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 7:58 AM
Updated: Sep 7, 2018 8:06 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.

Huntsville
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
Florence
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 69°
Fayetteville
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 67°
Decatur
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
Scottsboro
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19572348
Mobile13320292
Montgomery8811183
Tuscaloosa8586117
Madison782078
Shelby592349
Lee588759
Baldwin545650
Marshall393343
Calhoun349942
Etowah343945
Morgan327328
Houston280221
Elmore265947
DeKalb240620
St. Clair230835
Walker230683
Talladega214628
Limestone208820
Cullman189020
Dallas178326
Franklin176729
Autauga175725
Russell17573
Lauderdale169833
Colbert164126
Blount160815
Escambia160324
Chilton156431
Jackson156011
Covington138527
Dale135844
Coffee13206
Pike119410
Chambers116142
Tallapoosa115685
Clarke108916
Marion95729
Butler91639
Barbour8737
Winston73812
Marengo71620
Pickens65614
Lowndes65327
Bibb65210
Randolph64213
Hale63428
Lawrence61623
Geneva6074
Cherokee60313
Bullock59914
Monroe5848
Clay5797
Washington55613
Perry5416
Crenshaw53632
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry4935
Macon48119
Fayette4508
Sumter43519
Lamar3662
Cleburne3646
Choctaw34912
Greene30315
Coosa1683
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 189454

Reported Deaths: 2352
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30613455
Davidson26381303
Hamilton937494
Knox929875
Rutherford924089
Williamson519836
Sumner479497
Wilson345344
Putnam327740
Montgomery304544
Unassigned29474
Bradley291417
Out of TN284426
Madison283264
Sevier259615
Blount250424
Maury232923
Washington227635
Robertson220335
Sullivan214833
Hamblen189926
Tipton180519
Trousdale16537
Gibson163622
Hardeman155826
Wayne14955
Dyer135014
Bedford132817
Dickson125015
Coffee121013
Cumberland119218
Fayette118319
Weakley117619
Henderson116924
Anderson116513
Carter115828
Obion115610
Loudon11546
Greene114244
McMinn111325
Jefferson111014
Warren10477
Macon104620
Monroe103018
Lawrence102312
Hardin102216
Lauderdale97916
Haywood96819
Franklin9639
Lake9182
Roane8854
McNairy87618
Carroll87420
Bledsoe8544
White8309
Rhea82112
Cheatham80510
Hawkins79618
Marshall7495
Cocke7439
Overton7355
Smith71311
Johnson6962
Chester62310
Henry6189
Lincoln6111
Giles59117
Hickman5738
DeKalb56114
Crockett53619
Marion5258
Decatur5127
Fentress4933
Claiborne4415
Campbell4394
Polk38810
Grainger3723
Union3531
Benton3369
Jackson3245
Morgan3153
Unicoi2851
Cannon2830
Grundy2835
Humphreys2463
Sequatchie2312
Meigs2263
Clay2245
Houston2143
Scott2132
Stewart1982
Lewis1961
Moore1691
Van Buren1640
Perry1500
Pickett1142
Hancock1063

Community Events