The legendary actor has died at age 82.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Burt Reynolds. According to The Hollywood Reporter and other news organizations, the acting and directing legend passed away Thursday from cardiopulmonary arrest in a Florida hospital.
Reynolds’ storied career reaches back to theater and series TV roles in the late ’50s, but his first big break came while playing Quint on Gunsmoke in the mid-’60s. It kicked off a remarkable run that saw the actor playing every kind of role, including but not limited to scads of westerns and action dramas.
Most Americans remember him best for his iconic movies: the thriller Deliverance, the football flick The Longest Yard, the madcap Cannonball Run, the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Starting Over, Semi-Tough, and the 1997 drama Boogie Nights, for which Reynolds received an Oscar nod.
And, of course, how could anyone forget his character in the Smokey and the Bandit series?
C&I last spoke with Reynolds two years ago, when a documentary about those movies aired on TV. He talked about Gunsmoke and his part in Navajo Joe, but the main focus of the conversation was his portrayal of the Bandit.
“We were under pressure from the suits at the studio,” he recalled of the days when they were making the first film in the Smokey series. “They knew we were having a great time, and they weren’t too thrilled about that. What’s wonderful though — what’s shocking, really — is that after [Lawrence of Arabia director] David Lean saw it, he told [our director] Hal [Needham] what everybody told him: what a great filmmaker he is. He said, ‘I love Smokey and the Bandit.’”
In a roundup of his best movies, Esquire suggested that one of his last roles — 2017’s The Last Movie Star — might have been his most critically acclaimed. In it, he plays an aging movie star accepting an award for his work.
We’ll have more on Reynolds’ passing in the coming days. Here are a few tributes from fellow celebrities that have already popped up on social media.
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 - check out his Tonight Show clips. My thoughts are with his family.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) September 6, 2018
Filming Mystery Alaska was one of my fondest memories and on a cold day riding shotgun with Burt Reynolds on a snowmobile he said”Adam grab the wheel” and as I held the steering wheel He leaped off the fast moving vehicle and jumped on top of a moving “Tree” (Kevin Durand) pic.twitter.com/S4ejEiOdgg
— adam beach (@adamruebenbeach) September 6, 2018
— Travis Tritt (@Travistritt) September 6, 2018
A sad day, my friend BURT REYNOLDS Has passed away. I remember him back in 1979, he always reminded me that I should’ve cast him as Colonel Trautman in FIRST BLOOD , I said that’s… https://t.co/zlAEfpAiaP
— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) September 6, 2018
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Oh how sad I am today along with Burt‘s millions of fans around the world as we mourn one of our favorite leading men. I know we will always remember his funny laugh, that mischievous sparkle in his eyes, and his quirky sense of humor. You will always be my favorite sheriff, rest in peace my little buddy and I will always love you, Dolly