Early SNL Fixture Buck Henry Dead at 89

He also co-wrote 'The Graduate'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 9, 2020 1:18 PM CST
Comedian, Writer Buck Henry Dead at 89
In this 1977 file photo, Buck Henry and Teri Garr appear at the opening of the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" in New York.   (AP Photo/Ira Schwarz, File)

Buck Henry, the versatile writer, director, and character actor who co-wrote and appeared in The Graduate, has died at age 89 after a heart attack, per the AP. Short and deceptively mild, wearing black-rimmed glasses, Henry was an established film and television writer who became widely recognizable during the early years of Saturday Night Live. He hosted numerous times and played such memorable characters as the creepy baby-sitter Uncle Roy and the father of “Nerd” Bill Murray. His gift for satire and knowledge of current events fit perfectly with the brash outlook of the young cast and writers. SNL producer Lorne Michaels would praise Henry for teaching him “a whole other level of things."

“When Buck Henry came to the show, he carried the New York Times around with him the whole day, and he would read it A-1, A-2, A-3—all in sequence,” Michaels said in Live From New York,' an oral history published in 2002. Earlier, Henry was known for The Graduate, Mike Nichols' classic 1967 film that made a star of Dustin Hoffman. Henry and Calder Willingham adapted the script from the Charles Webb novel about a young man who has an affair with one of his parents' friends. Henry created a role for himself as the room clerk at the hotel. Henry also acted in and co-directed Heaven Can Wait, and he helped create the classic 1960s spy sitcom Get Smart.

(Read more Saturday Night Live stories.)

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