On This Day, May 18, 1978: ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ is released in U.S. theaters


On This Day, May 18, 1978 … 

The life of future Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Buddy Holly hit the big screen when The Buddy Holly Story opened in theaters in the U.S., including a special premiere in Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, Texas. 

The film starred a 33-year-old Gary Busey as Holly, a role that earned him an Oscar nomination.

The movie followed Holly’s story from age 20 until his death in a plane crash at age 22. Also on the plane were Holly’s tour mates, The Big Bopper and Richie Valens, all of whom also perished.

The film, which had a budget of $1.2 million, opened to mostly good reviews and wound up earning $14.3 million in the box office.

While Busey lost the Oscar for Best Leading Actor, the film took home the Academy Award for Best Adaption Score.

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