Burt Reynolds

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File:Burt reynolds younger.jpg
Burt Reynolds in a promotional photo from Smokey and the Bandit Part 2.

Burton Leon Reynolds Jr. (born February 11, 1936 in Waycross, Georgia) is an American actor. He may be best remembered as the "Bandit" in the 1977 hit film Smokey and the Bandit.


Reynolds was born to a half-Cherokee Indian father and a mother of Anglo-Saxon descent. After graduating from Palm Beach High School in Palm Beach, Florida, Reynolds attended Florida State University on a college football scholarship, becoming an all-star Southern Conference halfback. While at Florida State, Reynolds joined the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, the football team's fraternity of choice. After a knee injury in 1955 and then a debilitating car accident, Reynolds switched from athletics to college drama and won the 1956 Florida State Drama Award. He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts National Football League team, but he never played professional football. Reynolds reported to the Rolling Stone "Smokey and the Bandit" issue, that he is bisexual.

Reynolds won a scholarship to the Hyde Park Playhouse and moved to upstate New York. He did gigs as a stuntman for television programs until he was "discovered" in a revival of Mister Roberts in New York City and signed to a television acting contract. He made his Broadway debut in Look, We've Come Through.

Reynolds first starred on television, in the 1950s series Riverboat and went on to appear in a number of other shows, including a role as blacksmith Quint Asper on Gunsmoke from 1962 to 1965. His film debut was in 1961, in the movie Angel Baby. His breakout performance in Deliverance (1972) made him a star.

Burt Reynolds on the set of Deliverance.

Reynolds gained additional notoriety in 1972 when he posed in the April (Vol. 172, No. 4) issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. It is said to be the first America magazine centerfold of a (near) nude male.

In the 1980s, after Smokey and the Bandit, he became typecast in similar, less well-done and less successful movies. Comedian/actor Robert Wuhl, in a standup act in the late 80s, said that "Burt Reynolds makes so many bad movies, when someone else makes a bad movie Burt gets a royalty!"

During the first half of the 1990s, he was the star of the CBS television series Evening Shade, for which he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1991). In 1997, Reynolds was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Boogie Nights and won a Golden Globe Award for the movie. Reynolds has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Reynolds has also directed a few movies, the best-known being Sharky's Machine, released in 1981.

Reynolds was married to actress Judy Carne from 1963 - 1965 and actress Loni Anderson from 1988 - 1993. The divorce from Loni Anderson became a highly publicized, bitter feud. He also had relationships with other actresses such as Sally Field and Dinah Shore. He was involved with actress Inger Stevens shortly before her suicide, and to date has refused to comment publicly about the relationship out of respect for her.

His autobiography, titled My Life, was published in 1994.

The bad press from his divorce caused Reynolds' already slowing career to nosedive and he had to declare bankruptcy in late 1996. Reynolds started a comeback with the movie Striptease (1996), and the critically acclaimed Boogie Nights (1997) put his career back on track. In early 2000, he created and toured Burt Reynolds' One Man Show. In 2005, he plays Boss Hogg in the movie remake of the hit TV series, The Dukes of Hazzard

The continuing popularity and likeability of Burt Reynolds to the average citizen is illustrated by a little incident at a Minnesota Vikings game in the 2004 season. Reynolds was a guest in one of the club boxes. During a timeout, the camera happened to zoom in on him, his image picking up on the stadium video screen. Reynolds got a loud, spontaneous standing ovation from the Dome crowd, for nothing more than simply being Burt Reynolds.

File:Burt reynolds older.jpg
Burt Reynolds in 2005


TV Work

External links

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