By Stephanie Zacharek
By Michael Atkinson
By Chris Packham
By Kevin Dilmore
By Amy Nicholson
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Inkoo Kang
By Heather Baysa
Gary Busey is six years old.
That's how long it's been since the blond Texan star of Under Siege and Lethal Weapon dumped his Harley-Davidson at 45 miles an hour, whacked his head on the pavement and...died.
"I left my body," he says, speaking very fast. "I was looking through this unlimited space with balls of black floating around. Three came up to me and just stopped... These two were beige, and they got real bright. This one was mother-of-pearl and abalone--and that's where the voice came from. Androgynous voice. It was the most comforting, loving, protective, nurturing voice I have ever heard. It told me what I had done up to that point, where I was headed, what I could do. But it's okay to ask for help. You can jump now and come back in another life, or you can return to your body and continue your destiny. It's your choice. So that's what happened. It was 1988--December 4th."
Gary Busey chose to come back. So while his birth certificate calls him fifty, he's really six. A mystic surging on his own adrenaline, he's now part tent preacher (causes: The National Head Injury Foundation, Truth in Acting), part dramatic craftsman.
"Truth. That's it. If I don't believe what I'm doing, the audience won't believe it, because I'm so in tune with the truth situation...Take Buddy Holly. I did five movies in a row, and when I saw myself in the mirror with curly hair and glasses and dorky-looking clothes, I couldn't find Gary Busey, and that was a blessing. 'Cause I wasn't there to get in my way: I was chosen to represent Buddy's purpose."
Twenty movies later, he's been chosen to jump out of airplanes.
In Drop Zone, a new skydiving action adventure starring Wesley Snipes as the cop/hero and Busey as the bad guy, the born-again six-year-old gloried in hurtling through the skies. Been doing it for three years, actually.
"Patrick Swayze calls and says: `Buse-Dog, you gotta come down and skydive, because you'll feel something you haven't felt before; it's better than sex.' And I said, `What?'"
First time, Busey froze at the door. His face "looked like the face on Mount Rushmore," and he jumped only when the words "Sissy boy!" rolled through his head.
"Right there is where the nuts go north. You're out of the plane, falling like a weasel on speed, goin' 120 miles an hour--but, like Swayze says, you don't feel like you're falling, 'cause you're so far inside yourself. Then you pull the cord, and WHOCK!--it comes open, and you are in a heavenly place! I parallel it to my crash on the motorcycle, when I left my body and was dead for a little bit: It's like explaining an orgasm to a ten-year-old. You must go up and do it yourself. To feel it, to really feel it."
His eyes have grown shiny. "The great tragedy of life is not death," he says, very fast. "It's what dies inside of you when you're living. And that's the truth.
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