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Stephen Stucker

Personal information
Birth dateJuly 2, 1947
Place of birthDes Moines, Iowa, USA
Date of deathApril 13, 1986(age 38)
Death placeHollywood, California, USA

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Stephen Stucker (July 2, 1947 April 13, 1986) was an American actor, known for portrayals of larger-than-life flamboyant characters, notably the insane control-room worker Johnny Henshaw-Jacobs in the Airplane! movies and the cross-dressing, rubber-penis-waving stenographer in the courtroom sequence in 1977's The Kentucky Fried Movie.

Stucker was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 2, 1947. His family moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio, where he graduated High School there in 1965. Distinguishing himself at school as a pianist and a class clown, blessed with dry wit. Stucker made his screen debut in Gregory Corarito's 1975 exploitation Carnal Madness as Bruce Wilson, a gay fashion designer who escapes an insane asylum with two fellow inmates before molesting and drooling their way through the pupils at a girls' reform school. Although the synopsis seems tasteless even by modern standards, Corarito's film was of its time, and even the over-the-top comedy performances by Stucker and his co-stars Michael Pataki and Bob Minor did not prevent the proceedings from lapsing too far into tasteless sexploitation.

Stucker, a distinctive presence with his bald pate and maniacal grin, went on to the 1977 earthquake-in-Los Angeles comedy Cracking Up, alongside future Spinal Tap stars Fred Willard, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, before appearing as the shamelessly mugging Gordon Simley in the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker conceived / John Landis-directed sketch film The Kentucky Fried Movie the same year. Stucker proved a hit both with Landis and the emerging spoof comedy team of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker, as he appeared in both Airplane! and Airplane II: The Sequel, as well as Landis's Trading Places in 1983. Stucker also acted in series of guest appearances in Mork and Mindy.

Stucker was one of the first actors to announce he was suffering from HIV. He died from AIDS-related complications on April 13, 1986 at the age of 38. He was buried in Chapel of the Pines Crematory.

In the audio commentary for the Airplane! DVD the directors remember that when Stucker was a member of the theater group "Kentucky Fried Theater" he had a tendency to steal the show in every skit even if he was just an extra.

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