The Graduate scriptwriter Buck Henry passes away at 89 after suffering heart attack

The renowned actor-director and screenwriter also hosted the Saturday Night Live show in the late 1970s

Renowned actor-director and screenwriter Buck Henry died of a cardiac arrest at Cedars-Sinai Health Center in Los Angeles. The 89-year-old writer of The Graduate is survived by his wife, who was at his bedside in his final moments.

Apart from co-writing The Graduate, Henry also wrote and co-directed 1978 cult classic Heaven Can Wait. Born as Henry Zuckerman in 1930, he was the son of silent film star Ruth Taylor. It was in 1960 that Henry entered the world of glamour on TV shows.

Henry started his journey with television shows

Buck Henry

Before moving to the big screen, Henry appeared on The New Steve Allen Show and That Was the Week That Was. In 1967, he won an Emmy Award for spy parody Get Smart, a collaboration between Henry and Mel Brooks.

In one of his previous interviews, Henry spoke about his spy spoof. "Nobody seems to remember it but me. I go to [Talent Associates partner Danny Melnick's office], and he says, 'I want to give you guys an idea: What are the two biggest movies in the world today? James Bond and Inspector Clouseau. Get my point?' ... It's parody and satire."

An audience favourite during his appearances as a host on Saturday Night Live, Henry was nominated twice for the Oscars for The Graduate and Heaven Can Wait, which he co-directed with Warren Beatty.

'When [you] get stuck in a scene, write nonsense,' Henry

During a 2009 interview for the TV Academy Foundation, Henry spoke about the secret behind his writing: "I wish I could do what writers of my generation do, which is just — open the gate and let it come out. I envy them. It's hard for me to do. That's why I liked writing for television because I had to do something every day. ... So the best secret is — and it's not a secret — is just when [you] get stuck in a scene, write nonsense. But do something to keep your hand moving, doing something on the page. That's all. There are no great insights."

In 1970's Henry went on to write some great films such as What's Up, Doc? along with book adaptations including Catch-22, The Owl and the Pussycat, and The Day of the Dolphin.