Burt Reynolds, Man’s Man and Unconventional Movie Star, Dead at 82

burt reynolds smokey and the bandit
Burt Reynolds in the car from ‘Smoky and the Bandit’ (circa 1970). Art Zelin/Getty Images

Another Hollywood star has dimmed. Burt Reynolds — actor, director, and all-around man’s man — has died at the age 82 from cardiac arrest, multiple reports confirm.

His loss was felt immediately by friends, family, and fans alike. Iconic roles in Smokey and The Bandit, The Longest Yard, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Evening Shade, Deliverance, and Boogie Nights made Reynolds an influential part of the entertainment scene and people’s lives.

“Burt Reynolds was one of my heroes. He was a trailblazer. He showed the way to transition from being an athlete to being the highest-paid actor, and he always inspired me. He also had a great sense of humor,” wrote fellow athlete-turned-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Twitter.

“The audience will always forgive you for being wrong and exciting, but never for being right and dull.” – Burt Reynolds

“Burt Reynolds was one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever worked with. He took me under his wing when I was first starting out as an actor and offered friendship, advice, and guidance.
I’ll never forget how much that meant to me,” said actor Paul Wesley.

Reynolds was born February 11, 1936, in Lansing, Michigan; he spent most of his formative years in Florida. While best-known for his film work, Reynolds’ resume features everything from college football player to dockworker. Despite a rocky start in Hollywood, Reynolds persevered, going on to earn multiple awards — a Golden Globe and a People’s Choice, just to name a few — and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“My films were the kind they only show in prisons and in airplanes because nobody can leave,” Reynolds is quoted, but we’re inclined to disagree. Even his “bad” movies held a special place in viewers’ hearts.

Standout moments in his career include turning down producer’s Albert R. Broccoli’s offer to play James Bond, authoring the children’s book, Barkley Unleashed A Pirate; a brief stint as a Floridian restaurateur and investor (Burt’s Place was a real thing in the ’70s), and, of course, his famous 1972 centerfold in Cosmopolitan.

Reynolds remained active in his later years. His 2017 performance in The Last Movie Star was well-received by critics and he was a part of the cast of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film about the Manson murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Reynolds is survived by his son, Quinton.


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