Burt Reynolds has moved on to the great bearskin rug in the sky. The Hollywood Reporter breaks the news that the beloved actor passed away on 9/6/2018 at Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, just minutes away from his waterfront mansion (affectionately known as Valhalla) in Hobe Sound, FL. The 82-year-old Reynolds died after going into cardiac arrest. Famous for his fun-loving lifestyle and insistence on doing his own stunts, Reynolds will long be remembered for starring in such iconic films as Deliverance, The Longest Yard, The Cannonball Run, and Smokey and the Bandit.
Adored by audiences for his good-ol’-boy persona, the charismatic Reynolds rarely found critical success. Though receiving an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of porn director Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson‘s 1997 film Boogie Nights (losing out on Best Supporting Actor to Robin Williams for Good Will Hunting), when he saw himself in the finished film he was so displeased that he fired his agent. Reynolds went on to win a Golden Globe for the role.
“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 stated in his 2015 memoir But Enough About Me. “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.”
Bursting to fame following a star-making turn in 1972’s Deliverance, Reynolds’ fame only magnified after posing nude on a bearskin rug for Cosmopolitan magazine in April 1972. He stands as Hollywood’s top-grossing star each year from 1978 through 1982, even having four movies playing in theaters at the same time in 1978.
Reynolds’ career is also notable for roles that he turned down. He famously declined to play Han Solo in Star Wars, Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment (for which Jack Nicholson won an Oscar), and John McClane in Die Hard. Reynolds also said that he chose not to play R.P. McMurphy in Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (for which Jack Nicholson won another Oscar), refused the TV role of Batman made famous by Adam West, and declined Richard Gere’s role in Pretty Woman.
In addition to movies, Reynolds also starred in the hit sitcom Evening Shade in the 1990’s, played Mayor Burt Reynolds in the video game Saints Row: The Third, and voiced himself on FX’s Archer. Reynolds is survived by his son Quinton, who he and his ex-wife Lonnie Anderson adopted at three days old, and the ‘love of his life’ Sally Field, with whom Reynolds shared a smoldering romance during his Smokey and the Bandit glory days.