Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds

Reynolds in August 1991
Born Burton Leon Reynolds
(1936-02-11) February 11, 1936
Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
  • Actor
  • director
  • producer
Years active 1959–present
Spouse(s) Judy Carne (m. 1963–65)
Loni Anderson (m. 1988–93)
Children 1

Burton Leon "Burt" Reynolds (born February 11, 1936) is an American actor, director and producer. He has starred in many films, such as Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit and Boogie Nights, in which he was nominated for his first Academy Award.

Early life

Reynolds in September 1962

Reynolds is the son of Fern H. (née Miller; 1902–92) and Burton Milo Reynolds (1906–2002). He has English, Scottish, Scots-Irish and Dutch ancestry, and is also said to have Cherokee roots.[1][2] In his 2014 book, But Enough About Me, Reynolds said his mother had Italian ancestry. During his career, Reynolds often claimed to have been born in Waycross, Georgia, but confirmed in 2015 that he was actually born in Lansing, Michigan.[3] He was born on February 11, 1936,[4] and in his autobiography stated that Lansing is where his family lived when his father was drafted into the United States Army.[5][6] Reynolds, his mother and sister joined his father at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and lived there for two years. When Reynolds' father was sent to Europe, the family moved to Lake City, Michigan, where his mother had been raised.[7]

In 1946, the family moved to Riviera Beach, Florida. His father became Chief of Police of Riviera Beach, which is adjacent to the north of West Palm Beach, Florida. During 10th grade at Palm Beach High School, Reynolds was named First Team All State and All Southern as a fullback, and received multiple scholarship offers.[8]

After graduating from Palm Beach High in West Palm Beach, he attended Florida State University on a football scholarship and played halfback.[9] While at Florida State, Reynolds became roommates with now notable college football broadcaster and analyst Lee Corso, and also became a brother of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.[10] Reynolds hoped to be named to All-American teams and to have a career in professional football, but he was injured in the first game of his sophomore season, and a car accident later that year worsened the injury.[11]

With his university football career over, Reynolds considered becoming a police officer, but his father suggested that he finish university and become a parole officer. To keep up with his studies, he began taking classes at Palm Beach Junior College (PBJC) in neighboring Lake Worth. In his first term at PBJC, Reynolds was in an English class taught by Watson B. Duncan III. Duncan pushed Reynolds into trying out for a play he was producing, Outward Bound. He cast Reynolds in the lead role based on having heard Reynolds read Shakespeare in class, leading to Reynolds winning the 1956 Florida State Drama Award for his performance. In his autobiography, Reynolds refers to Duncan as his mentor and the most influential person in his life.[12]



Reynolds with the Citrus Queen at Garnet and Gold Football Game, Florida State University, 1963

The Florida State Drama Award included a scholarship to the Hyde Park Playhouse, a summer stock theater, in Hyde Park, New York. Reynolds saw the opportunity as an agreeable alternative to more physically-demanding summer jobs, but did not yet see acting as a possible career. While working there, Reynolds met Joanne Woodward, who helped him find an agent and was cast in Tea and Sympathy at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. After his Broadway debut Look, We've Come Through, he received favorable reviews for his performance and went on tour with the cast, driving the bus and appearing on stage.[13] After the tour, Reynolds returned to New York and enrolled in acting classes. His classmates included Frank Gifford, Carol Lawrence, Red Buttons, and Jan Murray. After a botched improvisation in acting class, Reynolds briefly considered returning to Florida, but he soon got a part in a revival of Mister Roberts, in which Charlton Heston played the starring role. After the play closed, the director, John Forsythe, arranged a film audition with Joshua Logan for Reynolds. The film was Sayonara. Reynolds was told that he could not be in the film because he looked too much like Marlon Brando. Logan advised Reynolds to go to Hollywood, but Reynolds did not feel confident enough to do so.[14] He worked in a variety of different jobs, such as waiting tables, washing dishes, driving a delivery truck and as a bouncer at the Roseland Ballroom. While working as a dockworker, Reynolds was offered $150 to jump through a glass window on a live television show.[15]

