Today is the 85th birthday of the actor Burn Reynolds. My first ‘exposure’ to him was a photo of him at his most exposed. My great-grandmother, the woman who this blog is named after, had his 1972 Cosmopolitan nude centerfold laminated to cardboard and attached to the backside of her bathtub. Essentially, every bath she took was with Burn Reynolds for the next 17 years. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.
NAME: Burt Reynolds
BIRTH DATE: February 11, 1936
DEATH DATE: September 6, 2018
EDUCATION: Florida State University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Lansing, Michigan
PLACE OF DEATH: Jupiter, Florida
CAUSE OF DEATH: Heart Attack
REMAINS: Cremated, Gold Coast Crematory, Fort Lauderdale, FL
GOLDEN GLOBE 1992 for Evening Shade
GOLDEN GLOBE 1998 for Boogie Nights
EMMY 1991 for Evening Shade
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME 6838 Hollywood Blvd.
BEST KNOWN FOR: Award-winning actor Burt Reynolds has starred in an array of screen projects over the decades, including Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, and Boogie Nights.
Burton Leon Reynolds Jr. was born on February 11, 1936, in Lansing, Michigan. His mother was a head nurse who encouraged her son to read and his father was an army colonel who later became police chief. Reynolds attended Florida State University on a football scholarship. After being drafted by the Baltimore Colts, he suffered a career-ending injury and turned to drama, eventually winning a scholarship to the Hyde Park Playhouse.
In 1957, Reynolds received his big break after he appeared in a New York City Center revival of Mister Roberts and subsequently signed a television contract. With regular roles on Riverboat, Gunsmoke, Hawk, and Dan August, he became a familiar face to TV audiences. Both handsome and charming, Reynolds increased his popularity in the early 1970s by appearing on numerous talk shows, including Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, on which he would become a frequent guest.
Though he had received film work in the past, Reynolds breakthrough role did not come until the 1972 drama Deliverance, co-starring Jon Voight. The film established Reynolds as both a star and a serious actor. He simultaneously became a major sex symbol when he was featured as the first nude male centerfold in Cosmopolitan magazine.
Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Reynolds remained one of Hollywood’s most sought-after superstars, with movies ranging from The Longest Yard (1974) and Semi-Tough (1977) to Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982). Bandit spawned 1980 and 1983 outings as well, while Reynolds’s comedic car race epic The Cannonball Run (1981), co-starring Farrah Fawcett and Roger Moore, yielded a 1984 sequel.
Reynolds took on romantic comedies as well as seen with Starting Over (1979), with Jill Klayburgh and Candice Bergen, and Best Friends, with Goldie Hawn and Jessica Tandy. He also co-starred with friend Dom DeLuise in a number of projects during this era, including The End (1978), which Reynolds directed, and the Cannonball films.
His film career waning by the mid-1980s, Reynolds returned to the small screen with the popular sitcom Evening Shade, for which he won an Emmy in 1991 and a Golden Globe in 1992. He also served as a recurring director for the series throughout its run, while working behind the scenes on a number of screen projects throughout the decade.
In the mid-1990s, Reynolds began his film comeback with his role as a drunken congressman in Striptease (1996), starring Demi Moore. Although the film was a critical failure with modest box office returns, Reynolds’ performance earned widespread kudos.
Around this time, Paul Thomas Anderson tapped Reynolds for the role of porn director Jack Horner in the acclaimed Boogie Nights (1997), for which Reynolds earned a best supporting actor Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe. It was later reported that he and Anderson had major conflicts, with Reynolds not caring for the director’s style and approach to filmmaking.
Reynolds also appeared in the 1997 Rowan Atkinson comedy Bean and co-starred in Mystery, Alaska in 1999. He was then featured in the 2001 thriller Tempted and the bittersweet love story Snapshots the following year.
The actor continued to take on a variety of film roles, including an Adam Sandler remake of The Longest Yard (2005) and a reboot of the popular 1980s show The Dukes of Hazzard (2005). He also appeared on such sitcoms as The King of Queens and My Name Is Earl, and provided voice work for Robot Chicken, American Dad!, and Archer.
Reynolds also headlined The Last Movie Star, a role that hit close to home for the aging actor. After premiering at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, it earned a wider release the following year.
Reynolds was previously wed to comedienne/actress Judy Carne, and later enjoyed romance with singer Dinah Shore and his Smokey and the Bandit co-star Sally Field. While also having great respect for Shore’s unflinching kindness, he would eventually acknowledge how much he missed Field and express remorse over not being more committed to their relationship.
Reynolds later married actress Loni Anderson in 1988, with the two divorcing after a few years in a volatile, financially costly split. The couple also adopted a son, Quinton.
Despite his box office success, Reynolds has struggled with a host of monetary woes, having declared bankruptcy in the mid-1990s and eventually selling off his Valhalla mansion in Florida. In 2009, he underwent back surgery and a year later had quintuple bypass surgery.
