Buck Henry, Writer of ‘The Graduate’ and Co-Director of ‘Heaven Can Wait’ Dies at 89

Buck Henry, the actor-screenwriter-director who co-created “Get Smart,” wrote “The Graduate” and co-directed the hit 1978 Warren Beatty film “Heaven Can Wait,” died Wednesday night in Los Angeles. He was 89.

According to Deadline, which first reported the news, Henry died at Cedars-Sinai Health Center following a heart attack.

Born Henry Zuckerman in 1930 in New York City, Henry was the son of silent film star Ruth Taylor. He began his entertainment career in the early 1960s as a cast member on programs such as the “The New Steve Allen Show” and “That Was the Week That Was.” Soon after, he co-created the spy thriller parody “Get Smart” with Mel Brooks, also co-writing several episodes.

Though his first film script was for the 1964 movie “The Troublemaker,” in which he also had a minor role, Henry made his name as a writer with “The Graduate,” which he co-wrote with Calder Willingham.

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Buck Henry through the years
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Buck Henry through the years
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Buck Henry attend the Broadway opening night production of "Twelfth Night" at Belasco Theatre on November 10, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 08: Actor Buck Henry attends the screening of 'The Graduate' during the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 8, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. 26657_004 (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TCM)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Actor Buck Henry attends the premiere of Focus Features' "The Danish Girl" after party at Skylight Gardens on November 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 28: (L-R) Screenwriter Buck Henry and Actor Dyan Cannon attend the screening of 'Heaven Can Wait' during day 3 of the 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 28, 2018 in Hollywood, California. 350482. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for TCM)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Writer Buck Henry arrives to the premiere of Bleecker Street Media's "Colette" at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on September 14, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 28: (L-R) TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, Actor Dyan Cannon and Screenwriter Buck Henry speak onstage at the screening of 'Heaven Can Wait' during day 3 of the 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 28, 2018 in Hollywood, California. 350482. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for TCM)
TELLURIDE, CO - AUGUST 31: Buck Henry attends the 2013 Telluride Film Festival - Day 3 on August 31, 2013 in Telluride, Colorado. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images For Telluride Film Festival)
30 ROCK -- "Gentleman's Intermission" Episode 506 -- Pictured: Buck Henry as Dick Lemon (Photo by Ali Goldstein/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Buck Henry arrives at the opening night gala and premiere of the newly restored "A Star Is Born" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on April 22, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK - MAY 04: Actor/director Buck Henry attends the 2009 Soho Rep Spring Gala at The Park on May 4, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - APRIL 14: Actress Carol Kane and actor Buck Henry attend MoMA's Mike Nichols retrospective opening night screening of "Carnal Knowledge" at the Museum of Modern Art on April 14, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 18: Actor/writer Buck Henry and artist Tierney Gearon pose at Artist Tierney Gearon Hosts Dinner Party for "Explosure When" Exhibition at ACE Gallery on February 18, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)
30 ROCK -- "Ludachristmas" Episode 209 -- Air Date 12/13/2007 -- Pictured: Buck Henry as Dick Lemon (Photo by Nicole Rivelli/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Buck Henry and Ben Svetkey of Entertainment Weekly (Photo by Amy Graves/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 26: Robert Klein and Buck Henry attend "Black Book" private Screening arrivals and after-dinner at Dolby Screening Room and Osteria del Circo on February 26, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - DECEMBER 3: Cate Blanchett and Buck Henry attend Fox Searchlight Pictures Private Screening of NOTES ON A SCANDAL With Cate Blanchett at Dolby Screening Room and Osteria del Circo on December 3, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Will Ragozzino/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
