Coming down the wire from Hollywood Reporter and CNN, Hollywood acting legend Burt Reynolds has passed at the age of 82. Reynolds was known for such film legends as Deliverance, Smokey Bandit, The Longest Yard, Cannonball Run, and Boogie Nights. This news comes from Todd Eisner, Reynolds’ agent. Eisner told CNN that Reynolds passed due to cardiac arrest.
He talked to CNN in the past about his philosophy on choosing acting roles, “I took the part that was the most fun… I didn’t take the part that would be the most challenging.”
Burt Reynolds was a Georgia native but moved to Michigan early in life. He was on track for a football career at Florida State University when a football injury sidelined him. He turned to acting from here, and his earliest jobs included Mister Roberts and Gunsmoke.
Deliverance was the role that put Reynolds in the spotlight, a brutal movie wherein Reynolds played an outdoorsman attacked in the backwoods of Cahulawassee River. Jon Voight, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox starred in the movie alongside Reynolds.
In his time, Burt Reynolds apparently turned down roles as significant as Han Solo from Star Wars, the James Bond franchise, and even Michael Corleone from The Godfather.
A personal favorite Burt Reynolds role of mine was the out-of-nowhere voice-acting job in Saints Row: The Third by Volition and the defunct THQ. He played himself as the the mayor of Steelport and helps the Third Street Saints in their fight against the Syndicate. It was such a beautifully insane stunt-casting, and it will always surprising me that Reynolds took the role no matter the paycheck Volition and THQ offered him.
I also quite enjoyed The Longest Yard and have been sitting on a DVD copy of Deliverance I purchased some time back and will likely watch it tonight in his honor.