Television and film

Reynolds and Loni Anderson at the 43rd Primetime Emmy Awards

Reynolds guest-starred in the Pony Express episode, "The Good Samaritan", which aired in 1960 on the centennial of the famed mail route.[16] He used television fame to secure leading roles for low-budget films and played the titular role in Navajo Joe. He later disparaged the series, telling Johnny Carson that Dan August had "two forms of expression: "mean and meaner". Reynolds appeared on ABC's The American Sportsman hosted by outdoors journalist Grits Gresham, who took celebrities on hunting, fishing and shooting trips around the world. Saul David considered Reynolds to star in Our Man Flint, but Lew Wasserman rejected him.[17] Albert R. Broccoli asked Reynolds to play James Bond, but he turned the role down, saying "An American can't play James Bond. It just can't be done."[18] The role went to George Lazenby. Reynolds then filmed Shark! with director Sam Fuller and Fuller disowned the rough cuts.[19] Reynolds made his breakout performance in Deliverance and gained notoriety when he appeared in the April 1972 issue of Cosmopolitan.[20] Reynolds claims the centerfold in Cosmopolitan hurt the chances for the film and cast to receive Academy Awards.[21] In 1977, Reynolds and Nick Nolte declined the role of Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise, and went to Harrison Ford.[22] After starring in Boogie Nights, he refused to appear in Paul Thomas Anderson's third film, Magnolia.

Other roles

In 1973, Reynolds released the album Ask Me What I Am and sang along with Dolly Parton in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.[23] On March 15, 1978, Reynolds earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and built a dinner theatre in Jupiter, Florida followed by other franchise locations of the Reynolds Celebrity Dinner Theater including the Beacham Theater in Orlando. His celebrity was such that he drew not only big-name stars to appear in productions, but also to sell-out audiences. He sold the venue in the early 1990s, but a museum highlighting his career still operates nearby.[24] From 1977 to 1981, Reynolds topped the Quigley Publications poll of movie exhibitors, who voted him the top box-office attraction in the country. Only Bing Crosby won the poll more consecutive years. Despite much success, Reynolds' finances expired, and he filed for bankruptcy, due in part to an extravagant lifestyle, a divorce from Loni Anderson and failed investments in some Florida restaurant chains in 1996.[25][26] The filing was under Chapter 11, from which Reynolds emerged two years later.[26] Reynolds co-authored the children's book Barkley Unleashed A Pirate, a "whimsical tale [that] illustrates the importance of perseverance, the wonders of friendship and the power of imagination".[27] In early 2000, he created and toured for Burt Reynolds' One-Man Show. On video games, he voiced Avery Carrington in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City[28] and himself in Saints Row: The Third as the mayor of Steelport. He starred in the audiobook version of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. In May 2006, Reynolds appeared in the Miller Lite beer commercial.In 2015, Reynolds took a supporting role in the satirical thriller Pocket Listing.

Personal life


Reynolds in April 2011

Reynolds was a good friend of Johnny Carson, Dom DeLuise, Jerry Reed, Charles Nelson Reilly, Tammy Wynette, Lucie Arnaz, Adrienne Barbeau, Tawny Little, Dinah Shore and Chris Evert.[29]

Reynolds was married to Judy Carne from 1963 to 1965, and to Loni Anderson from 1988 to 1993. He and Anderson adopted a son, Quinton.[30] He had a relationship with Sally Field.[31]

Atlanta nightclub

In the late 1970s, Reynolds opened Burt's Place, a nightclub restaurant in the Omni International Hotel in the Hotel District of Downtown Atlanta.[32]

Sports team owner

In 1982, Reynolds became a co-owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits, a professional American football team in the USFL, whose nickname was inspired by the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy and Skoal Bandit, a primary sponsor for the team as a result of also sponsoring Reynolds' race team. Reynolds also co-owned a NASCAR Winston Cup team, Mach 1 Racing, with Hal Needham, which ran the #33 Skoal Bandit car with driver Harry Gant.


While filming City Heat, Reynolds was struck in the face with a metal chair, which broke his jaw and caused temporomandibular joint dysfunction. He lost thirty pounds from not eating. The painkillers he was prescribed led to addiction, which took several years to break. Reynolds underwent back surgery in May 2009 and a quintuple heart bypass in February 2010.

