Actor. Director. Producer. Former college football player. These all may be career paths for the great Burt Reynolds – the man who brought us Riverboat, Gunsmoke, Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit, and Boogie Nights – but there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to this Hollywood celeb. Think about it, he’s who every man wanted to be and who every woman wanted to be with. He is a walking legend. So, let’s just get started, we have plenty to spill about the myth, the man, the legend, Mister Burt Reynolds.
Burt Reynolds: Origin
Let’s start with something simple, Burt Reynolds was born on February 11, 1936, in good ol’ Lansing, Michigan. His mom was a nurse who always encouraged Burt to read while his father was an army colonel who then became a police chief. In 1946, the Reynolds family moved to Riviera Beach, Florida. While in the 10th grade, Reynolds was actually named First Team All State and All Southern as a fullback, and he went on to receive many scholarship offers. Which leads us to our next fact about the Golden Globe Award winner.
Speaking of Football
Following Burt’s graduation from Palm Beach High, he attended Florida State University…on a football scholarship! Reynolds had hopes of getting named to All-American teams and then to pursue a career in professional football. However those dreams were dashed after a serious knee injury, and later when a car accident hospitalized him. The collection of these injuries hampered Reynolds’ football abilities, so he gave it all up.
Once Reynolds ended his football career, he then became a police officer. However it was his father who suggested that Reynolds finish university and only then, become a parole officer. While taking classes at Palm Beach Junior College, Reynolds was in the English class that was taught by Watson B. Duncan III. Duncan was the one to push Reynolds to try out for a play he was producing, titled ‘Outward Bound’. Which he did and Duncan wound up casting Reynolds as the lead, not long after and Reynolds actually won the 1956 Florida State Drama Award for his performance! Later on, Reynolds cites in his autobiography that Duncan is “his mentor and the most influential person in his life”.
1957 marks the year that Burt Reynolds landed his big break! After Reynolds appeared in the New York City Center revival of Mister Roberts, he subsequently signed a TV contract. From there he appeared as regular on shows like Riverboat, Gunsmoke, Hawk and Dan August. As many TV audiences thought of Reynolds as handsome and charming, his popularity only grew. Therefore he made many appearances on talk shows such as Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.
While Reynolds had already appeared in films and shows, it wasn’t until he starred in the 1972 film Deliverance that earned him critical acclaim. Shortly after, his fame grew tenfold when he appeared centerfold in Cosmopolitan. Ahem, we do have to point out that Reynolds appeared as the first nude male for Cosmo. Which he then claims hurt his chances for the film (Deliverance) and the cast to receive Academy Awards.
Nothing But Success
Burt Reynolds was a massive star throughout the 70’s and 80’s, starring in some of Hollywood’s greatest flicks. Such as The Longest Yard, Semi-Tough, Smokey and the Bandit, and The Best Little W****house in Texas.
Back At It
In the mid 80’s, Reynolds experienced a decline in success when it came to film. However he earned an Emmy and Golden Globe when he joined the cast of Evening Shade, a popular sitcom at the time. In fact, Reynolds was even a director at times for the show!
During the mid 90’s, Reynolds basically kicked off his film comeback with a role in Striptease, starring Demi Moore. Then he was cast in Boogie Nights by Paul Thomas Anderson, which went on to earn Reynolds an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe.
Marriage Number One
From 1963 to 1965, Reynolds was married to the English comedienne/actress Judy Carne. Carne was Burt’s first wife, later she would remarry but after just a year, would also divorce.
Before Burt Reynolds began dating singer Dinah Shore, he was viewed as a ladies man. Even though Dinah was 20 years older than Burt, the duo were madly in love. Plus, the fact that Shore was dating Reynolds really boosted her profile as a sexy Hollywood star.
Burt Reynolds has also spoken about his relationship with Dinah Shore, “Id never met anyone like her. I realized there was a big age gap between us but it didn’t make the slightest difference. I was already in love with her.” Dinah and Burt were a couple for four years, but called it quits as Burt wanted to have children and Dinah didn’t.
Miss You More
During his December 2015 GQ interview, Reynolds was asked about who his misses most in his life, and he replied with, “Dinah (Shore). No question. I miss her a lot.” When asked about what he specifically misses, he replied, “Her honesty. Her ability to tell you not to be affected by the bulls**t of life and of the business. She was the epitome of class.”
A Great Love
Surely you know that Reynolds dated his Smokey and the Bandit co-star Sally Field. While Burt holds great respect for Dinah Shore, he couldn’t help but comment that he misses Sally Field immensely and that he feels so much remorse over having not been more committed to their relationship. Moreover, Reynolds has said that “Field was, and perhaps is, the love of his life.”
We really cannot underline how much Reynolds believes that “she was the one that got away”. Once during an interview, he commented, “She was the love of my life and I screwed the relationship up. That sense of loss never goes away.” Moreover in this 2015 memoir, he wrote (in great detail) just how much regret he feels that they parted was. Furthermore he added that he still misses he greatly and follows her career.
Marriage Number Two
Reynolds second marriage arrived in 1988 when he tied the knot with the actress Loni Anderson. This duo also adopted a son together, Quinton. However by 1993, Reynolds and Anderson were calling it quits. Soon after, their divorce proceedings turned volatile, and financially costly. [insert sad face.]
In Reynolds’ memoir, he wrote about what a mistake he made when he married Loni Anderson, as she was “crazy”. During his 2015 GQ interview, he was asked why men often don’t recognize the crazy ladies until it’s too late. Reynolds replied with, “Well, crazies are the sexiest. They also have an ability to be really smart. They come after you and give you a “shit or get off the pot” ultimatum. And of course you don’t want to lose them because they are so full of life. Or so it seems. At some point, you hear the voice telling you to run.”
