Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary.
Posted by Ryan Neal
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
Entertainment
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
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Burt Reynolds

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Famous For:
Gunsmoke, Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance
Networth:
$3 Million
Currently Known For:
Deceased
Famous Years:
1960s - 1970s
Birthdate:
February 11, 1936
Burt Reynolds



  Famous For:
Gunsmoke, Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance

  Networth:
$3 Million

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“I’m not sure if I can swagger any more, but I can limp with the best of them.” First making a name for himself on the football field at Florida State University on an athletic scholarship, Burt Reynolds never envisioned a career as an actor until an injury took him out of the game for good. Reynolds briefly worked as a police officer before he enrolled in an acting class at the local community college where he discovered his knack for entertaining. He honed his talents reading Shakespeare aloud in class and later made his Broadway debut in New York City before venturing into television and film.Advertisements:


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Rising to fame in the 1960s on popular television series like Gunsmoke (1962-1965) and Hawk (1966), Reynolds made a lasting impression in film thanks to his stellar performance in Deliverance (1972). He eventually became a household name known for hits like The Longest Yard (1974), Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Semi-Tough (1977), Hooper (1978), Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), The Cannonball Run (1981), and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982). While his fame ebbed throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Reynolds made a brief comeback in the 1990s with an award-nominated performance in Boogie Nights (1997). His last acting credit came two decades later in Dog Years (2017) before he took his final breath at the age of 82 on September 6, 2018.

Early Life and Career

Burton Leon Reynolds came into this world on February 11, 1936, in Lansing, Michigan where his father served in the United States Army. Because of his father’s career, the family moved around the country from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri to Europe and then Lake City, Michigan where Reynolds, his mother, and sister waited patiently for his father to return from serving in World War II. His father returned from the war in 1946 and moved the family to Florida where he accepted a position with the local police department.

With his father working his way up the ladder to become the Chief of Police in Riviera Beach, Reynolds was a celebrity in his own right thanks to his talents on the football field at Palm Beach High School. After high school graduation in 1954, he accepted a football scholarship to Florida State University where he pledged to the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and dreamed of one day playing professional ball. Those dreams were shattered his sophomore year when Reynolds was injured in the first game of the season. Later in the year, a car accident damaged his other knee and took him out of the game for good.

Unable to take the field, Reynolds lost his football scholarship and enrolled at Palm Beach Junior College. He planned to join his father on the local police force, but an English teacher saw something special in the young Reynolds and encouraged him to try out for the school’s production of Outward Bound. Reynolds was a natural and landed the leading role as well as the 1956 Florida State Drama Award for his performance. The award earned him a scholarship to Hyde Park Playhouse in New York.

Once in New York, Reynolds picked up a string of jobs to pay the bills and made his Broadway debut in Look, We’ve Come Through. He toured with the production and later returned to New York where he enrolled in acting classes. “I was a working actor for two years before I finally took my first real acting class at the Neighborhood Playhouse,” Reynolds recalled. “It was a lot of technique, truth, moment-to-moment, how to listen, improv.”

The lessons paid off and Reynolds landed his next role opposite Charlton Heston in Mister Roberts. He auditioned for a part opposite Marlon Brando in Sayonara, but director John Forsythe thought he looked too much like Brando to cast. Forsythe encouraged Reynolds to move to Hollywood, which pushed his career forward as he honed his talents in low-budget flicks like Navajo Joe (1966), 100 Rifles (1969), Sam Whiskey (1969), Impasse (1969), and Shark! (1969). Then, after passing up the chance to play James Bond, he caught the biggest break of his early career when he was cast as Lewis Medlock in Deliverance (1972).

Going on to appear nude in Cosmopolitan magazine, Reynolds skyrocketed to fame and landed starring roles in The Longest Yard (1974), At Long Last Love (1975), Silent Movie (1976), and Smokey and the Bandit (1977). He made his debut as an executive producer in Hustle (1975) and as a director in Gator (1976). During this time, he also met the love of his life on the set of Smokey and the Bandit—the doe-eyed Sally Field. “There was Sally, who I hadn’t met before. I fell in like and I fell in love,” Reynolds later said.

Reynolds and Field dated throughout the 1970s before the couple split and Reynolds’ career spiraled downward after he married Loni Anderson in 1988. Over the next decade, his extravagant spending and lavishness made headlines as did his 1993 divorce after Anderson took a large chunk of wealth in alimony payments and child support. By then, his ego was bruised as he fumbled to revive his career with several flops like Cop and a Half (1993) and Striptease (1996). Fortunately, things improved in 1997 when he gave a stellar performance as Jack Horner in Boogie Nights (1997), which earned him several awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In the two decades that followed, Reynolds proved his staying power as an actor with credits in The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), End Game (2006), Deal (2008), and Pocket Listing (2015). He made his final appearances in The Last Movie Star (2017), Miami Love Affair (2017), and Defining Moments (2018). By 2018, Reynolds’ health continued to decline as he openly talked about his regrets and lavishness that often overshadowed his impressive career in Hollywood. “There isn’t anything, no matter how good it is… where too much is good for you. It can destroy you,” he said. “It’s a hard lesson but you have to learn to back off… the best way to screw it up is having too much of a good thing.”

That all came to an end for the 82-year-old Reynolds on September 6, 2018, when he died of a heart attack at Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida.

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