Gary Busey Net Worth

Gary Busey is an American actor who has a net worth of $500 thousand. Busey is best known for his lead role as young musician Buddy Holly in the 1978 film “The Buddy Holly Story”. His role garnered him multiple awards and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Busey has been regarded as one of the most eccentric actors of his generation, having appeared in more than 150 films. Busey dabbled in music before embarking on a career in acting. He made his film debut in the 1974 crime movie Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.

Despite his acting success, Busey filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2012, alleging he owed more than $500,000 at the time. Unfortunately, Busey’s career took a downhill turn when he developed a cocaine addiction, which ruined his life and career and kept him from reaching his full potential.

Busey has also been known for his unpredictable behavior and controversial public statements. He had a well-publicized drug addiction, though he claims to have been clean for many years. Very recently, he was arrested on charges of sexual assault in August 2022.

Gary Busey Net Worth (2024)

Net Worth:$500 Thousand
Country:United States of America
Born:29 June 1944
Salary (Annual):$200 Thousand Per Year
Last Updated2024

Gary Busey‘s Net Worth Growth

Net Worth in 2024$500 Thousand
Net Worth in 2023$450 Thousand
Net Worth in 2022$400 Thousand
Net Worth in 2021$350 Thousand
Net Worth in 2020$300 Thousand

Early Life

William Gary Busey was born on 29 June 1944 in Goose Creek, Texas to Sadie Virginia, a homemaker, and Delmer Lloyd Busey, a construction design manager. When he was in 4th grade, his family moved to Tulsa.

He attended Bell Junior High School before graduating from Nathan Hale High School in 1962. Busey attended Coffeyville Community College and was later transferred to Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas on a football scholarship.

Before his knee injury forced him to forgo his dream of becoming a professional athlete. He had an interest in acting and studied theatre at Oklahoma State University where he worked as a professional musician for a time. Busey eventually dropped out before completing his degree.

Brief Music Career

Busey began his career as a drummer with The Rubber Band. He played drums on many of Leon Russell’s records under the name Teddy Jack Eddy. He was a brilliant drummer who also played in various bands, including that of country and western icons Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson.

Acting Career

By the 1970s, he had taken on a handful of minor roles in films and television. In 1971, he made his film debut in the biker film Angels Hard as They Come. In 1972, he played minor roles in the films The Magnificent Seven Ride! and Dirty Little Billy.

In 1973, he had a brief appearance in one of the episodes of The Ancient Warrior of Kung Fu, Season 1. A few years later, he was noticed by the director Barbra Streisand who saw his performance in a tv series and chose to cast him as Bobby Ritchie in the 1976 film A Star is Born.


In 1978, he landed the lead role in the biographical film “The Buddy Holly Story” which earned him several award nominations including an Academy Award. While his career appeared to be on the right track, his personal life was not. He became addicted to cocaine and alcohol.

He was no longer landing lead roles, only minor ones because of his drug addictions. He was typecast as a quirky and crazy person in the 1980s and was unable to break out of this stereotype. He appeared in films with minor roles including The Bear, Silver Bullet, and Eye of the Tiger.

Gary Busey Net Worth and Annual Salary
Gary Busey Net Worth and Annual Salary

In 1987, he played Joshua in the action film ‘Lethal Weapon’ which also starred Mel Gibson and Danny Glover and was a big success, restoring his struggling career. In 1991, he received critical acclaim for his roles in the film “Point Break” as well as the 1992 film “Under Siege.”

His drug addiction was growing by the mid-1990s, and he had a near-death experience due to a cocaine overdose. He was hospitalized and also arrested for illegal drug possession. His cinematic career started to fade and he no longer received lead roles.

However, he continued to act in minor roles in films such as Soldier’ (1998), Glory Glory (2000), Quigley (2003), Latin Dragon (2004), Maneater (2007), Piranha 3DD (2012), Entourage (2015), and Camp Manna (2018).

Along with his film roles, he has guest appeared in a number of television shows like Celebrity Apprentice which he has appeared twice, in Season 4 and Season 6, and Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew.

How Does He Spend His Money?

•Real Estate

Busey has been living in Malibu, California, and has several real estate properties around the United States.

•Car Collection

  • Lexus
  • Volvo C30 (valued from $7,584 to $20,228)
  • Toyota
  • Chevrolet

•Divorce settlements

Busey has been divorced twice and the divorce settlements cost a fortune with 3 children he reportedly is paying for child support as well.

