Burt Reynolds, Iconic ‘Smokey And The Bandit’ Star, Dead At 82

Burt Reynolds dies at the age of 82

Famed actor Burt Reynolds died on Thursday (September 6) morning after reportedly having a heart attack in a Florida hospital. His family settled in Riviera Beach, Florida, after his father, who served in the Army, returned from Europe in 1946. But his promising career as a running back was cut short by a knee injury suffered in a auto accident. But when injuries derailed a promising athletic career, Reynolds turned to acting. The move would be a fruitful one, earning him the Florida State Drama Award in 1956, which came with a scholarship to the Hyde Park Playhouse, a summer stock theater in Hyde Park, New York.

He is also known to have owned several custom-made sports cars, 150 horses, and an impressive toupee collection valued at $100,000. He scored small parts in the late 1950s, then broke through a few years later in the role of Quint on the TV series "Gunsmoke".

The actor soon started to rebuild his fortune, appearing in classics such as Boogie Nights, Without a Paddle, The Dukes of Hazzard.

"Reynolds" biggest early success on the silver screen was in 1972's Deliverance, in which he played one of four male friends whose backwoods canoeing trip goes seriously awry. With over 200 acting credits to his name - including "The Longest Yard", "Striptease" and "Cannonball Run" - Reynolds earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of pornographic filmmaker Jack Horner in "Boogie Nights".

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Actors Ralph Macchio and Kevin Smith also paid tribute to the star, remembering their childhoods watching him in "Smokey the Bandit".

Reynolds turned down the roles of Han Solo in Star Wars, astronaut Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment and John McClane in Die Hard. A bearskin-rug centerfold he posed for in Cosmopolitan magazine became a famous photo, though Reynolds later said he regretted the shot. After marrying television actress Loni Anderson, Reynolds chose to produce and star in the sitcom Evening Shade, which ran on CBS from 1990-94.

It was the original "Smokey" in 1977 that Reynolds is best known for; a Hal Needham action comedy flick that featured Reynolds as Bo "Bandit" Darville, a man hired to transport 400 cases of beer from Texas to Atlanta in 28 hours in his black Pontiac Trans-Am.

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