Friday, March 2, 2012

Stephen Stucker

Stephen Stucker is best remembered as the crazy Johnny  in the classic comedy Airplane, where he upstaged every well-known actor in the movie. He later went on to an equally funny performance in Airplane II: The Sequel. Before Airplane, he was just as funny as a courtroom stenographer in the underground comedy, Kentucky Fried Movie.

The two Airplane films brought Stephen Stucker some well deserved attention, but the great comic roles he should have had never came his way.


He was a brave man, for he was one of the first actors to publicly announce that he was HIV positive, which in the 1980's was a bold move. I'm sure that played a part in his lack of better roles. This act alone gives me great respect and admiration for Stephen Stucker. Hollywood, of all places should be ashamed.

Steven Stucker died in 1986 of complications of AIDS at the young age of 38. One can only wonder what kind of laughter he would have brought to the entertainment world as a guest host on Saturday Night Live, as foil to Jim Carrey or Jerry Seinfeld, or appearing on a variety of television shows and movies that could have benefited from his presence.


8 comments:

  1. I totally agree. I find it sad to watch Flying High 1 and 2 now but still do out of respect. I think the Phil Donohgue show is shameful the way the people carried on. Seeing him like that, knowing it was only months away, very sad but we must remember the good things. It is good that the internet and you remember him.

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  2. Brilliant comic timing. I just finished watching Airplane!, for the probably 20th time, and I was compelled to remind myself of this talented actor. Taken too soon - RIP, Mr. Stucker.

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  3. I just finished watching Airplane! and enjoyed watching Steven Stucker. I have ment to Google him, and I am sad to see he lost his life at a young age. He gave a zany performance and he really stood out. Thank you for remembering him :)

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  4. 19 years before his demise, before Airplane and his other published credits, Steve, affectionately known as "Stevie" in 1965, had audiences in stitches as a high school senior (Shaker Heights High School) playing one of the two gangsters in the musical "Kiss Me Kate." ...Memorably outlandish, a man and a character never to be forgotten.

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  5. In the early 80's I had the pleasure of recording several music demos for Steve. Not only was he a talented comedic actor, but he had some serious Broadway-style composing chops. On the demos he sang, played piano, and kept everyone in the studio laughing. The title of the work was, if I remember correctly, "The Ladies of the Press."

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  6. When North Korea's internet went down, I immediately pictured Johnny doing it...RIP Stephen.

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  7. Great blog. Great comments. I came searching after just now reading an article on another TSA blunder and the article make reference to the Airplane II security screening scene. When the original Airplane movie first came out, I saw it several times in the theaters, then several more times when it stepped down to the dollar theaters, then more times when I bought it on VHS, and continue to what it on DVD. I still find subtle humorous things in the movie that I have missed previously each time I watch it. But there is no way to watch it without getting wrapped up into and loving Johnny. RIP Stephen. Though I never knew you personally, you have brought a smile to my face and life a little more fun for me for now over 30 years. Thank you for that precious gift.

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  8. He was also good in DELINQUENT SCHOOL GIRLS with Michael Pataki from 1975...

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