Burt Reynolds: 1936 - 2018

September 12, 2018 | Viveca

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 Burt Reynolds 1936 - 2018 *

Burt Reynolds, leading man and sex symbol with oodles of charm, was much more than a centerfold with a killer moustache.  A talented actor with a great sense of comedic timing, Reynolds' wry wit and ironic presentation (somewhat) mitigated the hyper-masculinity of his 1970s male persona. He was also linked with many strong women in the entertainment industry: Dinah Shore, Sally Field, and Loni Anderson.  He died on September 6 from cardiac arrest at the age of 82. Arguably,  his influence can be seen in contemporary romantic comedy leads - most notably the other Reynolds: Canadian darling, Ryan Reynolds.  

Read some of the media reaction to his passing:  The Guardian, the CBC, New York Times, Variety, and the Toronto Star

Reynolds started his career in television (Gunsmoke, Dan August) and appeared in 100 Rifles (1969) with Raquel Welch [sadly unavailable on DVD].  

He came to prominence with his dramatic performance in the award-winning John Boorman film, Deliverance. He also posed for a nude centerfold in Cosmopolitan that sealed his notoriety [heads up: adults only - hairy chests and bearskin rugs].  Later he became a fan favourite with the comedies made during his "Southern" period with director Hal Needham. 

Reynolds received an Academy Award nomination for his late career performance in Boogie Nights.  In the end, he leaves a legacy of hugely popular films that defined a decade.  Check out some of Reynolds' films available at the Toronto Public Library. 


Deliverance, 1972

Directed by John Boorman / Starring  Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty, Ronny  Cox / Based on the 1970 novel by James Dickey.  

Boorman's use of Reynolds in this violent exploration of toxic masculinity helped launch Reynolds' career and solidified his reputation as a serious actor. 


Just added to the collection! 

Fuzz, 1972 

Directed by Richard A. Colla / Starring Burt Reynolds, Raquel Welch, Jack Weston, Tom Skerritt, Yul Brynner


Just added to the collection! 

White Lightning, 1973

Directed by Joseph Sargent / Starring Burt Reynolds, Jennifer Billingsley, Ned Beatty

the longest yard

The Longest Yard, 1974

Directed by Robert Aldrich / Starring Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter, Michael Conrad, Bernadette Peters

This is one of my favourite Reynolds' films - and far superior to the remake with Adam Sandler [Reynolds does appear in the remake].

Smoky and the Bandit

 Smokey and the Bandit, 1977

Directed by Hal Needham / Starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed, Mike Henry

What can you say about this film?  An immense fan favourite - the anti-Annie Hall, which came out the same year. 

  Cannonball Run

Cannonball Run, 1982

Directed by Hal Needham / Starring Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Sammy Davis Jr., Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Farr, Terry Bradshaw, Mel Tillis, Jackie Chan, Michael Hui

Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, 1982

Directed by Colin Higgins / Starring Burt Reynolds, Dolly Parton, Dom DeLuise, Charles Durning, and Jim Nabors.

 Switching Channels 

 Switching Channels, 1988

Directed by Ted Kotcheff / Starring Burt Reynolds, Kathleen Turner, Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty, Henry Gibson

Remake of Lewis Milestone's The Front Page and Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday

Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights, 1997

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson / Starring Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, John C. Reilly, Heather Graham, Don Cheadle, Bill Macy, and Luz Guzman. 

Reynolds was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in this film. 

A life in movies:  available at the Toronto Public Library

But Enough About Me In Pieces

But Enough About Me: A Memoir by Burt Reynolds


In Pieces by Sally Field in which she addresses her long-term relationship with Reynolds. 


*Photo Credit: Creative Commons, Non-Commercial Use