"I like Newt Gingrich a lot," said Busey. "He's great, he's fantastic. Never mind the past. I'm going to give you a BUSEY-ism for past. Past stands for preoccupation about spent time. You need to get out of the past to get into the now. The word now stands for no other way. That's the best place on earth. I like Newt Gingrich because I like what he stands for, I like what he's done. I like his observation on this country, where the country needs to be."
|Gary and Sara|
While Busey (think Academy Award nominee for his portrayal of Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story) was in a jovial mood, he was also on a mission to inform and testify on the importance of mandatory helmet protection. On December 4, 1988, he was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in which he was not wearing a helmet and suffered a fractured skull.
“I went out on a Harley-Davidson without a helmet and hit head first onto a curb splitting my head open, knocking a hole in my skull about the size of a fifty cent piece.” he said. “I landed at the feet of a police officer who was only there scouting the route of a marathon race. Paramedics were one block away having a hamburger break. They took me to Cedars-Sinai. I had massive brain surgery and I died after surgery and went to the other side. I went to the spiritual realm and got some good information."
|Emily Goodin with Gary and a friend|
He's been putting that information to good use ever since. Months after the accident he went to the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles and had former Reagan press secretary James Brady (who suffered brain injuries during the assassination attempt on the President) introduce him to a national press audience and recanted what he had said previously to the media while under duress.
"George Herbert Walker Bush (subsequently) invited me to a White House briefing with a committee called HUD and I talked about my accident, my blessings - and that language became the advocate language of The Traumatic Brain Injury Act that President Clinton signed in 1997. So I am responsible for making that happen. Nobody knows that. That's never been in the press. I haven't been rewarded with that recognition of helping people who are severely disabled."
|Busey with Kiki Ryan|
Busey told us a lot of "BUSEY-isms" that he put together after his traumatic experience and is collecting them for a new book. There were so many intriguing thoughts, rather than recant them here, we direct you to a an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. "The idea came through me," he said. "because I've been to the other side twice. I have a direct line with my angels."
|Gary Busey and CBS' Christine Delargy|
The most important parting message is that he wants to be recognized for the tremendous work he has done on behalf of traumatic brain injuries. "They (Congress) should recognize what I am doing in favor of saving lives. I want the federal government to make the helmet law mandatory in five sports: bicycling, rollerblading, skateboarding, snow skiing and motorcycling.' We hope Congress is listening.
As for his other world - acting - he has a new show coming up with his wife Stephanie called Celebrity Wife Swap. Yes, we were afraid to ask, but it turned out to be all very innocent. "We swap with Ted Haggard's family in Colorado Springs."
The Buddy Holly Story: A look back.