In 2015, he published the well-received memoir But Enough About Me.
Reynolds died on September 6, 2018, at Jupiter Medical in Florida after going into cardiac arrest. His family was reportedly by his side.
Evening Shade Wood Newton (1990-94)
B. L. Stryker B. L. Stryker (1989-90)
Out of This World Troy Garland (Anterian alien voice, 1987-91)
Dan August Lt. Dan August (1970-71)
Hawk Det. Lt. John Hawk (1966)
Gunsmoke Quint Asper (blacksmith, 1962-65)
Riverboat Ben Frazer (1959-60)
FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
The Last Producer (22-Aug-2000)
Hard Time (13-Dec-1998)
The Man from Left Field (15-Oct-1993)
Sharky’s Machine (18-Dec-1981)
The End (10-May-1978)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Shadow Fighter (5-Nov-2017)
Pocket Listing (22-Jul-2015)
Birth of the Living Dead (18-Oct-2013) · Himself
Paul Williams Still Alive (11-Sep-2011) · Himself
A Bunch of Amateurs (17-Nov-2008)
Delgo (17-Apr-2008) · Delgo’s Father [VOICE]
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (3-Nov-2006)
Broken Bridges (8-Sep-2006)
End Game (22-Mar-2006)
The Dukes of Hazzard (24-Jun-2005)
The Longest Yard (27-May-2005) · Coach Nate Scarborough
Without a Paddle (20-Aug-2004) · Del Knox
Gumball 3000: The Movie (20-Nov-2003) · Himself [VOICE]
Hard Ground (12-Jul-2003)
Johnson County War (24-Aug-2002)
The Hollywood Sign (28-Sep-2001)
Tempted (7-Sep-2001) · Charlie LeBlanc
The Last Producer (22-Aug-2000)
The Crew (21-Aug-2000) · Joey “Bats” Pistella
Hard Time: Hostage Hotel (14-Nov-1999)
Mystery, Alaska (1-Oct-1999)
Big City Blues (14-Jun-1999)
The Maddening (16-Apr-1999)
Hard Time: The Premonition (28-Feb-1999)
Waterproof (1999) · Eli Zeal
The Hunter’s Moon (1999)
Hard Time (13-Dec-1998)
Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms (27-Sep-1998) · Mentor
Crazy Six (22-May-1998)
Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business (1998) · Mentor
Boogie Nights (8-Oct-1997) · Jack Horner
Bean (3-Jul-1997) · Gen. Newton
Meet Wally Sparks (16-Jan-1997) · Mr. Spencer
The Cherokee Kid (14-Dec-1996)
Mad Dog Time (8-Nov-1996)
Striptease (28-Jun-1996) · David Dilbeck
Citizen Ruth (Jan-1996) · Blaine Gibbons
The Man from Left Field (15-Oct-1993) · Jack Robinson
Cop & 1/2 (2-Apr-1993) · Nick McKenna
The Player (3-Apr-1992) · Himself
Modern Love (20-Apr-1990)
All Dogs Go to Heaven (17-Nov-1989) · Charlie [VOICE]
Breaking In (13-Oct-1989) · Ernie
Physical Evidence (27-Jan-1989)
Switching Channels (4-Mar-1988) · John L. Sullivan IV
Heat (12-Nov-1986) · Mex
Sherman’s March (5-Sep-1986) · Himself
Stick (25-Jul-1985) · Stick
City Heat (7-Dec-1984)
Cannonball Run II (29-Jun-1984)
The Man Who Loved Women (16-Dec-1983)
Stroker Ace (16-Sep-1983) · Stroker Ace
Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (12-Aug-1983) · The Real Bandit
Best Friends (17-Dec-1982)
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (23-Jul-1982) · Sheriff
Sharky’s Machine (18-Dec-1981)
The Cannonball Run (19-Jun-1981)
Smokey and the Bandit II (15-Aug-1980) · Bandit
Rough Cut (19-Jun-1980)
Starting Over (5-Oct-1979)
The End (10-May-1978) · Wendell Sonny Lawson
Smokey and the Bandit (27-Mar-1977) · Bandit
Silent Movie (16-Jun-1976) · Himself
Lucky Lady (25-Dec-1975)
W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (21-May-1975)
At Long Last Love (1-Mar-1975) · Michael Oliver Pritchard III
The Longest Yard (21-Aug-1974) · Paul Crewe
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (31-Oct-1973)
White Lightning (22-Oct-1973)
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask (6-Aug-1972)
Run, Simon, Run (1-Dec-1970)
Impasse (7-May-1969) · Pat Morrison
Sam Whiskey (1-Apr-1969) · Sam Whiskey
100 Rifles (26-Mar-1969) · Yaqui Joe
Navajo Joe (25-Nov-1966) · Navajo Joe
Operation C.I.A. (8-Sep-1965)
Armored Command (9-Jul-1961)
Angel Baby (14-May-1961) · Hoke Adams