Actor Burt Reynolds has died at 82

Actor Burt Reynolds, who starred in films such as "Deliverance," "Boogie Nights" and "Smokey and the Bandit," died of cardiac arrest, his longtime agent Todd Eisner tells CNN.

Posted: Sep 7, 2018 8:48 AM
Updated: Sep 7, 2018 9:06 AM

Burt Reynolds, the mustachioed megastar who first strutted on screen more than half a century ago, died Thursday, according to his agent, Todd Eisner.

He was 82.

The Michigan native, whose easy-going charms and handsome looks drew prominent roles in films such as "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Boogie Nights," suffered a cardiac arrest, Eisner said.

An iconic Hollywood sex symbol in front of the camera, Reynolds also tried his directorial hand behind it, and later earned a reputation for philanthropy after founding the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre in his home state of Florida.

His roles over the years ranged and pivoted from Southern heartthrob to tough guy to comedy, notably in his role as Rep. David Dilbeck in the 1996 film "Striptease," which flopped at the box office but earned him widespread praise for his comedic prowess.

But it was John Boorman's 1972 thriller "Deliverance," which cast Reynolds as outdoorsman Lewis Medlock, that is widely credited for launching his early career.

Reynolds called it "by far" his best film.

"I thought maybe this film is more important in a lot of ways than we've given it credit for," he said in an interview years later. The movie's infamous rape scene may have helped the public -- especially men -- better understand the horrors of sexual attacks, Reynolds said.

"It was the only time I saw men get up, sick, and walk out of a theater," he added. "I've seen women do that (before)," but not men.

Born in Lansing, Michigan, Reynolds and his family moved to South Florida when he was 5, according to his autobiography.

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. But when injuries derailed a promising athletic career, Reynolds turned to acting.

He then scored small parts in the late 1950s before landing a role in the New York City Center revival of "Mister Roberts" in 1957, as well as a recurring spot in the TV series "Gunsmoke."

By 1974, Reynolds had hit it big and starred as an ex-football player who landed in prison in the film "The Longest Yard." Two years earlier, he broke taboo and posed nude in Cosmopolitan magazine, which helped cement his growing status as a sex symbol.

He later said he regretted that centerfold image, which showed Reynolds spread out across a bearskin rug, and said it distracted attention from his "Deliverance" co-stars and likely cost them an Academy Award.

Reynolds' notoriety soared through the late 1970s and 1980s, during which time he spearheaded the "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Cannonball Run" movie franchises. He also earned People's Choice Awards in 1979, 1982 and 1983 as all-around male entertainer of the year.

But he also turned down some of the biggest roles in Hollywood history, including James Bond to Han Solo in George Lucas' 1977 blockbuster "Star Wars." Reynolds also reportedly was among Paramount Pictures' top choices to play Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 epic "The Godfather."

Again, the star expressed regrets.

"I took the part that was the most fun. ... I didn't take the part that would be the most challenging," Reynolds said in an interview with CNN.

His love life also drew headlines after a high-profile divorce to actress Loni Anderson preceded Reynolds' bankruptcy filing in 1996.

Anderson and Reynolds shared a son, Quinton.

"Quinton and I are extremely touched by the tremendous outpouring of love and support from friends and family throughout the world," Anderson wrote in a statement on Thursday. "Burt was a wonderful director and actor. He was a big part of my life for 12 years and Quinton's life for 30 years. We will miss him and his great laugh."

In 1998, Reynolds scored his sole Oscar nomination, for best supporting actor, after his portrayal of a porn film producer in the film "Boogie Nights," despite his dislike of the film and its apparent glorification of the porn industry.

Years later, with a mustache gone gray, he suffered from health issues that led to open heart surgery. Reynolds also checked into a drug rehab clinic in 2009. The purpose was "to regain control of his life" after becoming addicted to painkillers prescribed following back surgery, his manager said.

Once among Hollywood's highest-paid actors, Reynolds later fell into financial trouble amid private ventures in an Atlanta restaurant and a professional sports team, though he continued to make cameo appearances and teach acting classes.

"I worked as an actor for 60 years, I must have something I can give," he told CNN.

