Burt Reynolds, the charismatic American actor and Hollywood heartthrob, has died today of cardiopulmonary arrest at age 82.
If we could make a contemporary analogy, Reynolds was probably the Channing Tatum of the late 70s and early 80s. Only, with a moustache.
A charming action and comedy actor with incredible box office pull and many hit movies under his belt, he dazzled female audiences of all generations with memorable performances in popular films like Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run.
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
Burt Reynolds was a friend of mine, sad to hear of his passing.
— Billy Dee Williams (@realbdw) September 6, 2018
Although Reynolds was Hollywood’s top-grossing star from 1978 to 1982, critical acclaim was somewhat elusive to him. He’s famous for turning down now iconic roles that could’ve got him awards – such asccriminal Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment.
Both roles ended up being played by Jack Nicholson, earning him two Academy Awards.
Reynolds also rejected portraying Han Solo in Star Wars, John McClane in Die Hard, and Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman.
“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,” the actor wrote in his 2015 memoir, But Enough About Me.
As THE movie star of my childhood, the Bandit stole our hearts for decades. I always loved how Burt Reynolds worked with his friends as often as he could and then showcased the fun of movie-making in the end credits of his flicks. He was true American icon. Hate to see him go… https://t.co/jaMZjJA4e8
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) September 6, 2018
R.I.P. Burt Reynolds, underrated as a dramatic actor (Deliverance), underrated as a director (Sharkey’s Machine), but also a rare movie star that seemed to be just having an absolute ball onscreen. Nobody broke frame with a bigger gleam in his eye. “Just watch ol’ Bandit run.” pic.twitter.com/L4NlRyqahb
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) September 6, 2018
“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,” he recalled.
Although Reynolds is more remembered for popcorn-friendly, action-comedies, he got to work throughout his five-decade-long career with iconic film directors, including Woody Allen, John Boorman, Mel Brooks and Paul Thomas Anderson.
It was the role of porn director Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights (1997) that finally got Reynolds a nod from critics, earning him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and an Oscar Nomination in the same category.
Ironically, legend says, the first time he saw himself in Boogie Nights, he was so disappointed he ended up firing his agent.
His manager Erik Kritzer confirmed to the press the actor died this Thursday morning at the Jupiter Medical Center in Florida.
The actor was rumoured to be in talks to star along Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming project, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
“There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away. They stay alive, even forty years later,” said his ex-girlfriend and co-star Sally Field in a statement.
“My years with Burt never leave my mind. He will be in my history and my heart for as long as I live. Rest, Buddy.” said the actress.
The world of entertainment at large expressed their sadness and paid respect to one of the most famous leading men over the last 50 years.
Burt Reynolds, you are the glorious dictionary definition of a golden man. Thank you for spreading your glow ?
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) September 6, 2018
R.I.P Burt Reynolds . He was a friend of mine. R.I.P Judge, R.I.P Old Bear, R.I.P Innocence,
Remembering every member of the Mystery, Alaska cast and crew, what a lovely community that was, I hope you are all happy and busy .
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) September 6, 2018