Burt Reynolds has died at 82

Article Image

Burt Reynolds, the mustachioed megas...

Posted: Sep 6, 2018 3:37 PM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 8:40 AM

Burt Reynolds, the mustachioed megastar who first strutted on screen more than half a century ago, died Thursday, according to his agent, Todd Eisner.

He was 82.

The Michigan native, whose easy-going charms and handsome looks drew prominent roles in films such as "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Boogie Nights," suffered a cardiac arrest, Eisner said. A call for an ambulance came from his estate in Martin County, Florida, 911 records show.

An iconic Hollywood sex symbol in front of the camera, Reynolds also tried his directorial hand behind it, and later earned a reputation for philanthropy after founding the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre in his home state of Florida.

His roles over the years ranged and pivoted from Southern heartthrob to tough guy to comedy, notably in his role as Rep. David Dilbeck in the 1996 film "Striptease," which flopped at the box office but earned him widespread praise for his comedic prowess.

But it was John Boorman's 1972 thriller "Deliverance," which cast Reynolds as outdoorsman Lewis Medlock, that is widely credited for launching his early career.

Reynolds called it "by far" his best film.

"I thought maybe this film is more important in a lot of ways than we've given it credit for," he said in an interview years later. The movie's infamous rape scene may have helped the public -- especially men -- better understand the horrors of sexual attacks, Reynolds said.

"It was the only time I saw men get up, sick, and walk out of a theater," he added. "I've seen women do that (before)," but not men.

Born in Lansing, Michigan, Reynolds and his family moved to South Florida when he was 5, according to his autobiography.

At Palm Beach High School, he first made a name for himself as a football star and earned an athletic scholarship to Florida State University. But when injuries derailed a promising athletic career, Reynolds turned to acting.

He then scored small parts in the late 1950s before landing a role in the New York City Center revival of "Mister Roberts" in 1957, as well as a recurring spot in the TV series "Gunsmoke."

By 1974, Reynolds had hit it big and starred as an ex-football player who landed in prison in the film "The Longest Yard." Two years earlier, he broke taboo and posed nude in Cosmopolitan magazine, which helped cement his growing status as a sex symbol.

He later said he regretted that centerfold image, which showed Reynolds spread out across a bearskin rug, and said it distracted attention from his "Deliverance" co-stars and likely cost them an Academy Award.

Reynolds' notoriety soared through the late 1970s and 1980s, during which time he spearheaded the "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Cannonball Run" movie franchises. He also earned People's Choice Awards in 1979, 1982 and 1983 as all-around male entertainer of the year.

But he also turned down some of the biggest roles in Hollywood history, including James Bond to Han Solo in George Lucas' 1977 blockbuster "Star Wars." Reynolds also reportedly was among Paramount Pictures' top choices to play Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 epic "The Godfather."

Again, the star expressed regrets.

"I took the part that was the most fun. ... I didn't take the part that would be the most challenging," Reynolds said in an interview with CNN.

His love life also drew headlines after a high-profile divorce to actress Loni Anderson preceded Reynolds' bankruptcy filing in 1996.

Anderson and Reynolds shared a son, Quinton.

"Quinton and I are extremely touched by the tremendous outpouring of love and support from friends and family throughout the world," Anderson wrote in a statement on Thursday. "Burt was a wonderful director and actor. He was a big part of my life for 12 years and Quinton's life for 30 years. We will miss him and his great laugh."

In 1998, Reynolds scored his sole Oscar nomination, for best supporting actor, after his portrayal of a porn film producer in the film "Boogie Nights," despite his dislike of the film and its apparent glorification of the porn industry.

Years later, with a mustache gone gray, he suffered from health issues that led to open heart surgery. Reynolds also checked into a drug rehab clinic in 2009. The purpose was "to regain control of his life" after becoming addicted to painkillers prescribed following back surgery, his manager said.

Once among Hollywood's highest-paid actors, Reynolds later fell into financial trouble amid private ventures in an Atlanta restaurant and a professional sports team, though he continued to make cameo appearances and teach acting classes.

"I worked as an actor for 60 years, I must have something I can give," he told CNN.

Reynolds made an acting resurgence in recent years, appearing in numerous films and TV shows. He was cast in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino-directed "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," scheduled for release next year. Reynolds had not yet started shooting his appearance in the film.

This story has been updated to reflect that Reynolds was born in Michigan. A previous version incorrectly identified his birthplace as Georgia.

CNN's Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

West Lafayette
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Kokomo
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 65°
Rensselaer
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Fowler
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Williamsport
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 71°
Crawfordsville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 71°
Delphi
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Monticello
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Logansport
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 45952

Reported Deaths: 2650
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11387679
Lake4872240
Elkhart308543
Allen2677114
St. Joseph184965
Cass16369
Hamilton1484100
Hendricks136699
Johnson1235118
Porter68537
Madison64363
Tippecanoe6408
Clark62244
Bartholomew57844
Howard54356
LaPorte53925
Kosciusko4952
LaGrange4596
Jackson4553
Noble44728
Vanderburgh4306
Hancock42935
Delaware42648
Boone42242
Shelby41625
Marshall4123
Floyd36344
Morgan32031
Montgomery28720
Grant28526
Clinton2792
Dubois2606
White25810
Monroe25628
Decatur24632
Henry23515
Lawrence23124
Vigo2248
Harrison20822
Dearborn20422
Warrick20129
Greene18431
Miami1802
Jennings16911
Putnam1658
DeKalb1594
Scott1547
Daviess13916
Orange13323
Wayne1286
Franklin1248
Steuben1232
Perry1209
Ripley1127
Carroll1092
Jasper1092
Wabash1072
Fayette967
Newton9510
Whitley814
Randolph764
Starke733
Huntington702
Wells681
Jay670
Fulton661
Jefferson651
Washington641
Pulaski631
Knox620
Clay594
Rush573
Benton480
Adams451
Owen451
Gibson442
Sullivan441
Brown381
Blackford372
Posey350
Spencer311
Tipton301
Crawford290
Fountain292
Switzerland250
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike80
Unassigned0194

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events