old Men" (1993).
He was the first performer to host "Saturday Night Live" 10 times (making 17 appearances in all), was one of the title character's most memorable dates on "Murphy Brown" (1989), and guested on "Will & Grace" (2005), "30 Rock" (2007 & 2010) and "Hot in Cleveland" (2011).
Less than a month ago, Henry, who had been frail in recent years, appeared at a screening of "The Two Popes."