Thursday, September 13, 2018
Burt Reynolds: American Good Ol' Boy
In what Rolling Stone magazine called “the last good ol’ boy movie star, Burt Reynolds not only had mega-star quality, but a varied film career that was a roller coaster of goods, bads, and what might have beens. Punctuated by high profile romances and investments in football teams and race cars, Reynolds was one of America's most recognized celebrities.
Before the acting bug hit, he attended Florida State University on a football scholarship and had visions of playing professionally. But after injuring his knee in the first game of his sophomore season, having his spleen removed, and injuring the other knee in a car accident, he decided to give up the game - on the field that is. In front of the camera was another story.
Known first to mainstream audiences as Quint Asper on the popular TV show Gunsmoke in 1962. He soon got other roles, the most significant being the lead on the TV show Hawk (1966-67). After appearing in several films he landed the lead role in the TV show Dan August, a Quinn Martin Production. After that was cancelled, he got his lucky break appearing in the film Deliverance, which made him a star. During this time he posed semi-nude for a 1972 issue of Cosmopolitan and started a relationship with older actress Dinah Shore.
He then did a series of hits including the football movies The Longest Yard (1974) and Semi-Tough (1977), in-between which he scored with Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and directed Gator (1976). Other car chase films followed like Smokey and the Bandit II, The Cannonball Run, and Stroker Ace, while The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and Best Friends kept him as one of the top grossing stars annually.
After a long-term relationship with Sally Field he became a minority owner of the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits and co-owned a NASCAR Winston Cup team, Mach 1 Racing. His courting, marriage, and subsequent divorce of Loni Anderson kept him in the headlines when his film career was in decline.
Reynolds left behind a formidable portfolio of work that still entertains. RetroCards offers up some cards that never were of this good ol’ boy. Rest in peace, Burt.