NEWS
06/09/2018 20:19 BST | Updated 06/09/2018 20:52 BST

Burt Reynolds Dead, Aged 82

Hollywood star suffered a heart attack.

Art Zelin via Getty Images
Burt Reynolds in the car from Smoky and the Bandit.

Hollywood star Burt Reynolds has died aged 82, his publicist has said.

The actor was famed for his roles in 1970s and 1980s films including Deliverance and Smokey and the Bandit, and latterly Boogie Nights.

In a statement, a spokesman for Reynolds said the star died in Jupiter, Florida, on Thursday morning after suffering a heart attack.

At the peak of his career, Reynolds was one of the most bankable actors in the film industry, reeling off a series of box office smashes until a career downturn in the mid-1980s.

He rebounded in 1997 with a nomination for a best supporting actor Academy Award for Boogie Nights.

With his trademark mustache, rugged looks and macho aura, he was a leading male sex symbol of the 1970s.

He appeared naked - reclining on a bearskin rug with his arm strategically positioned for the sake of modesty - in a centrefold in the women’s magazine Cosmopolitan in 1972.

Reynolds cited director John Boorman’s Oscar-nominated 1972 ‘Deliverance’ as his best film and said he regretted that the hoopla from his Cosmopolitan appearance detracted from the movie that made him a star.

Dylan Martinez / Reuters
Burt Reynolds in 2015

Many of his films were set in America’s South. He often played a lovable rascal who outwits local authorities as in director Hal Needham’s 1977 crowd-pleasing action comedy Smokey and the Bandit.

Another of his better roles was that of former a pro quarterback who lands in prison and assembles a team of convicts to play the warden’s squad of brutal prison guards in 1974′s The Longest Yard. He appeared in a supporting role 2005′s remake with Adam Sandler.

While some of his performances were critically praised, others were ridiculed, particularly in the bloated action comedy Cannonball Run II, a sequel to his financial success The Cannonball Run.

Reynolds turned down notable roles including Han Solo in ‘Star Wars’ which went to Harrison Ford; the title role in a James Bond film; and the astronaut in Terms of Endearment that Jack Nicholson turned into an Oscar-winning performance.

Bettmann via Getty Images
Burt Reynolds on the set of Deliverance

Burton Leon Reynolds Jr. was born on February 11, 1936, and grew up in Florida. He was a fine athlete and played football at Florida State University in the 1950s before his professional football hopes were dashed by injuries suffered in a car crash.

He began acting after enrolling in a junior college. He moved to New York and landed minor stage and TV roles before making his film debut in 1961. Reynolds often was cast in Westerns, including the popular “Gunsmoke” television series in the 1960s.

His film career stalled in the mid-1980s with several misfires and he was never again a leading movie star. 

Reynolds turned to television and had a successful run on the situation comedy Evening Shade, co-starring Marilu Henner and Charles Durning. He continued to appear in films in lesser but sometimes noteworthy roles.

He earned his only career Oscar nomination playing a porn director - a role he despised - in director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights in 1997, starring Mark Wahlberg.

He experienced some health issues later in his life. He underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery in 2010 and was hospitalized in intensive care in 2013 with the flu.