Furthermore in the 2015 GQ interview, Reynolds elaborated more as to why men ignore the voice in their heads, telling them to run. “Because it is the most logical voice. And you are, at that point, not in love with logic. You are in love with beauty. You are blinded. We forget the ocean is beautiful and deep and vast. But it can change on you in a flash and drown you.” He then added, “I mean, I knew that I was making a mistake [with Anderson] the day I walked down the aisle at the church. I’ll never forget: I looked at my mother in the pew, and she was just shaking her head.”
Even though Burt Reynolds had been killing it in the box office for years, he struggled financial. Actually he struggled so much that he declared bankruptcy in the mid 90’s. Eventually Reynolds had to sell his house and the Burt Reynolds Ranch (where some scenes for ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ were filmed).
During filming City Heat, Burt Reynolds was struck in the face. By accident, of course! And the object that whacked him in the face? A metal chair. As a result, Reynolds underwent temporomandibular joint dysfunction and wound up losing 30 pounds, as he couldn’t eat. Moreover, he developed an addiction to his prescription painkillers, which took some time to overcome. In 2009 he also underwent back surgery and just a year later, had quintuple bypass surgery.
Back in Autumn 2015, Reynolds published the well-received memoir But Enough About Me. In his 60 year Hollywood, Burt explained just what its like to go through all of the ups and downs of life in the spotlight, his marriages, and also his financial situation. Plus, he even addresses those terrible rumors about him – the ones that have been circulating since the 80’s.
In his December 2015 GQ interview, Burt Reynolds was asked about his feelings toward Donald Trump – as he had written about him in his book. Reynolds said “I like him. He’s a good guy. I just don’t know how he’d deal with Russia and other countries. To be successful in business you have to be ruthless. But when you are running a country and dealing with other countries, ruthlessness doesn’t work all the time.”
Get this, Burt Reynolds has admitted that he wore toupees during his career! When asked by GQ in 2015 if he wore a “stunt toupee” for the film Deliverance, he replied, “That was all me! That was my real hair. It wasn’t much. But it was me. You know, if I had it to do over again, I would do it natural. Not wear a toupee.”
Not A Chance
Ahem, going back to Paul Thomas Anderson and that GQ interview, Reynolds was asked if he would work with Anderson again, to which he replied, “I don’t think so. Personality-wise, we didn’t fit.” Furthermore he added why they didn’t fit as a team, “I think mostly because he was young and full of himself. Every shot we did, it was like the first time [that shot had ever been done]. I remember the first shot we did in Boogie Nights, where I drive the car to Grauman’s Theater. After he said, “Isn’t that amazing?” And I named five pictures that had the same kind of shot. It wasn’t original. But if you have to steal, steal from the best.”
Burt Reynolds has passed up quite a few roles in his life, from Han Solo to Michael Corleone to Rocky Balboa. Heck, even in films like Die Hard and Pretty Woman. In his book he discusses just briefly about turning roles down. When asked by
Sing A Song
Uhh, guys, Burt Reynolds isn’t just an actor and author. He’s also, wait for it, a singer. Huh, who have thought that’d be true! Anyways, in 1973 he debuted his first album titled ‘Ask Me What I Am’ – and guess what? It actually sold incredibly well! Oh, it’s available on Amazon if you’d like a taste. You’re welcome.
Burt and Dolly
Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton – now there’s a duo we’d love to see on-screen together! Oh wait, you can. Yup, Burt and Dolly starred in the 1982 flick, The Best Little W****House in Texas. Although we had to, ~cough-cough~, censor the movie title name as it’s incredibly inappropriate. I mean, not even Dolly could name the film so she would call it “The Best Little Chicken House in Texas”. Ain’t that just cute?
Welch Isn’t A Fan
When you think of the 70’s era, you undoubtedly think about Raquel Welch as well. The model, actress, and activist, who starred alongside Reynolds in the police comedy Fuzz. Despite starring in the same movie, Welch absolutely hated Reynolds. So much so that she requested her body double stand in for scenes that involved Reynolds. In addition, she waited by her phone so that once Reynolds left, she would only then continue doing her scenes.
Now, the 81 year old actor first emerged onto the Hollywood scene in 1958. Yeah, just let that sink in! Anyways, Burt Reynolds is practically a household name, and there’s another actor who is beginning to earn the same mantle. Ryan Reynolds of course. While the pair share the same last name, that’s about it. Sorry folks, they are not related! Although that didn’t stop Ryan from creating a hilarious reprise of Burt Reynolds’s famous nude Cosmo pose while he was filming Deadpool.
Two and a Half Men
Bruce Reynolds has dealt with horrible accusations, but it’s perhaps the rumor that he has HIV or AIDS, that is the toughest to deal with. Be that as it may, when Reynolds interviewed while on a British Talk Show, he said something awful about Charlie Sheen. Sheen, as you know is also an actor. Reynolds said that he felt that Sheen deserved to have AIDS, which the public reacted badly to. Furthermore, Reynolds added that while he thinks Martin Sheen is a great man, he can’t say that he feels bad about Charlie’s current predicament.
Nothing But Rumors
Remember when we said that Burt Reynolds lost a ton of weight? Which was due to a jaw injury following a stunt that went array. Yes? Great. Well, the rumor mill started churning and people said that Reynolds was so skinny because he was HIV positive. However, that is nothing but a malicious rumor still to this day.