“I always wanted to experience everything and go down swinging. Well, so far, so good. I know I’m old, but I feel young. And there’s one thing they can never take away: Nobody had more fun than I did.”– Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds, one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actors, has driven his Trans Am to a better place. He passed away today, September 6, 2018. Leaving behind a legacy of top notch films, winning smiles and the mustache and memories of a legend.
Coming from what some would describe as a humble beginning, Burt made his debut in the acting world in the 1950s on the stage. Performing in such plays as Watson Duncan III’s Outward Bound, Tea and Sympathy and Mister Roberts, Burt soon found himself transitioning from stage to screen.
His first film appearance was Angel Baby (1961), followed by two regular roles on TV shows Riverboat and Gunsmoke. Using these as a springboard landed him the lead in the Spaghetti Western Navajo Joe.
From there, the parts kept coming in. If any actor can be said to have defined the 70s and 80s, Burt Reynolds is one of the top choices. From Stroker Ace to White Lightening to The Longest Yard, Sharky’s Machine and Gator, Burt took them all on and conquered them all. But a role that this man is most remembered for is Bo “Bandit” Darville in the hit Smokey and the Bandit.
While his many roles will always have particular favorites in the hearts and minds of movie-goers, the movie and character that stood out to him the most was that of Lewis Medlock in Deliverance. This quote from his memoir will attribute the why to this decision.
“If I had to put only one of my movies in a time capsule, it would be Deliverance. I don’t know if it’s the best acting I’ve done, but it’s the best movie I’ve ever been in. It proved I could act, not only to the public but me.” – But Enough About Me.
No matter how much time may pass, nor history marching on, actors of this caliber make differences in the industry. They provide fresh faces, driven dedication to the craft of acting and generate content of the sort that brings people in droves to the box office that then translates to memorable lines, scenes and anecdotes afterwards. Burt Reynolds was all these things and more.
Fans of this mustachioed master of machismo will never forget him. Neither will those who knew him and worked with him over the years. For over 60 years Burt Reynolds provided endless hours of excitement, joy and delight with the parts he played and the films he worked on. This was a man among men, and there will never be another one like him.