Financial problems

On August 16, 2011, Merrill Lynch Credit Corporation filed foreclosure papers, claiming Reynolds owed $1.2 million on his home in Hobe Sound, Florida.[33] Reynolds owned the Burt Reynolds Ranch, where scenes for Smokey and the Bandit were filmed and which once had a petting zoo, until its sale during bankruptcy.[34] In April 2014, the 153-acre rural property was rezoned for residential use and the Palm Beach County school system could sell it to residential developer K. Hovnanian Homes.[35]



Year Title Role Notes
1961 Angel Baby Hoke Adams
1961 Armored Command Ski
1965 Operation C.I.A. Mark Andrews
1966 Navajo Joe Joe
1969 100 Rifles Yaqui Joe Herrera
1969 Sam Whiskey Sam Whiskey
1969 Impasse Pat Morrison
1969 Shark! Caine
1970 Skullduggery Douglas Temple
1972 Fuzz Detective Steve Carella
1972 Deliverance Lewis Medlock
1972 Everything You Always Wanted to Know
About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
Sperm Switchboard Chief
1973 Shamus Shamus McCoy
1973 The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing Jay Grobart
1973 White Lightning Robert "Gator" McKlusky
1974 The Longest Yard Paul "Wrecking" Crewe
1975 At Long Last Love Michael Oliver Pritchard III
1975 W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings W.W. Bright
1975 Lucky Lady Walker Ellis
1975 Hustle Lieutenant Phil Gaines Also executive producer
1976 Silent Movie Himself Cameo
1976 Gator Robert "Gator" McKlusky Also director
1976 Nickelodeon Buck Greenway
1977 Smokey and the Bandit Bo "Bandit" Darville
1977 Semi-Tough Billy Clyde Puckett
1978 The End Wendell Sonny Lawson Also director
1978 Hooper Sonny Hooper Also producer
1979 Starting Over Phil Potter
1980 Rough Cut Jack Rhodes
1980 Smokey and the Bandit II Bo "Bandit" Darville
1981 The Cannonball Run J.J. McClure
1981 Paternity Buddy Evans
1981 Sharky's Machine Sgt. Thomas Sharky Also director
1982 The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd
1982 Best Friends Richard Babson
1982 Six Pack Man walking in front of Brewster & Lila Uncredited
1983 Stroker Ace Stroker Ace
1983 The Man Who Loved Women David Fowler
1983 Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 The Real Bandit Cameo
1984 Cannonball Run II J.J. McClure
1984 City Heat Mike Murphy
1985 Stick Ernest "Stick" Stickley Also director
1986 Uphill All the Way Gambler Uncredited
1986 Heat Nick Escalante
1987 Malone Richard Malone
1988 Rent-a-Cop Tony Church
1988 Switching Channels John L. Sullivan IV
1989 Physical Evidence Joe Paris
1989 Breaking In Ernie Mullins
1989 All Dogs Go to Heaven Charlie B. Barkin (voice)
1992 The Player Himself Cameo
1993 Cop and a Half Nick McKenna
1995 The Maddening Roy Scudder
1996 Citizen Ruth Blaine Gibbons
1996 Striptease Congressman David Dilbeck
1996 Mad Dog Time "Wacky" Jacky Jackson
1997 Meet Wally Sparks Lenny Spencer
1997 Bean General Newton
1997 Boogie Nights Jack Horner
1998 Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms CIA Deputy Director Mentor Direct-to-video
1999 Pups Daniel Bender
1999 Big City Blues Connor Also co-producer
1999 Mystery, Alaska Judge Walter Burns
1999 The Hunter's Moon Clayton Samuels Direct-to-video
1999 Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business CIA Deputy Director Mentor Direct-to-video
2000 The Crew Joey "Bats" Pistella
2000 The Last Producer Sonny Wexler Also director
2001 Driven Carl Henry
2001 Tempted Charlie LeBlanc
2001 Hotel Flamenco Manager
2001 The Hollywood Sign Kage Mulligan
2002 Time of the Wolf Archie McGregor
2003 The Librarians Irish Uncredited
2004 Without a Paddle Del Knox
2005 The Longest Yard Coach Nate Scarborough
2005 The Dukes of Hazzard Boss Hogg
2005 The Legend of Frosty the Snowman Narrator (voice) Direct-to-DVD
2006 Cloud 9 Billy Cole
2006 End Game General Montgomery
2006 Forget About It Sam LeFleur
2006 Grilled Goldbluth
2006 Broken Bridges Jake Delton
2007 Randy and the Mob Elmore Culpepper Uncredited cameo
2007 In the Name of the King King Konreid
2008 Deal Tommy Vinson
2008 Delgo Delgo's Father (voice)
2008 A Bunch of Amateurs Jefferson Steele
2015 Pocket Listing Ron Glass


