Burt Reynolds: Smokey and the Bandit and Boogie Nights star dies aged 82

Burt Reynolds, one of Hollywood’s most popular male hearttrobs, has died at the age of 82.

The Oscar-nominated actor passed away earlier today having succumbed to a heart attack with his family by his bedside.

Born in 1936, Reynolds’s versatile acting career began with a number of guest roles in a variety of television programmes in the late 1950s.

He then landed several series starring roles, mostly in Westerns, starting with Riverboat in 1959. He appeared for three series as a Native American on the long-running Gunsmoke in the mid-’60s, before moving over to the crime genre with Hawk (1966).

He then started to feature in a number of low-budget films, starting with Armored Command and Angel Baby in 1961. The rest of that decade proved less successful although his career would soon soar in the 1970s when he earned his first Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Dan August (1970).

After controversially appearing as the first celebrity male-nude centerfold in an issue of Cosmopolitan, he landed the role of macho survivalist Lewis Medlock in the grim survival drama Deliverance (1972). The film, famed for its horrific “Squeal Like a Pig” sequence, received strong acclaim and went on to land a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.

A couple of years later, Reynolds then played convict Paul Crewe in the hit sports comedy The Longest Yard (named The Mean Machine in the U.K). He then followed that up with appearances in Silent Movie (1976), Gator (1976) and Nickelodeon (1976) before achieving further success with his role as Bo “Bandit” Darville in the action-comedy Smokey and the Bandit (1977). The film proved a box-office smash and went on to spawn two sequels in 1980 and 1983.

He then ended the decade with roles in Semi-Tough (1977), Hooper (1978) and Starting Over (1979) before continuing to make an impact in the 1980s.

He remained popular with audiences particularly through his performances in Rough Cut (1980), The Cannonball Run (1981), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), Best Friends (1982) and The Man Who Loved Women (1983) although his career would soon begin to falter.

As a well as appearing in a string of flops, Reynolds also turned down lucrative roles in the Oscar-winning drama Terms of Endearment (1983) and the hit blockbuster Die Hard (1988), decisions he later regreted.

The 90s brought him some success as he won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for his portrayal of retired American Football player Wood Newton in the CBS sitcom Evening Shade (1990-94).

After appearing in underwhelming films like Striptease (1996) and Bean (1997), Reynolds received critical praise for his performance as porn director Jack Horner in the acclaimed sex industry drama Boogie Nights (1997). Reynolds would land another Golden Globe for his role though firing his agent over the casting would result in him losing out on the Best Supporting Actor Oscar to Robin Williams (for Good Will Hunting).

His later years would see him appear in new adaptations of The Longest Yard (2005) and The Dukes of Hazzard (2005) as well as providing his voice in various animated films and series including All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989), King of the Hill (1997), American Dad (2011) and Archer (2012).

He had been attached to star in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Manson Family drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood but his death now means a potential recast.

Reynolds is survived by his adoptive son.

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