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Burton Leon "Burt" Reynolds, Jr.[2] (born February 11, 1936, died September 6, 2018) was an American actor. Some of his memorable roles include Bo 'Bandit' Darville in Smokey and the Bandit, Lewis Medlock in Deliverance, Bobby "Gator" McCluskey in White Lightning and sequel Gator, Paul Crewe and Coach Nate Scarborough in The Longest Yard and its 2005 remake respectively, J.J. McClure in The Cannonball Run, the voice of Charlie B. Barkin in All Dogs Go to Heaven, and Jack Horner in Boogie Nights. He was one of America's most recognizable film and television personalities with more than 90 feature film and 300 television episode credits.

Early life

Reynolds' parents were Burton Reynolds, who was of Cherokee and Irish ancestry,[3] and his wife, Fern Miller. Reynolds states in his autobiography that his family was living in Lansing when his father was drafted into the United States Army.[1] Reynolds, his mother and his sister joined his father at Fort Leonard Wood, where they lived for two years. When Reynolds's father was sent to Europe, the family returned to Lansing, Michigan. In 1946, Reynolds moved to Riviera Beach, Florida, with his parents. His father, Burt Sr., later became Chief of Police of Riviera Beach. Riviera Beach is the next town north of West Palm Beach.

In his senior year at Palm Beach High School, Reynolds was named First Team All State and All Southern as a fullback, and received multiple scholarship offers.[4] After graduating from Palm Beach High School in West Palm Beach, Florida, Reynolds attended Florida State University on a college football scholarship, and played halfback.[5] Reynolds hoped to be named to All-America teams and to have a career in professional football. In the first game of the season, Reynolds was injured and a car accident later that year worsened the injury. With his college football career ended, Reynolds considered becoming a police officer, but his father suggested that he finish college and become a parole officer. In order to keep up with his studies, he began taking classes at Palm Beach Junior College (PBJC) in neighboring Lake Park. In his first term at PBJC Reynolds was in a class taught by Watson B. Duncan III. Duncan pushed Reynolds into trying out for a play he was producing, Outward Bound. He cast Reynolds in the lead, based on his impressions from listening to Reynolds read Shakespeare in class. Reynolds won the 1956 Florida State Drama Award for his performance in Outward Bound. Reynolds called Duncan his mentor and the most influential person in his life.[6]

Acting career

The Florida State Drama Award included a scholarship to the Hyde Park Playhouse, a summer stock theater, in Hyde Park, New York. Reynolds saw the opportunity as an agreeable alternative to more physically demanding summer jobs, but did not yet see acting as a career. While working at Hyde Park, Reynolds met Joanne Woodward, who helped Reynolds find an agent, and be cast in Tea and Sympathy at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Reynolds received favorable reviews for his performance in Tea and Sympathy. Reynolds then went on tour with Tea and Sympathy, driving the bus as well as appearing on stage.[7]

After the tour Reynolds returned to New York and enrolled in acting classes. His classmates included Frank Gifford, Carol Lawrence, Red Buttons and Jan Murray. After a botched improvisation in acting class, Reynolds briefly considered returning to Florida, but he soon got a part in a revival of Mister Roberts, with Charlton Heston as the star. After the play closed, the director, John Forsythe, arranged a movie audition with Josh Logan for Reynolds. The movie was Sayonara, and Reynolds was told he couldn't be in the movie because he looked too much like Marlon Brando. Logan advised Reynolds to go to Hollywood, but Reynolds did not feel confident enough to do so.[8]

Reynolds worked odd jobs while waiting for acting opportunities. He waited tables, washed dishes, drove a delivery truck and worked as a bouncer at the Roseland Ballroom. It was while working as a dockworker that Reynolds was offered $150 to jump through a glass window on a live television show.[9]

He made his Broadway debut in Look, We've Come Through. Reynolds first starred on television with Darren McGavin in the 1959-1961 NBC series, Riverboat. In 1960-1961, he appeared in two episodes of the syndicated series The Blue Angels, about elite fliers of the United States Navy. That same season, he guest starred in the syndicated crime drama, The Brothers Brannagan in the episode "Bordertown". Reynolds went on to appear in a number of other shows, including a role as blacksmith/ de facto deputy, and half-Native American Quint Asper on CBS's Gunsmoke from 1962–1965. On June 11, 1959, he appeared as Tony Sapio with Ruta Lee as Gloria Fallon in the episode entitled "The Payoff" of NBC's 1920s crime drama, The Lawless Years. In 1962 Reynolds secured a guest appearance on Perry Mason in "The Case of the Counterfeit Crank".

