"Smokey and the Bandit" Star Burt Reynolds Dead at 82

Burt Reynolds

Burt made his Broadway debut in Look, We've Come Through, toured with the production, and began taking acting classes once he returned to NY.

He soon found regular work on stage and in TV, but delayed heading to Hollywood, citing a lack of confidence after being turned down during his first audition (for the 1957 war romance Sayonara) for looking too much like Marlon Brando. He began appearing on television in the late '50s, but it wasn't until 1962 that he secured a consistent role as the half-Native American blacksmith Quint Asper on "Gunsmoke".

Reynolds also played a starring role in the 1977 football movie "Semi-Tough", which co-starred Kris Kristofferson.

Reynolds scored another major role as the lead in the Smokey and the Bandit series, which seemed to perfectly fit his image as a smooth and sharply sarcastic country boy with a disregard for authority. In March, he said on the "Today" show that ex-girlfriend Sally Field, who was also his co-star in "Smokey and the Bandit", was the love of his life.

Reynolds retreated to his adopted home of Florida and opened the Jupiter Theater, a popular spot with local audiences where he directed several productions and appeared in a couple as well. He revered Spencer Tracy as an early mentor and came to know Johnny Carson, Clint Eastwood, Frank Sinatra and many others.

But he also was a frequent nominee for the Razzie, the tongue-in-cheek award for Hollywood's worst performance, and his personal life provided ongoing drama, particularly after an acrimonious divorce from Anderson in 1995.

His romps with several handsome Hollywood women throughout his life only served to boost his amorous reputation.

He was married twice. Reynolds had also been in relationships with Dinah Shore, Inger Stevens, Chris Evert, Judy Carne, Loni Anderson, and mentioned dating Hawn and Farrah Fawcett in his memoir.

Reynolds was born in Lansing, Michigan, on February 11, 1936. His father was in the military, and the family briefly lived in MI before settling in Florida when Reynolds was 10 years old.

Reynolds attended college in Florida on a football scholarship, but when knee injuries ruined his football career, he took up acting while in junior college. Along the way he turned down such potentially career-making roles as the ex-astronaut in Terms of Endearment, for which Jack Nicholson won an Oscar.

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