We are so sad to learn that Burt Reynolds has died. The iconic actor was 82, and had battled some severe health issues before going into cardiac arrest on September 6.
So sad. Burt Reynolds has passed away at the age of 82, his agent, Todd Eisner, confirmed. The actor, known for his good looks and masterful performances, drew crowds with his impeccable performances in films, like his breakout role in 1972’s Deliverance, Boogie Nights, and Smokey and the Bandit over his 50-year-long career. The Georgia native’s family was by his side when he went through cardiac arrest at his home in Jupiter, Florida, and died on September 6.
The Hollywood icon and Oscar nominee (for Boogie Nights) was a master in front of the camera, conquering romance, drama, and even comedy at times. He transformed from heartthrob to tough guy over and over again, and eventually turned to directing. He was also known for his passionate philanthropy, founding the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theater in Florida. His last film was the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film about the Sharon Tate murder, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
He was also the first man to pose nude for a centerfold, in an infamous photoshoot showing off a lot of chest hair while lounging on a bearskin rug for Cosmo in 1972. Burt finally opened up about it in an interview with AOL’s What To Watch at SXSW in 2016, calling the shoot one of his biggest regrets. “I mean, it was really stupid,” he said. “I don’t know what I was thinking. Probably, knowing me, I was like, ‘you won’t do that, you chicken.’ Well that’s all I had to hear, of course, I said ‘yeah I will.’” He confessed that he got drunk during the session to get through it.
Later in life, he struggled with keeping on weight and shocked fans on several occasions when he stepped out publicly prior to his death. Appearing gaunt, with a cane, and almost unrecognizable, Burt was far from the actor we all knew and loved, though he continued to work and promote films up until the end of his life.
The Golden Globe award winner lost 30 pounds in the 1980s after he filmed the movie City Heat and was struck in the face with a chair. He had to restrict his eating due to a broken jaw at the time. He eventually became addicted to the pain medication he was taken, and this lasted for years. He had major surgeries on his back and heart in 2009 and 2010, respectively, which led to him another bout of severe weight loss.
Burt married Laugh-In star Judy Carne (she was the “Sock it to me! girl) in 1963; they divorced in 1965. He then married WKRP in Cincinnati star Loni Anderson in 1988. They adopted a son together, Quinton Anderson Reynolds, before ultimately divorcing in 1993. He was in a relationship with actress Sally Field, whom he deeply loved, from 1977 to 1982.
Our thoughts remain with Burt’s family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.