Kevin Smith Pays Tribute To Burt Reynolds as "True American Icon"

Burt Reynolds, the ever-mustached actor with roles in a a handful of classics like Boogie Nights, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit, and Deliverance, has died.

The legendary actor passed away today aged 82 after suffering a heart attack.

Two years earlier, the actor underwent heart surgery after his doctor found his arteries were closed during a routine physical.

Reynolds, who famously turned down the roles of James Bond and Han Solo, never-the-less forged a film career that marked him out as a singular talent.

Reynolds' personal life sometimes overshadowed his movies, with marriages that ended in divorce to actresses Loni Anderson and Judy Carne and romances with others, including Sally Field and Dinah Shore. The original The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit are chief among such instances. "I was interested in having a good time", Reynolds said in his 2015 memoir, But Enough About Me.

Burton Leon Reynolds Jnr was born on February 11, 1936, and grew up in Florida.

Reynolds, named the top box office draw for five consecutive years by The National Association of Theatre Owners, was an Oscar nominee, a two-time Golden Globe victor, and the recipient of the People's Choice Award for six straight years.

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His first big movie breakout role was as Lewis Medlock in box office hit Deliverance in 1972. At Palm Beach High School, he first made a name for himself as a football star and earned an athletic scholarship to Florida State University.

Reynolds was a winking, macho star both on TV and on the silver screen, collecting hundreds of credits and earning acclaim from fans and critics alike.

Reynolds was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Boogie Nights in 1997. His scholarship to the Hyde Park Playhouse in NY provided Reynolds valuable mentorship and the platform for what was to become a successful film career. But it's his big screen career that took off in the early 1970s that made Burt Reynolds a star.

Actor Wesley Snipes referenced a line from Smokey And The Bandit in his tribute to Reynolds.

Reynolds has also become well known for the roles that he turned down over the years.

"I took the part that was the most fun..." In the movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, Reynolds was to play George Spahn, the blind rancher who owned the property that Charles Manson and his followers were living on when they hatched their most infamous murders.

  • Michelle Webb