His film debut was in 1961, in the movie Angel Baby. At the urging of friend Clint Eastwood, Reynolds used his TV fame to secure leading roles in overseas low budget films, commonly called "Spaghetti Westerns". (Eastwood advised Reynolds from experience, as he had done the same). Reynolds first Spaghetti Western, Navajo Joe, came out in 1966. These low budget starring roles established Reynolds as a bankable leading man in movies, and earned him starring roles in American big-budget motion pictures. During this period, he starred in two short-lived cop shows: Hawk and Dan August. He disparaged these shows, telling Johnny Carson that Dan August had "two forms of expression: mad and supermad." His breakout performance in Deliverance in 1972 made him a star. The same year, Reynolds gained notoriety when he posed naked in the April (Vol. 172, No. 4) issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Reynolds claims he was offered the role of James Bond by producer Albert R. Broccoli, after Sean Connery left the franchise. Reynolds turned the role down, saying "An American can't play James Bond. It just can't be done."[10] In 1973, he released the album Ask Me What I Am. He would also sing with Dolly Parton in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Reynolds appeared on ABC's The American Sportsman hosted by outdoors journalist Grits Gresham, who took celebrities on hunting, fishing, and shooting trips around the world.

On March 15, 1978, Reynolds earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in the same year built a dinner theatre in Jupiter, Florida. His celebrity was such that he drew not only big-name stars to appear in productions but sell-out audiences as well. He sold the venue in the early 1990s, but a museum highlighting his career still operates nearby.[11]

In the 1980s, after Smokey and the Bandit, he became typecast in similar, less well-done and less successful movies. He had his hand at producing a television show with friend Bert Convy in 1987, Win, Lose or Draw. He even appeared as a celebrity gameplayer in a few episodes of the show.

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).

Despite much success, Reynolds's finances were bad, due in part to an extravagant lifestyle, a messy divorce from Loni Anderson (see below), and failed investments in some Florida restaurant chains; consequently, in 1996, Reynolds filed for bankruptcy.[12][13] The filing was under Chapter 11, from which Reynolds emerged two years later.[13]

Reynolds started a comeback with the movie Striptease in 1996 where his over-the-top performance as a sex-obsessed congressman was praised by critics, despite the film's failure at the box office. His comeback was sealed with the critically acclaimed Boogie Nights, in 1997, which put his career back on track. He 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. He was considered a front-runner for the Supporting Oscar, but ultimately lost to Robin Williams, who won it for his role in Good Will Hunting.

In early 2000, he created and toured Burt Reynolds's One-Man Show. In 2002, he lent his voice to the character Avery Carrington in the controversial video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

In 2005, he co-starred in a remake of The Longest Yard, with Adam Sandler playing the role of Paul Crewe, the role Reynolds had played in the 1974 original. This time around, Reynolds took on the role of Nate Scarborough. The irony in Reynolds's participation in the remake was that his role in the 1974 original garnered him a Golden Globe nomination "Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy", while his role in the remake saw him receive a Razzie Award nomination for "Worst Supporting Actor". He also appeared in a movie version of the popular 1980s TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, as Boss Hogg.

He starred in the audio book version of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. In May 2006, Reynolds began appearing in Miller Lite beer commercials. In 2007 at the World Stuntman Awards he was awarded the Taurus Lifetime Achievement Award. While presenting him with the award Arnold Schwarzenegger referred to him as the greatest of the great.

In July 2010, he guest starred as an ex-CIA agent being hunted down by a Russian wet ops team who wanted to kidnap, interrogate, then kill him, on the cult hit cable show Burn Notice. Part of this role denoted absent-mindedness which was noted in the closing scene as "not only being when he drank" inferring his character suffered from some form of memory disability or disease.

