Gary Busey has
circled the rodeo many times, and always seems to climb back up on
the bucking bronco whenever life throws him for a loop. He started
out as an athlete and drummer, but then made his mark in Hollywood
appearing on such shows as Gunsmoke and Law & Order, as well as
in the blockbuster hits Lethal Weapon and Under Siege. Nominated for
an Academy Award for the title role in The Buddy Holly Story, he continues
to keep tongues wagging with his quirky Busey-isms, as witnessed on
two different seasons of NBCs Celebrity Apprentice. But it hasnt
all been red carpets and klieg lights: Hes battled cancer, endured
traumatic brain injury, and helped to pull his 4-year-old son from
the clutches of a rare disease. ABILITYs Chet Cooper and Lia
Martirosyan recently visited him and his special soulmate,
Steffanie Sampson, for an interview and video shoot at their Malibu
home. Buseys public relations rep, Michael Conley, was also
Gary Busey: Its great to meet you.
Lia Martirosyan: Its great to meet you, too.
Steffanie Sampson: (Flipping through a recent issue of ABILITY.) I
love the name of your magazine. I tell Gary he has a diffability;
[Busey points to a series of photos on a mantle.]
Busey: You see this right here. Luke was, I think, 15 months then.
Thats what he looked like when he had Kawasaki disease; its
very rare. He was at Cedars-Sinai for 13 days. And this is him now.
Hes much better. We created a nonprofit foundation to help children
who have Kawasaki disease. Kids get it from when theyre babies
up to five years old. If you catch it in time there are huge disabilities
that can be prevented
Have you met Luke, yet?
Martirosyan: No, but were looking forward to it.
Sampson: You should meet him towards the end, cause hell
cause chaos. Trust me.
Busey: Do you know what chaos stands for? C-H-A-O-S stands for Critical
Hate And Overwhelming Stupidity.
[Luke runs into the room.]
Busey: This is Mr. Luke Sampson Busey
Sampson: Luke, dont put anything in your mouth unless its
Busey: Happy household, huh? Strange and surprising, but who cares?
(Sampson and Luke leave the room.)
Cooper: Would you talk a little bit more about Kawasaki disease?
Busey: As I was saying, it occurs mostly in children under 5; it affects
roughly 15 out of every 100,000 kids in the United States. If it isnt
diagnosed and treated within ten days of its onset, a child can acquire
a lifelong disability or die. The challenge with treating, though,
is that the symptoms are similar to those of other childhood diseases,
and it comes on without warning. You can see here how Lukes
face was real round and puffy, his tongue was tomato red, his eyes
had red around them, too, and he had a fever. We got him to the doctor.
My special soulmate, Steffanie, and I dealt with this together, and
now we have a double strength for it, working to get money for recovery
Cooper: Thats important. How are you doing these days? I remember
when you had that accident.
Busey: Yeah in December 1988. I was on a Harley Davidson at the Washington
and Robertson intersection. I came around the corner too fast and
slid on some sand. I braked hard, and the bike flipped me over, I
hit my head and then my back. I had a double compound fracture in
my pelvis, and my skull was split from my ear to the top of my head.
It knocked a big hole in my skull, which filled with bone from my
After the brain surgery at Cedars-Sinai, I passed on for a timeas
in died. Thats when I went to a supernatural, spiritual realm.
I changed form. My essence or soul was about a foot long and a quarter
of an inch wide. I could see 360 degrees, but it wasnt really
seeing, it was more like feeling. Feelings that came from everywhere
in the universe, and were so powerful and lovely. I was surrounded
by these golden lights floating around me, and they spoke to me in
a quiet voice, saying that what I was doing was good, but there was
responsibility comin to me. I would have to look for help in
the spiritual realm. The angels said, You can come with us,
or you can go back to your body and continue your destiny. And
then I heard, Its your choice.
When I came back from the other side, they had me under 12 layers
of drugs, strapped to a table in the mental ward. A male orderly told
my brother, You better get him out of here or theyre gonna
cuckoo-nest him. So they found a local hospital that had a traumatic
brain injury ward. And it was there that I started over: Learning
how to walk, talk, eat, clothe myself-everything.
