Oscar nominee Burt Reynolds, who is remembered for theatricals like “Deliverance,” “The Longest Yard,” Smokey and the Bandit,” “Boogie Nights” and “The Cannonball Run,” and his Emmy Award winning role on CBS sitcom “Evening Shade,” died Thursday of a heart attack at a hospital in Florida, according to multiple reports.
Born Burton Leon Reynolds Jr. in on Feb. 11, 1936 in Lansing, Michigan, Reynolds attended Florida State University for two years on a football scholarship. After his promising career as a running back was cut short when he suffered a knee injury in a car accident, Reynolds then focused on acting and moved to New York City. His first credited role was the 1958 TV series “Flight.” He also made several guest roles in shows such as “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Perry Mason” and “The Twilight Zone,” among others.
Following his first regularly scheduled TV role in drama “Riverboat” in the 1959-60 season, he had a three seasons stint on western “Gunsmoke” (from 1962-65). Two short-lived dramas followed — “Hawk” in 1966 and “Dan August” from 1970-71 — before landing the role of Lewis in “Deliverance” in 1972.
For a period during the 1970s Reynolds was the nation’s top box office draw. But after one too many bad movies, his popularity waned. He returned to television, and produced his own sitcom, “Evening Shade,” which aired from 1990 to 1994. And he starred in crime solver “BL Stryker,” which aired as a rotating element in the “ABC Mystery Movie” wheel from 1989-90.
Personally, Reynolds dated his “Smokey and the Bandit” co-star, Sally Field, for five years after they met on the set of the 1977 film. The former couple appeared in four films together before calling it quits in the 1980s. Reynolds would go on to marry actress Loni Anderson in 1988. That marriage ended in 1994. He was also married to English actress Judy Carne from 1963 to 1965.
Reynolds’ last completed film, “Defining Moments,” is set to be released on December 2018. He was currently filming “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” opposite Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. That film, which details the Manson family and their reign of terror over Hollywood, is set to be premiere in 2019.