Of all the Hollywood stars that have come and gone across the years, very few – if any – match up to the unique charisma of Burt Reynolds, whose prolific career spans several decades in a variety of iconic roles and movies. Reynolds has this week sadly passed away following a heart attack at the age of 82, according to his agent. Reynolds’ passing leaves behind an extensive legacy of character acting and undeniable on-screen charm which will, even in many years to come, be very sorely missed. It’s likely that most people reading this will have seen – or will have heard of – at least one of his movies. Now, of course, is a fantastic time to revisit them in his memory – and it’s likely many network TV channels and maybe even streaming services will roll out a few classics from his back catalogue.
Reynolds eclipsed all around him whenever he was on screen – he had an undeniable swagger and charm which stayed with him up until his later years, and as such, his was a face and a style you could hardly forget. Perhaps recognizable most of all for his iconic moustache, Reynolds’ look often came packaged with his brand of acting. He drifted between roles as swarthy tough guys to more comedic turns – all the while cementing his status as a sex symbol from the 1970s onwards, never truly drifting away from the public’s consciousness.
Reynolds was only ever nominated for one Oscar in his lifetime, for his part in Boogie Nights in 1998 – though he may have disliked the movie openly – and to many, he was perhaps best known for his roles in Cannonball Run, Smokey and The Bandit and Deliverance. In the latter, the star stunned audiences in controversial scenes where he was subjected to on-screen rape – a shocking moment which Reynolds regarded as one of cinema’s most important.
Reynolds’ career in recent years had been a little more muted following reported problems with private ventures – though he had been lined up to star alongside other big names in Quentin Tarantino’s next picture, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, due for release in 2019. Sadly, the star had passed before he had started to shoot his scenes.
Burt Reynolds will be remembered for being a specific kind of screen actor – one who will be greatly missed – and one whose catalogue of fantastic films merits re-discovery.