By “Huckabee” writer/pop culture historian Pat Reeder (http://www.facebook.com/hollywoodhifibook )
As a fellow comedy writer who greatly admired Buck Henry, I’m sad to report that he has died in a Los Angeles hospital at 89 with his wife Irene by his side.
Henry was a familiar face to the public for his many movie and TV comedy roles as a bespectacled, unassuming everyman, but he was most known to fans of the early days of “Saturday Night Live.” It became tradition that he hosted the final show of each season. His ten shows held a record finally broken by Steve Martin. In his most famous sketches, he played the customer trying to get some product or service from John Belushi’s Samurai butcher, tailor, etc. In one notorious sketch, Belushi’s wild sword swinging accidentally nicked Henry’s forehead on live TV. He had to do the rest of the show with a bandage on his head to stop the bleeding.
But Henry was actually best known behind the camera. He wrote or co-wrote a number of movies, including “Catch-22,” “What’s Up, Doc,” “The Day of the Dolphin,” and a terrific black comedy with Nicole Kidman that you should definitely check out called “To Die For.” In his early days, he wrote for such classic TV comics as Steve Allen and Garry Moore, and the pioneering topical humor show, “That Was the Week That Was.” His most famous gigs were his Oscar nominations for co-writing “The Graduate” and co-directing Warren Beatty’s “Heaven Can Wait,” and to me, the thing that will forever cement his place in comedy history: he co-created “Get Smart” with Mel Brooks.
Rest in peace to one of the genuine major multi-talents of 20th century entertainment.