•Drug Dealers

Busey’s drug addiction had grown by the mid-1990s and before when his career was flourishing, but it eventually faded. His drug dealers must have made a fortune from cocaine supplies.

•Hospital Bills and Rehab

In 1988, the actor was involved in a motorcycle accident that nearly killed him. Busey suffered severe brain damage while recovering from his physical injuries. He has also been to rehab due to an excessive drug overdose.

Apart from these, Casey also had surgery to remove a cancerous, plum-sized tumour from his sinus cavity. All of these must have cost him a fortune since medical treatments can be very expensive.

Other Works

Busey was a part of the series of Vitamin Water YouTube ads in 2010. In 2014, he became a celebrity advocate for Amazon Fire TV. He is an author, having written Buseyisms: Gary Busey’s Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, an autobiography that is one of the best sellers in 2018.

Personal Life

Busey has been married twice in his life and is the father of three children, however, both marriages ended in divorce. He married his first wife, Judy Busey, in 1968 and they divorced in 1990. They have a son, Jake Busey, who is also an actor and recently appeared in Bunk’d in 2022.

Then, in 1996, he married his second wife, Tiani Warden, and they divorced in 2001. Busey has two more children from previous relationships: Alectra Ellie Busey with Tracy Hutchinson and Luke Samson Busey with Steffanie Busey.

Gary Busey‘s Biography

Real NameWilliam Gary Busey
Nick NameGary
Age79 Years Old
HeightIn Feet –  5 Feet 11 Inches
In Meters – 1.82 m
In Centimeters – 182 cm
WeightIn Kilograms – 77 Kg
In Pounds – 169 lbs
FamilyFather – Delmer Lloyd Busey
Mother – Sadie Virginia Arnett
Sisters – Carol Barraza
Brothers – David Busey
GirlfriendSteffanie Sampson
WifeTiani Warden (m. 1996–2001), Judy Helkenberg (m. 1968–1990)
Children’sJake Busey, Alectra Busey, Luke Sampson Busey

Gary Busey Social Media Profiles

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Interesting Facts

  • Busey holds black belts in several martial disciplines such as budo-jujitsu, capoeira, hapkido, Jailhouse Rock, and kendo.
  • Busey and his actor-son Jake Busey are both licensed pilots who received their training at a flight school near the Santa Monica airport.
  • Busey was a member of the band Carp, and on Late Night with David Letterman in 1982, he played an old LP by the band.
  • Busey played the mad cook in The Tractors’ music video Shortenin’ Bread.
  • Busey endorsed Newt Gingrich during his 2012 presidential campaign in 2011 but later retracted his support.
  • Busey endorsed Donald Trump for President of the United States in 2015.

Bankruptcy Filing

Busey had to deal with two divorces, expensive medical bills, and loss of work. Busey filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2012 stating $26,000 in assets and over $57,000 in debts and over $451K in tax debt outstanding approaching $1 million and the matter was settled in 2012.

Arrests and Legal Issues

In August 2022, Busey was supposedly arrested and charged with sexual charges at Monster-Mania Con in Cherry Hill, New Jersey where he appeared as a guest. According to Cherry Hill police, he was charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

In 1995, Busey was arrested on drug charges when police discovered cocaine and other drugs in his Malibu residence. He was previously arrested for abusing his wife Tiani. In 2011, he attempted to molest a female Celebrity Apprentice staffer.

Charity Works

Busey is an active social worker who is involved with his organization, the Busey Foundation, which he founded in 2012. It promotes awareness and funds for Kawasaki Disease research and development.

In 2011, the actor appeared on the hit TV reality show Celebrity Apprentice and won $200,000 and $20,00 in Camping World merchandise, which he later donated to The Center for Head Injury Services in St. Louis.

Awards and Nominations

Busey won the National Society of Film Critics Award and the BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor in 1979 and Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Role in 1980 respectively for the film The Buddy Holly Story. He also received various nominations for Academy and Golden Globe Awards.

Gary Busey’s Net Worth

As of 2024, Gary Busey’s net worth is estimated to be $500 thousand. Most of his income comes from the entertainment industry where he earns $50,000 per year as a film actor and $40,000 per year as a voice actor.

Busey additionally earns thousands of dollars via endorsements, book royalties, public appearances, and other pursuits. Busey also has an e-commerce website,, where he sells books, cups, pillows, and other accessories.

Despite his many years of experience in the industry, an overflow of medical expenses and rehab stints failed marriages, and terrible real estate investments have all decreased his wealth. Despite this, he remains a respected actor and has continued to work in the industry for several decades.

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