Actor Burt Reynolds died Thursday morning at a Florida hospital following a heart attack, according to reports. He was 82.
A longtime actor, Reynolds began his career in entertainment in the 1950s, appearing in television series like Flight and M Squad. By the 1960s, Reynolds booked iconic gigs on programsincluding Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, and Dan August, in which he starred.
Reynolds, however, made it big in the '70s with his role as Lewis Medlock in the 1972 thriller, Deliverance. That success even lead to a brush with Philly, with Reynolds being considered for the part of Rocky Balboa in 1976's Rocky. As it turns out, United Artists, the studio behind Rocky, wanted Reynolds, James Caan, or Ryan O'Neal to play the Italian Stallion, and reportedly offered Sylvester Stallone upwards of $300,000 to give the role up at the time.
Another role not meant to be: Reynolds turned down the role of Han Solo, offered to him before Harrison Ford. Reynolds eschewed Star Wars fame to do Smokey and the Bandit, a hit in its own right, instead.
"I saw the director, and we talked about it, but I wasn't really enthusiastic about it," said Reynolds told Inquirer and Daily News film critic in 2015. "The thing is, it's hard to see what somebody's vision is for a thing like that. And I just didn't really see it. Maybe I should have, but I didn't."
Across his career, Reynolds would go on to appear in about 200 television and film projects, including classic titles like 1977's Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run in 1980, 1982's The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Striptease in 1996, and 1997's Boogie Nights, for which he earned an Oscar nomination.
But he also was a frequent nominee for the Razzie, the tongue-in-cheek award for Hollywood's worst performance, and his personal life provided ongoing drama, particularly after an acrimonious divorce from Anderson in 1995. He had a troubled marriage to Judy Carne, a romance with Shore and a relationship with Field damaged by his acknowledged jealousy of her success.
"At this age, I'm proudest of the fact that I'm working and I've been working very steadily almost the entire time," Reynolds told the Inquirer during a 2015 rare public appearnce while in town for Wizard World Comic Con, his first ever Comic Con. "It's been a very mixed bag, but it's been good."
Later this year, Reynolds will appear in the comedy Defining Moments, followed by Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood next year.
Born in Lansing, Michigan and raised in Florida, he was an all-Southern Conference running back at Florida State University in the 1950s. Reynolds appeared headed to the NFL until a knee injury and an automobile accident ended his chances. He dropped out of college and drifted to New York, where he worked as a dockhand, dance-hall bouncer, bodyguard and dish washer before returning to Florida in 1957 and enrolling in acting classes at Palm Beach Junior College.
After moving to Hollywood, he found work as a stuntman, including one job that consisted of flying through a glass window. As a star, he often performed his own stunts, and he played a stuntman in the 1978 film Hooper, one of his better reviewed films.
In the 1960s he made dozens of guest-star appearances on such TV shows as Bonanza, The Twilight Zone and Perry Mason. His first film role came in 1961′s Angel Baby," and he followed it with numerous other mediocre movies, the kind, he liked to joke, that were shown in airplanes and prisons.
He did become famous enough to make frequent appearances on "The Tonight Show," leading to his most cherished film role and to his greatest folly.
In the early 1970s, director John Boorman was impressed by how confidently Reynolds handled himself when subbing for Carson as host of "The Tonight Show." Boorman thought he might be right for a film adaptation of James Dickey's novel "Deliverance."
Reynolds starred as Lewis Medlock, the intrepid leader of an ill-fated whitewater canoe trip. When he and three other Atlanta businessmen are ambushed by violent backwoodsmen, Reynolds must guide the group to safety.
"Deliverance" was an Oscar nominee for best picture and no film made him prouder. In his 2015 memoir "But Enough About Me," he wrote that "Deliverance" would be his choice could he put one of his movies in a time capsule.
"It proved I could act," he wrote.
But soon after filming was completed, he made a decision he never stopped regretting. While appearing on The Tonight Show with Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown, he agreed to her invitation, offered during a commercial break, to be the first male centerfold for her magazine.
"I was flattered and intrigued," Reynolds wrote in his memoir. The April 1972 issue of Cosmopolitan quickly sold more than 1 million copies, but turned his life into a "carnival." The centerfold would appear on T-shirts, panties and other merchandise and Reynolds began receiving obscene fan mail. Reynolds' performance in "Deliverance" was snubbed by the movie academy.
"It was a total fiasco," he wrote. "I thought people would be able to separate the fun-loving side of me from the serious actor, but I was wrong."
Reynolds also directed a few of the films he starred in, including Gator, Sharky's Machine and Stick, and made cameo appearances in the Hollywood spoof The Player and Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).
In 1988, Reynolds married Anderson. The actress, one of the stars of the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, had met him on a talk show.
The couple divorced in 1995, and their breakup was an embarrassing public spectacle, with the pair exchanging insults in print interviews and on television shows. Reynolds finally paid her a $2 million settlement and a vacation home to settle the divorce.
He rebounded once again, this time with the role of porn movie impresario Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights, which brought him some of his best reviews even though he felt ambivalent about his character and felt limited rapport with the director.
He won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor and received an Oscar nomination. Convinced he would win, he was devastated when the Oscar went to Robin Williams for Good Willi Hunting.
"I once said that I'd rather have a Heisman Trophy than an Oscar," he wrote in his memoir. "I lied."
Burton Leon Reynolds was born on Feb. 11, 1936, the son of a police chief who looked down on his son's ambitions to become an actor. After several years in California, he returned in 1969 to Florida, where he had gone to college. He bought eight acres of waterfront property in the wealthy community of Jupiter and spent most of the rest of his life there, devoting much of his later years to his only son, Quinton, whom he had adopted with Anderson.
He opened the Burt Reynolds Jupiter Theatre and a Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum, where he displayed his memorabilia and sometimes lectured to drama students.