Buck Henry, the Hollywood screenwriter known for “The Graduate” and “What’s Up, Doc?” and who co-created the TV comedy series “Get Smart,” died Wednesday night in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack, according to reports. He was 89 years old.
Many fans also know Henry for his frequent appearances on “Saturday Night Live” during its early years. For example, Henry was the sandwich-buying customer who appeared in the “Samurai Delicatessen” sketch with the late John Belushi.
“The Graduate,” released in 1967, made a star of Dustin Hoffman and earned Henry and co-writer Calder Willingham an Oscar nomination for their film adaptation of Charles Webb’s 1963 novel.
The film, about a young man’s struggles to adapt to adulthood, made the one-word answer, “Plastics,” a popular punchline.
Hoffman’s co-star was Anne Bancroft, whose husband Mel Brooks had collaborated with Henry in the creation of “Get Smart,” which aired from 1965-1970. It starred Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, a hapless, comedic version of James Bond.
In 1978, Henry earned another Oscar nomination for directing Warren Beatty in the 1978 comedy “Heaven Can Wait.”
He also wrote the screenplay for the 1995 Nicole Kidman film, “To Die For.”
He also played Dick Lemon, father of Tina Fey’s character Liz Lemon, on “30 Rock,” Entertainment Weekly reported.
Henry started his career by writing for TV hosts Steve Allen and Garry Moore in the 1960s, Deadline Hollywood reported.
His wife, Irene, was by his side when he died in Cedars-Sinai Health Center, Deadline reported.