Burt Reynolds, Movie Star Who Played It for Grins, Dies at 82

posted by Debbie McFadden - 

Burt Reynolds, the charismatic star of such films as Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit who set out to have as much fun as possible on and off the screen — and wildly succeeded — has died. He was 82.

It is said that the actor went into cardiac arrest earlier today. He had undergone heart surgery back in 2010.

Reynolds, who received an Oscar nomination when he portrayed porn director Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997) and was the No. 1 box-office attraction for a five-year stretch starting in the late 1970s, died Thursday morning at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, his manager, Erik Kritzer, told The Hollywood Reporter

(continue to scroll below the photos for more details about his personal life and career) 

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RIP Burt Reynolds, aka the Bandit, J.J. McClure, Sheriff Ed Earl, Gator McCluskey, Stick, Jack Horner and Coach Wood Newton. #burtreynolds #amoebamusic

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Always with a wink, Reynolds shined in many action films (often doing his own stunts) and in such romantic comedies as Starting Over (1979) opposite Jill Clayburgh and Candice Bergen; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) with Dolly Parton; Best Friends (1982) with Goldie Hawn; and, quite aptly, The Man Who Loved Women (1983) with Julie Andrews.

Though beloved by audiences for his brand of frivolous, good-ol'-boy fare, the playful Reynolds rarely was embraced by the critics. The first time he saw himself in Boogie Nights, he was so unhappy he fired his agent. (He went on to win a Golden Globe but lost out in the Oscar supporting actor race to Robin Williams for Good Will Hunting, a bitter disappointment for him.)

"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 recalled 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."

Still, Reynolds had nothing to apologize for. He was Hollywood's top-grossing star every year from 1978 through 1982, equaling the longest stretch the business had seen since the days of Bing Crosby in the 1940s. In 1978, he had four movies playing in theaters at the same time. 

Survivors include his son, Quinton; he and Loni Anderson (wife at that time) adopted him when he was 3 days old.

Despite the ups and downs of a Hollywood life, Reynolds seemed to have no regrets. Although, he did admit that as far as his love life, Sally Field (who he dated on and off for five years) was the "one who got away".

"I always wanted to experience everything and go down swinging," he wrote in the final paragraph of his memoir. "Well, so far, so good. I know I'm old, but I feel young. And there's one thing they can never take away: Nobody had more fun than I did."

Debbie McFadden

Debbie McFadden

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