Burt Reynolds, the Hollywood icon known for a string of film roles from “Deliverance” to “Smokey and the Bandit” to “Boogie Nights,” has died. CNN reports that Reynolds’ death was confirmed by his agent Todd Eisner.
Reynolds reportedly suffered cardiac arrest today. He was 82.
Reynolds received his only Oscar nomination for his performance as porn director Jack Horner in the 1997 movie “Boogie Nights,” which also won him one of his two Golden Globes. Reynolds won a Golden Globe in 1992 for his role on the TV series “Evening Shade.” He also received a Primetime Emmy for “Evening Shade,” in 1991.
Early in his career Reynolds was a regular on television, including a run in the early ’60s as blacksmith Quint Asper on the Western series “Gunsmoke.”
“An iconic Hollywood sex symbol in front of the camera, Reynolds also tried his directorial hand behind it, and later earned a reputation for philanthropy after founding the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre in his home state of Florida,” CNN reports. “His roles over the years ranged and pivoted from Southern heartthrob to tough guy to comedy, notably for his role as Rep. David Dilbeck in the 1996 film ‘Striptease,’ which flopped at the box office but earned him widespread praise for his comedic prowess.”
He had a breakthrough role in John Boorman’s 1972 thriller “Deliverance,” playing outdoorsman Lewis Medlock. CNN notes that Reynolds called it “by far” his best film.
Reynolds is quoted saying of “Deliverance” years later in an interview: “I thought maybe this film is more important in a lot of ways than we’ve given it credit for.”
Reynolds reportedly noted that the movie’s infamous rape scene may have helped the public, and men in particular, better understand the horrors of sexual attacks.
“It was the only time I saw men get up, sick, and walk out of a theater,” he said. “I’ve seen women do that (before),” but not men.
Here’s a clip of Reynolds in action on “Gunsmoke” …