Hollywood has lost another icon. Burt Reynolds died on Sept. 6 of a cardiac arrest in a Florida hospital with his family by his side. Here are five essential facts about the man who, for a time, was Tinsel Town’s biggest hunk!
Long before there was Brad Pitt and George Clooney, Hollywood fell in love with Burt Reynolds. The actor who died in a Florida hospital on Sept. 6 at the age of 82 was a pin-up in the ‘70s and ‘80s who starred in hit movies like Smokey and The Bandit, Deliverance and The Longest Yard. But Burt wasn’t just a cutie with a signature mustache, he was a hilarious star who always had a twinkle in his eye and a one-liner at hand. As Hollywood mourns the loss of yet another icon, here’s everything you need to know about the man who was the number one box office star from 1978 to 1982.
1. Burt originally wanted to be a professional football player. The Michigan-born star was a “promising young halfback” at Florida State University in 1954, according to Yahoo Sports. But his sporting hopes were dashed due to a string of bad luck. After a 1957 car accident aggravated a previous knee injury he had to change course. Often compared to Marlon Brando in his early days, his first acting gig was in 1958 in the TV series Flight. He later starred in blockbuster hits like The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in 1982. He won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in Boogie Nights in 1998.
2. Burt posed nude for a centerspread in Cosmopolitan in 1972. But the heartthrob later said he regretted doing it and that it was a “stupid idea.” ‘It was really stupid. I don’t know what I was thinking. I really wish I hadn’t done that,” he said at AOL’s What To Watch in SXSW in Austin, Texas, in March 2016.
One of a kind – R.I.P. Burt Reynolds. pic.twitter.com/zwegYLHfRy
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) September 6, 2018
3. Burt had a 5-year romance with actress Sally Field who he once described as being the love of his life. But he once said that she was his biggest disappointment. “I did four movies with Sally and spent five years with her,” he told the Daily Mail in 2016. “She was the love of my life and I screwed the relationship up. That sense of loss never goes away. I have no idea what Sally thinks about it. She could pick up the phone and speak to me but she never does. I spoke to her son recently. He said that his mom talks about me all the time. Maybe she’ll phone me one day. I’d love to have that conversation.”
4. He turned down several iconic roles. “I’ve turned down a lot of great roles, including the lead in Die Hard and the part of Han Solo in Star Wars. I don’t regret those,” he once told the Daily Mail. “I do regret turning down the chance to play James Bond. The Bond people approached me in 1970 after George Lazenby had quit the role. In my infinite wisdom I told them that an American couldn’t play Bond and that they needed a British actor.”
5. He wasn’t scared of death. “I don’t fear dying. I just think of the luck I’ve had. I’d like my epitaph to be, ‘He had a hell of a good time and he was a good friend,'” he told UK newspaper the Daily Mirror in December 2015.Twice married and divorced, Burt leaves behind a son, Quinton Reynolds, 29, whom he adopted with his second wife, Loni Anderson, 72.