Personal life


At various points in his life, Reynolds was romantically involved with Tammy Wynette, Lucie Arnaz, Adrienne Barbeau, Susan Clark, Sally Field, Lorna Luft, Tawny Little, Pam Seals, Dinah Shore[14] and Chris Evert.[15] His relationship with Shore garnered particular attention given the fact she was 20 years his senior. Reynolds was married to actress/comedienne Judy Carne from 1963 to 1965, and actress Loni Anderson from 1988 to 1993, with whom he adopted a son, Quinton Anderson Reynolds (born August 31, 1988).[16] E! Online reported that he dated Kate Edelman Johnson from 2003 to 2005.[17]

Sports team owner

In 1982 Reynolds became a co-owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits, a professional American football team in the USFL whose nickname was inspired by his then-recent Smokey and the Bandit movies. Reynolds also co-owned a NASCAR Winston Cup team with Hal Needham, which ran the #33 Skoal Bandits car, with driver Harry Gant.


Reynolds died of a heart attack at the Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, on September 6, 2018, at the age of 82. His ex-wife Loni Anderson issued a statement explaining that she and their son Quinton would miss him and "his great laugh". On September 20, 2018, the two held a private memorial service for Reynolds at a funeral home in North Palm Beach, Florida. Those in attendance included Sally Field, FSU coach Bobby Bowden, friend Lee Corso, and quarterback Doug Flutie. Reynolds' body was cremated and his ashes were given to his niece. He was subsequently interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on February 11, 2021, on what would have been his 85th birthday.


On the day of Reynolds' death, Antenna TV, which airs The Tonight Show nightly, aired an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson from February 11, 1982, featuring an interview and a This Is Your Life-style skit with Reynolds. The local media in Atlanta and elsewhere in the state noted on their television news programs that evening that he was the first to make major films in Georgia, all of which were successful, which helped make the state one of the top filming locations in the country.

Legacy and appraisal

During the height of his career, Reynolds was considered a male sex symbol and icon of American masculinity. Stephen Dalton wrote in The Hollywood Reporter that Reynolds "always seemed to embody an uncomplicated, undiluted, effortlessly likable strain of American masculinity that was driven much more by sunny mischief than angsty machismo."Reynolds' roles were often defined by his larger-than-life physicality and masculinity, contrasted with juvenile but self-aware humor. Though he was not considered a serious dramatic actor during his heyday, his later career was defined by performances that often reflected on his own reputation, creating what Dalton called "sophisticated, soulful performances.

Reynolds was portrayed on Saturday Night Live by Norm MacDonald in six Celebrity Jeopardy!sketches.


