Actor Burt Reynolds, known for disparate roles in movies from Smokey and the Bandit and Deliverance to Boogie Nights, has passed away at the age of 82. According to the Hollywood Reporter, he was at Jupiter Medical, in Florida, at the time of his passing.
As far back as the 2017 Tribecca Film Festival, fans thought that Reynolds was looking frail, as he attended the premiere of his film, Dog Years. It was revealed by Closer Weekly that Reynolds had dealt with numerous health issues in recent years, from back surgery to a quintuple heart bypass. While at the film festival, he had issues walking and standing. Reynolds had blamed those issues from performing all of his own stunts over the years.
Born in Lansing, Michigan, Burt Reynolds was awarded a football scholarship and attended Florida State University. Expected to become a football superstar, his hopes came crashing down when he received a serious knee injury in his sophomore year that ended his athletic career. He transferred schools and was cast in a production there. That role earned him a scholarship and a summer-stock job at the Hype Park Playhouse in New York. After that, he began to study at the Actors Studio. Soon, he found success on stage as well as on Broadway. After that, he turned his attention to film and TV, and the rest was history.
He quickly skyrocketed to fame in the 1970s and ’80s. He became known for playing parts as a lovable, freewheeling rascal that stole the hearts of heroines, critics, and audiences alike.
“I didn’t open myself to new writers or risky parts because I wasn’t interested in challenging myself as an actor. I was interested in having a good time,” Reynolds wrote in his memoir, But Enough About Me, that was published in 2015. “As a result, I missed a lot of opportunities to show I could play serious roles. By the time I finally woke up and tried to get it right, nobody would give me a chance.”
Despite the lack of “challenging” roles, his career was unaffected. He became the top-grossing movie star every year from 1978 through 1982. This was the longest stretch of total success Hollywood had seen since the 1940s and the success of Bing Crosby, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In recent years, he had slowed down on work and had retired to his adopted home state of Florida. He is survived by his son, Quinton, from his second marriage to Loni Anderson