Legendary actor and writer for film and television Buck Henry died Wednesday at the age of 89 after suffering a heart attack, according to Deadline.
His wife Irene — Henry’s sole survivor, as the couple had no children — was reportedly by his side at Cedars-Sinai Health Center in Los Angeles, California, when he passed away.
Famed actor and writer
While Henry had a plethora of acting, writing and even directing credits to his resume, he is arguably best known in the realm of film for his Oscar-nominated screenplay of “The Graduate,” an iconic film starring Dustin Hoffman.
As for TV, he won an Emmy award for his writing on the 1960s “Get Smart” series, a comedic spoof on the spy genre which combined aspects of classic characters like James Bond and Inspector Clouseau into Maxwell Smart, an awkward but efficient secret agent.
Henry was also a regular host of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” comedy sketch program during its first several seasons, where he played a variety of different characters but is perhaps best remembered for his role opposite John Belushi in the “Samurai” chef skits.
Henry also wrote and appeared in several dozen other films and TV programs over the decades, and received numerous awards and nominations and recognition for his work.
The secret to writing is — there is no secret
In 2009, Henry sat down for an interview with the TV Academy Foundation and offered a glimpse into his writing process.
“I wish I could do what writers of my generation do, which is just — open the gate and let it come out,” he explained. “I envy them. It’s hard for me to do. That’s why I liked writing for television because I had to do something every day.”
“So the best secret is — and it’s not a secret — is just when [you] get stuck in a scene, write nonsense. But do something to keep your hand moving, doing something on the page. That’s all. There are no great insights,” he added.
An incomparable talent
It is difficult to overstate just how talented Henry was.
While Henry may not have been the most famous star or a household name, odds are you are aware of at least some of his work and would recognize him if you saw him.
His presence and his work will certainly be missed, and we share in the grief felt at his loss by his wife and friends.