Year Title Role Notes
1959 M Squad Peter Marashi Episode: "The Teacher"
1959 The Lawless Years Tony Sappio Episode: "The Payoff"
1959 Pony Express Adam Episode: "The Good Samaritan"
1959–60 Riverboat Ben Frazer 20 episodes
1959/60 Playhouse 90 Ace / The Actor 2 episodes
1960 Johnny Ringo Tad Stuart Episode: "The Stranger"
1960 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Bill Davis Episode: "Escape to Sonoita"
1960 Lock-Up Latchard Duncan Episode: "The Case of Alexis George"
1960/61 The Blue Angels Chuck / Corman 2 episodes
1960/61 The Aquanauts Leo / Jimmy 2 episodes
1961 Ripcord The Assassin Episode: "Crime Jump"
1961 Michael Shayne Jerry Turner Episode: "The Boat Caper"
1961 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre Branch Taylor Episode: "Man from Everywhere"
1961 The Brothers Brannagan Abelard Episode: "Bordertown"
1961 Naked City Young Man Episode: "Requiem for a Sunday Afternoon"
1961/62 The Everglades Trask / Lew Johnson 2 episodes
1962 Route 66 Tommy Episode: "Love Is a Skinny Kid"
1962 Perry Mason Chuck Blair Episode: "The Case of the Counterfeit Crank"
1962–65 Gunsmoke Quint Asper 50 episodes
1963 The Twilight Zone Rocky Rhodes Episode: "The Bard"
1965 Branded Red Hand Episode: "Now Join the Human Race"
1965 Flipper Al Bardeman 2 episodes
1965/68 The F.B.I. John Duquesne / Michael Murtaugh 2 episodes
1966 Hawk Detective Lt. John Hawk 17 episodes
1967 Gentle Ben Pilot Episode: "Voice from the Wilderness"
1968 Premiere Pete Lassiter Episode: "Lassiter"
1968 Fade In Rob Television film
1970 Love, American Style Stanley Dunbar Episode: "Love and the Banned Book"
1970–71 Dan August Dan August 26 episodes
1986 The Golden Girls Himself Epiosde: "Ladies of the Evening"
1987–91 Out of This World Troy Garland (voice) 95 episodes
1989–90 B.L. Stryker B.L. Stryker 12 episodes; also co-executive producer and director
1990–94 Evening Shade Wood Newton 98 episodes; also co-executive producer and director
1993 Beverly Hills, 90210 Himself Episode: "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window"
1993 The Larry Sanders Show Himself Episode: "The Grand Opening"
1993 The Man from Left Field Jack Robinson Television film; also director
1995 Amazing Grace Josiah Carey Episode: "Hallelujah"
1995 Hope and Gloria Himself Episode: "Sisyphus, Prometheus and Me"
1995 Cybill Himself Episode: "The Cheese Stands Alone"
1996 The Cherokee Kid Otter Bob the Mountain Man Television film
1997 Duckman Judge Keaton (voice) Episode: "Das Sub"
1997 King of the Hill M.F. Thatherton (voice) Episode: "The Company Man"
1998 Hard Time Detective Logan McQueen Television film; also director
2001 Emeril Himself Episode: "The Sidekick"
2002 The X-Files Mr. Burt Episode: "Improbable"
2003–04 Ed Russ Burton 2 episodes
2005 The King of Queens Coach Walcott Episode: "Hi, School"
2005 Robot Chicken J.J. McClure / Himself (voices) Episode: "Gold Dust Gasoline"
2005 Duck Dodgers Royal Serpenti (voice) Episode: "Master & Disaster/All in the Crime Family"
2006 Freddie Carl Crane Pool Episode: "Mother of All Grandfathers"
2006–07/09 My Name Is Earl Chubby 3 episodes
2010 Burn Notice Paul Anderson Episode: "Past & Future Tense"
2011 American Dad! Senator Buckingham (voice) Episode: "School Lies"
2011 Reel Love Wade Whitman Television film
2012 Archer Himself (voice) Episode: "The Man from Jupiter"
Video games
Year Title Voice role
2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Avery Carrington
2011 Saints Row: The Third Himself (The Mayor)