Reynolds made an acting resurgence in recent years, appearing in numerous films and TV shows. He was cast in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino-directed "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," scheduled for release next year. Reynolds had not yet started shooting his appearance in the film.

This story has been updated to reflect that Reynolds was born in Michigan. A previous version incorrectly identified his birthplace as Georgia.

CNN's Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

Terre Haute
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 28°
Robinson
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 30°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Partly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 26°
Paris
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 24°
Mattoon/Charleston
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 29°
Terre Haute
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 28°
Terre Haute
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 28°
Warmer Thursday
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1076532

Reported Deaths: 20153
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4358889065
DuPage692851153
Will58408870
Lake53439886
Kane46063677
Winnebago26295407
Madison24398463
St. Clair22343426
McHenry21712248
Champaign15485102
Peoria15054241
Sangamon14548235
McLean13244159
Tazewell11944245
Rock Island11919303
Kankakee11488179
Kendall971578
LaSalle9478247
Macon8836179
Vermilion7538113
DeKalb749192
Adams7371117
Williamson6196116
Boone554977
Whiteside5261173
Clinton503285
Coles470380
Ogle460371
Knox4589142
Grundy438754
Effingham431169
Jackson418767
Henry401476
Marion3994112
Macoupin384994
Franklin384769
Randolph371568
Livingston364766
Monroe358770
Stephenson353274
Jefferson3435104
Morgan325989
Woodford320266
Logan309456
Montgomery305342
Lee304872
Bureau300484
Christian298673
Fayette291153
Perry267060
Iroquois259756
Fulton256949
Jersey222556
Lawrence217630
McDonough215051
Saline203053
Douglas199533
Union199332
Shelby197035
Crawford176134
Cass175131
Bond173824
Warren158644
Pike154346
Richland153644
Wayne152043
Hancock148634
Jo Daviess148524
Clark147730
Washington145225
Edgar144353
Carroll142633
Ford139049
Moultrie137428
White133430
Clay131240
Greene125742
Johnson121115
Wabash117914
Piatt117416
Mercer117229
Mason116640
De Witt114727
Cumberland108527
Jasper104015
Massac101831
Menard88010
Hamilton71717
Marshall67013
Schuyler62416
Pulaski6133
Brown61011
Stark49320
Edwards4629
Henderson45316
Calhoun4404
Alexander3897
Gallatin3884
Scott3851
Putnam3462
Hardin3038
Pope2472
Unassigned1050
Out of IL320

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 595436

Reported Deaths: 9466
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion822851311
Lake44626670
Allen32165543
Hamilton28684308
St. Joseph26917378
Elkhart24173343
Vanderburgh18856236
Tippecanoe17638125
Johnson14687289
Porter14513163
Hendricks14010242
Madison10715216
Vigo10540177
Clark10349135
Monroe9189108
Delaware8956134
LaPorte8867158
Howard7982140
Kosciusko791380
Warrick652994
Hancock646999
Bartholomew631096
Floyd6205107
Wayne5984159
Grant5874110
Dubois547175
Boone538867
Morgan524192
Henry497764
Marshall495384
Cass475362
Dearborn464545
Noble463157
Jackson417846
Shelby405680
Lawrence383876
Clinton367840
Gibson360058
DeKalb339163
Montgomery338152
Harrison333643
Knox329839
Miami312743
Steuben309343
Adams297435
Whitley297225
Wabash294947
Ripley294345
Putnam288047
Jasper285234
Huntington284959
White269138
Daviess263073
Jefferson253838
Decatur243482
Fayette242948
Greene237062
Posey234427
Wells231347
LaGrange225061
Clay219032
Scott218538
Randolph209845
Jennings193935
Sullivan189632
Spencer184319
Fountain180527
Washington179321
Starke172743
Jay163922
Fulton161130
Owen161137
Carroll153915
Orange152933
Rush151618
Perry149327
Vermillion145833
Franklin144433
Tipton129232
Parke12918
Pike114326
Blackford109222
Pulaski95337
Newton89821
Brown85931
Benton85310
Crawford7719
Martin70713
Warren6637
Switzerland6235
Union6146
Ohio4727
Unassigned0374