JUNE 4: Lily Tomlin and Buck Henry attend "A Prairie Home Companion" Screening and After-Party at DGA and Hudson Hotel Library N.Y.C. on June 4, 2006. (Photo by Chance Yeh /Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Buck Henry (Photo by M. Phillips/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 06: Writer Buck Henry and guest attend the 101 Greatest Screenplays gala reception at the Writers Guild Theater on April 6, 2006 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Buck Henry and Joan Collins attend After Dinner of A Special Screening of "Mrs. Henderson Presents" at Osteria del Circo on November 28, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - JULY 27: Buck Henry attends NY Premiere of BROKEN FLOWERS, a Film by Jim Jarmusch at Clearview Chelsea West Cinema on July 27, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- "Partners" Episode 14 -- Pictured: (l-r) James Burrows (director), Buck Henry as Leonard -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
Buck Henry during 31st Telluride Film Festival - Buck Henry Introduces "Hunger" by Henning Carlsen. (Photo by Arun Nevader/WireImage)
Buck Henry during Miramax premiere of "I'm Not Scared" at Lighthouse Int'l / Le Cirque in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 31: (U.S. TABS AND HOLLWOOD REPORTER OUT) Writer Buck Henry attends the Premiere of "I'm Not Scared" at Lighthouse International on March 31, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images)
Buck Henry during "Assassination Tango" Premiere - New York at The Angelika Film Center in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
Actor Buck Henry in his dressing room at the Lyceum Theatre on W. 45th St., where he is starring in the Broadway revival of the play "Morning's at Seven." (Photo By: Linda Rosier/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Buck Henry during "Black Hawk Down" Los Angeles Premiere at The Academy in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Comic Buck Henry being photographed on location filming 'The Player' on July 20, 1991 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Actor Buck Henry attending 'Angel Art Benefit Auction' on May 20, 1990 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Comic Buck Henry attending the New York premiere of 'As Good As It Gets' on December 16, 1997 at Loew's Twin Theater in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Comic Buck Henry attending the premiere party for 'Chocolat' on December 4, 2000 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Comic Buck Henry attending 'Sally Kirkland Art Exhibit' on June 9, 1988 at Galerie Des Stars in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
282804 11: Actor Buck Henry attends the premiere of "The People Vs. Larry Flynt" on closing night of the 34th New York Film Festival October 13, 1996 in New York City. The film received 1997 Academy Award nominations for Best Actor for Woody Harrelson and Best Director for Milos Forman. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Liaison)
Writer Buck Henry and actress Lauren Hutton. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1985: Actor Buck Henry poses for a portrait in circa 1985 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
THE NEW SHOW -- Episode 1 -- Aired 01/06/84 -- Pictured: Buck Henry (Photo by NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Buck Henry and Teri Garr during Filmex Opening at Avco Center Cinema in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 20 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bill Murray as Nick The Lounge Singer, Laraine Newman as Elenor Posniak, Buck Henry as Richard Posniak during the "Nick at Trader Nick's" skit during "" skit on May 24, 1980 -- (Photo by: Alan Singer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 20 -- Air Date 05/24/1980 -- Pictured: Host Buck Henry on May 24,1980 (Photo by Alan Singer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Actress Teri Garr and Buck Henry, both eating hot dogs. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 4 -- Pictured: Buck Henry during the monologue on November 10,1979 -- (Photo by: Alan Singer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
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He subsequently worked on several important films, including “Catch-22” and “The Owl and the Pussycat” in 1970, and “What’s Up, Doc?” in 1972. Other credits from his long career include “First Family,” which he also directed in 1980, “To Die For” in 1995, and “Town & Country” in 2001.

Henry also worked frequently as an actor - memorably, he appeared as a semi-self parody in Robert Altman’s “The Player,” pitching a sequel to “The Graduate.”

He became especially notable for numerous appearances on “Saturday Night Live.” Between 1976 and 1980, he hosted the show 10 times, by far the most frequent host during the show’s original era. His hosting record held until 1989, when it was broken by Steve Martin.

Read original story Buck Henry, Writer of ‘The Graduate’ and Co-Director of ‘Heaven Can Wait’ Dies at 89 At TheWrap

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