Legendary movie star Burt Reynolds dies at 82
Burt Reynolds, the charismatic star of Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit, has died at age 82. Known for his rugged masculinity, fun-loving spirit and iconic mustache, Burt skyrocketed to fame in the 70's. In 1996, he earned an Oscar nomination as best supporting actor in Paul Thomas Anderson's '70's porn drama Boogie Nights.
TMZ reports that Burt died of a heart attack, and was transported to a hospital in Florida after going into cardiac arrest. He died with his family at his side, and is survived by his son. The Cannonball Run star has a history of heart of problems, and underwent major heart surgery in 2010.
Over the years, Burt appeared in over 100 movies, and one very memorable issue of Cosmopolitan. In 1972, he became the first celebrity male nude centerfold, posing naked on a bearskin rug. The issue sold 1.5 million copies, but the hairy heartthrob regretted it later. "It's been called one of the greatest publicity stunts of all time, but it was one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made," he wrote in his 2015 Memoir, Enough About Me, "and I'm convinced it cost Deliverance the recognition it deserved."
Throughout the 70's and 80's, Burt Reynolds was a popular box office draw. In the early 90's, he went through a messy, high profile divorce with TV actress Loni Anderson. They had a tempestuous five year marriage, and one of the nastiest breakups in Hollywood history.
During a notorious appearance on The Tonight Show, another guest, game show host Marc Summers, cracked a cutting joke about Burt's divorce, and he did not take it well. Clearly irritated, Burt dumped his water on Marc, and somehow it all escalated into a violent pie fight. It is bizarre and hilarious.
Celebrities mourned the movie and TV icon on Twitter. Mark Wahlberg shared a throwback photo from the set of Boogie Nights. Kevin Smith praised him as "THE movie star of my childhood" who "showcased the fun of movie-making." And Arnold Schwarzenegger called Burt a "trailblazer," who "showed the way to transition from being an athlete to being the highest paid actor."
(Burt attended Florida State University on a football scholarship, and was a promising running back. However, after suffering a knee injury in a car accident, he turned to acting.)
According to Variety, Burt was set to appear in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which is currently filming. However, a source told TMZ that he had not shot any of his scenes yet. It's too bad we won't see him in that film, but his six-decade acting career will not be forgotten. As Kevin Smith wrote on Twitter, "The Bandit stole our hearts."
"I always wanted to experience everything and go down swinging," Burt 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."