Year Film Role Notes
1961 Angel Baby Hoke Adams Film debut
Armored Command Skee  
1965 Operation C.I.A. Mark Andrews  
1966 Navajo Joe Joe  
1969 100 Rifles Yaqui Joe Herrera  
Sam Whiskey Sam Whiskey  
Impasse Pat Morrison  
Shark! Caine  
1970 Skullduggery Douglas Temple  
1972 Deliverance Lewis Medlock  
Fuzz Det. Steve Carella  
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) Sperm Switchboard Chief cameo role
1973 Shamus Shamus McCoy  
White Lightning Gator McKlusky  
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing Jay Grobart  
1974 The Longest Yard Paul Crewe Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1975 At Long Last Love Michael Oliver Pritchard III  
W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings W.W. Bright  
Lucky Lady Walker Ellis song performer
Hustle Lieutenant Phil Gaines also executive producer
1976 Silent Movie himself cameo role
Gator Gator McKl.usky also director
Nickelodeon Buck Greenway  
1977 Smokey and the Bandit Bo 'Bandit' Darville  
Semi-Tough Billy Clyde Puckett  
1978 The End Wendell Sonny Lawson also director
Hooper Sonny Hooper also producer
1979 Starting Over Phil Potter Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1980 Rough Cut Jack Rhodes  
Smokey and the Bandit II Bo 'Bandit' Darville  
1981 The Cannonball Run J.J. McClure  
Paternity Buddy Evans  
Sharky's Machine Sgt. Tom Sharky also director
1982 The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd song performer
Best Friends Richard Babson  
1983 Stroker Ace Stroker Ace  
Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 The Real Bandit/ Bo 'Bandit' Darville cameo role
The Man Who Loved Women David Fowler  
1984 Cannonball Run II J.J. McClure  
City Heat Mike Murphy  
1985 Southern Voices, American Dreams himself documentary
Stick Ernest 'Stick' Stickley also director
1986 Uphill All the Way himself cameo role
Sherman's March himself documentary
Heat Nick Escalante  
1987 Malone Richard Malone  
1988 Rent-A-Cop Tony Church  
Switching Channels John L. Sullivan IV  
1989 Physical Evidence Joe Paris  
Breaking In Ernie Mullins  
All Dogs Go to Heaven Charlie B. Barkin voice and song performer
1990 Modern Love Colonel Frank Parker  
1992 The Player himself cameo role
1993 Cop and a Half Nick McKenna  
1994 A Century of Cinema himself documentary
1995 The Maddening Roy Scudder  
1996 Frankenstein and Me Les Williams  
Citizen Ruth Blaine Gibbons  
Striptease Congressman David Dilbeck  
Mad Dog Time 'Wacky' Jacky Jackson  
1997 Meet Wally Sparks Lenny Spencer  
Bean General Newton  
Boogie Nights Jack Horner Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Raven Jerome 'Raven' Katz  
1998 Crazy Six Dakota  
Hard Time Det. Logan McQueen  
1999 Waterproof Eli Zeal  
The Hunter's Moon Clayton Samuels  
Pups Daniel Bender  
Big City Blues Connor co-producer
Stringer Wolko  
Mystery, Alaska Judge Walter Burns  
2000 The Crew Joey 'Bats' Pistella  
The Last Producer Sonny Wexler also director
2001 Driven Carl Henry  
Tempted Charlie LeBlanc  
Hotel Flamenco Manager  
The Hollywood Sign Kage Mulligan  
Auf Herz und Nieren Banko German film
2002 Snapshots Larry Goldberg  
Time of the Wolf Archie McGregor  
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Avery Carrington Video Game Voice
2003 Hard Ground John 'Chill' McKay Hallmark Channel film tv
The Librarians Irish  
4th and Life Narrator documentary
Gumball 3000: The Movie himself voice
2004 Without a Paddle Del Knox  
2005 The Longest Yard Coach Nate Scarborough  
The Dukes of Hazzard Jefferson Davis 'Boss' Hogg  
Legend of Frosty the Snowman Narrator voice
2006 Cloud 9 Billy Cole  
End Game General Montgomery  
Forget About It Sam LeFleur  
Grilled Goldbluth  
Broken Bridges Jake Delton  
2007 Randy and the Mob Elmore Culpepper  
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale King Konreid  
2008 Deal Tommy Vinson  
Delgo Delgo's Father voice
2009 A Bunch of Amateurs Jefferson Steel
2010 Not Another Not Another Movie C.J. Waters
Catch .44 Mel
Burn Notice Paul Anderson

Awards and achievements

  • Emmy Awards
1991 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (for Evening Shade)
  • Golden Globes, USA
1992 Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical (for Evening Shade)
  • People's Choice Awards, USA
1979 Favorite Motion Picture Actor
1979 Favorite All-Around Male Entertainer
1980 Favorite Motion Picture Actor
1982 Favorite Motion Picture Actor
1982 Favorite All-Around Male Entertainer
1983 Favorite Motion Picture Actor
1983 Favorite All-Around Male Entertainer
1984 Favorite Motion Picture Actor (tied with Clint Eastwood)
1991 Favorite Male Performer in a New TV Series
  • American Movie Awards
1980 Favorite Film Star - Male
  • Viewers For Quality Television Awards
1991 Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series (for Evening Shade)
  • Crystal Reel Awards
2002 Lifetime Achievement Award
  • ShoWest Convention, USA
1998 Supporting Actor of the Year
  • Golden Boot Awards
1990 Golden Boot
  • National Association of Theater Owners
1978 Male Star of the Year Award
1980 Male Star of the Year Award

Honorary recognitions

Reynolds has received a number of honorary recognitions over the years, mostly keys to various cities, or deputy badges from being deputized.