Year Title Chart positions Album Songwriter
US Country US CAN Country
1980 "Let's Do Something Cheap and Superficial" 51 88 33 Smokey and the Bandit II Soundtrack Richard Levinson


Awards and nominations for acting
Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1971 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Dan August Nominated [36]
1975 Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy The Longest Yard Nominated [36]
1980 Starting Over Nominated [36]
American Movie Awards Favorite Film Star – Male N/A Won
1991 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Evening Shade Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Male Performer in a New TV Series Won
Viewers For Quality Television Best Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Won
Golden Boot Awards Golden Boot Won
1992 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Won [36]
Primetime Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Won [37]
1993 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated [36]
1997 Boston Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Boogie Nights 2nd place
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Won
New York Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor Won
Online Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actor Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actor Won
1998 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Won [36]
BAFTA Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Won
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Best Cast Won
National Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Won
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Won
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated

Other honors

Further reading


  1. "Loose Ends". BBC Radio 4. 5 December 2015.
  2. "Burt Reynolds". Inside the Actors Studio. Bravo.
  3. "Burt Reynolds finally reveals he was born in Lansing". Freep.com. Detroit Free Press. November 19, 2015.
  4. Russell, James (April 23, 2002). "Burton Reynolds, Father Of Actor". Sun-Sentinel.
  5. "Overview for Burt Reynolds". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  6. "Birthplace". Biography Channel.)
  7. David Votta, "Lost Lansing: Burt Reynolds Native Son (and now Wikipedia agrees)", Lansing Online, February 6, 2011.
  8. Reynolds, pp. 17, 33–37, 41–44.
  9. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Photo gallery of Reynolds at FSU: http://heritage.fsu.edu/photos/burtatfsu.html
  10. "Phi Delta Theta International Site – Famous Phis". Phideltatheta.org. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  11. Chris Nashawaty (2005-04-25). "Talking with Burt Reynolds". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  12. Reynolds, pp. 57–59.
  13. Reynolds, pp. 59–63.
  14. Reynolds, pp. 63–65.
  15. Reynolds, pp. 65–67.
  16. "Pony Express". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  17. "THE INDUSTRY: LIFE IN THE HOLLYWOOD FAST LANE By Saul David" (review), Kirkus Review.
  18. Monsters and Critics Archived February 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. Fuller, Samuel Samuel Fuller: Interviews University Press of Mississippi, May 30, 2012.
  20. "Burt Reynolds nude: 10 facts about the Cosmo centrefold". BBC News. April 30, 2012.
  21. Wenn. "Burt Reynolds: Nude photo cost 'Deliverance' Oscar glory". MSN. Microsoft. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  22. "Burt Reynolds Biography". The Biography Channel. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  23. Peter Travers (August 2, 1982). "Dolly Does Hollywood!". People.
  24. "Jupiter Theatre Will Reopen". Sun Sentinel. 1998-12-09. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  25. Laura J. Margulies (2008), "Famous Bankruptcies".
  26. 1 2 Gary Eng Walk (07 October 1998), "Burt Reynolds closes the book on Chapter 11", Entertainment Weekly
  27. "Barkley Unleashed: A Pirate's Tail", Amazon.
  28. Chris Kohler (March 28, 2012). "Going Hollywood Wasn't Easy for Grand Theft Auto". Wired.
  29. Anderson, pp. 251–53, 262–63.
  30. "Burt and Loni, and Baby Makes Glee", The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 3, 1988.
  31. "Burt & Sally In Love". people.com. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  32. "The swing of things at Burt's Place". Pecannelog.com. 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  33. "Burt Reynolds faces being thrown out of home". The Telegraph. August 16, 2011.
  34. Lipka, Mitch (3 April 1998). "Burt Reynolds Needs Deliverance". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  35. Capozzi, Joe (April 28, 2014). "Old Burt Reynolds Ranch: Changes OK'd to allow 30-home development". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
  36. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Burt Reynolds".
  37. "BURT REYNOLDS - Television Academy".
  38. "Walk of Fame Stars – Burt Reynolds". Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
  39. "2000 Children at Heart". TV.com.
  40. "2003 Atlanta Image Award". The New Georgia Encyclopedia.
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