My doctors put my mattress on the floor and took me off all the drugs.
At my core, I felt that my intent was to get home to my center, my
identity. Learning to do everything again took time. I cant
remember a full four and a half weeks of my life because my memories
will not consolidate. In my motorcycle crash, I hit the ground so
hard that the right side of my skull was dormant for four and a half
weeks. Nada. I was just a happy little hospital boy.
While I was there, I got a flowery card and a poster from the Lethal
Weapon cast and crew, and theyd drawn helmets on Mel Gibson
and Danny Glover, signing it, Get well, we love you and miss
you, come on back. It was lovely to get that. I didnt
consciously know everything around me that was happening, but I felt
it in my body, in my emotions. I got out of the hospital two and a
half months early because my faith was helping to repair me. I got
emails from a nurse who worked with me. She told me: One time
we were goin down the hall and you were listing to the right,
making sounds. We stopped in a room and it was empty, and you looked
at me and I said, Yeah, go in there. And you went in the
room and you knelt down by the bed.
I dont remember that specific event, but sense memory tells
me that I said a prayer, and I felt the white cloak of faith come
around me. F-A-I-T-H stands for Fantastic Adventures In Trusting Him.
And I did.
Faith gives me the ability to rise above anything, because what is
true in the spiritual realm is forever true. It cannot be denied.
That was a big experience of spiritual epiphany to me, going to the
other side. Ive had some experiences in life that have seemed
like setbacks, but they arent because I grew from them. I wasnt
failing. F-A-I-L-I-N-G: Finding An Important Lesson, Inviting Needed
Growth. So you dont actually fail, you find a better way to
do whatever youre doing, and thats your ability, the truth
of your core from past life experiences to where you are now in this
life. It gives you the ability to be in your truth, without anything
holding you down in a box that will never open.
The most powerful thing we have is our psyche. And to use our minds,
we must be clear, vulnerable and open, which will take us to places
we didnt even know were there or couldnt imagine ourselves
Later on, I went to Washington, DC, and met with someone in President
George Herbert Walker Bushs administration. Parts of what we
discussed became the initial language used to create the Traumatic
Brain Injury Act that President Clinton signed in 1997. So my ability
to recover from a disability created that law that helps so many.
Its a good feeling, you know, when you help somebody. Thank
you angels, thank you, God, its beautiful. Its a beautiful
way to give. My mother always told me, Giving is better than
receiving. As I got older, I found that yes, giving is better
than receiving, cause thats the ability you give somebody
to get stronger than they would be, than they could be, than they
should be, before you loved them. When you give somebody the ability
to feel your love and your healing, youre a doctor in the spirit,
bringin medicine from God to your heart and on to them. Howm
Busey: I feel like Im on a flow, and like its not me really
talkin; Im a messenger. This is coming to me from the
other side, cause I was there. Its a lovely blessing to
be able to share this experience with everyone.
Michael Conley: Whats always amazed me is that Ive been
doing public relations for 30 years, and celebrities complain about
the least little thing, theyve got a hair out of place or makeup
or a cold. Garys outlived addiction, brain surgery, rehab, cancer.
Buseyisms and more: garybusey.com
Busey Foundation for Childrens Kawasaki Disease Education and
You can read
the complete article and the full magazine, including all of the photos
in our Digi issue, by clicking "Like"
from the Gary
Busey Issue Apr/May 2014:
Nao Robot for Education
China Art Project
Gary Busey Lifes Apprentice
Billy Mclaughlin Music Focal
EARN Internships &
Rings Born to Act
in the Gary Busey Issue; Senator HarkinThe Reality of Restraints;
Ashley Fiolek Surprise!; Humor Better Things to Do;
Geri Jewell Red Carpet; China Limitless Art; Long Haul
Paul Two Weeks Notice; CSUN Wonders of Technology;
Special Olympics Spread the Word; Doug Henry A Day in
the Dirt; Nao Robot for Education; Music Focal Dystonia;
Gary Busey Lifes Apprentice; Rings Born to Act;
EARN Internships & Mentoring; ABILITY's Crossword Puzzle;
Events and Conferences...