  • Keys to the cities of: Hollywood, Florida / Miami Beach, Florida / Ocala, Florida / Orlando, Florida / Palm Beach County, Florida / West Palm Beach, Florida/ Buena Park, California / Oxnard, California / Savannah, Georgia / Niagara Falls, New York / Clark County, Nevada / Piggott, Arkansas
  • Deputy Sheriff Badges: Leon County, Florida / Tallahassee, Florida / Tampa, Florida / Mitchell County, Georgia / Ramsey County, Minnesota / Hawaii / South Carolina / Warrensville Township, Ohio / Arizona / Buffalo, New York City Police / Jackson Parish, Louisiana / Jefferson Parish, Louisiana / Los Angeles County, California
  • 1978 Star (for motion pictures) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6838 Hollywood Blvd.[18]
  • National Association of Theater Owners No. 1 box-office star for five straight years (1978–82)
  • 1987 Eastman Kodak Second Century Award
  • 1989 Durex Man Of The Year
  • 1991 American Cancer Society's Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2000 Children at Heart Award[19]
  • 2003 Atlanta IMAGE Film and Video Award[20]
  • 2007 Taurus Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2007 Best Buddies Canada Lifetime Achievement Award[21]


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US CAN Country
1980 "Let's Do Something Cheap and Superficial" 51 88 33 Smokey and the Bandit II Soundtrack


  1. 1.0 1.1 Severalsources list Waycross, Georgia as Reynolds's birthplace (Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Citation/CS1/Suggestions' not found., "Birthplace". Chicago Sun-Times (article from 2007). February 2, 2007.  and "Birthplace". Biography Channel. ), for example, while other sources show that he was born in Lansing, Michigan (Burt Reynolds's Official website), (NNBD and The Palm Beach Post, June 28, 2000). Reynolds's autobiography (My Life) does not name his birthplace, although it does cover his childhood in Lansing, and fails to mention Waycross at all. For more discussion on Burt Reynolds's birthplace, see ('discussion page)
  2. "Birthname". Archived from the original on 2012-05-26. 
  3. "Burt Reynolds". Inside the Actors Studio. Bravo. ; can be viewed at
  4. Reynolds. Pp. 17, 33-7, 41-4
  5. Photo gallery of Reynolds at FSU:
  6. Reynolds. Pp. 57-9
  7. Reynolds. Pp. 59-63.
  8. Reynolds. Pp. 63-5.
  9. Reynolds. Pp. 65-7.
  12. Laura J. Margulies (2008), "Famous Bankruptcies".
  13. 13.0 13.1 Gary Eng Walk (07 October1998), "Burt Reynolds closes the book on Chapter 11", Entertainment Weekly
  14. Anderson. 251-253, 262-263
  15. "Chris". 
  16. BURT AND LONI, AND BABY MAKES GLEE (The Philadelphia Inquirer - September 3, 1988)
  17. "Kate". E!. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. 
  18. "Walk of Fame". Wire Image. 
  19. "2000 Children at Heart". 
  20. "2003 Atlanta Image Award". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. 
  21. ("Best Buddy Lifetime Achievement Award".  Burt Reynolds received a lifetime achievement award from Best Buddies Canada. The Oscar-nominated actor received the honour at a benefit gala with musical guest Chantal Kreviazuk in Toronto on September 10, 2007. Best Buddies Canada is a national charitable organization dedicated to fostering friendships between students and individuals with intellectual disabilities. Reynolds is receiving its annual award for his decades-long "commitment to aiding and inspiring youth by supporting drama education and humanitarian causes", said the group. Such causes include the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre in Tequest, Florida, founded by the legendary actor in 1979. Donations by the star have also helped establish the Burt Reynolds Eminent Scholar Chair in Regional and Professional Theatre at the Florida State University, and the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida Reynolds has already been honoured for his efforts in aiding the children of Chernobyl.


External links

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