This is devastating news for anyone who ever had a thing for dark-and-handsome 1970’s hunks with thick mustaches and even thicker chest hair. UsWeekly is reporting that Burt Reynolds has died at the age of 82 after going into cardiac arrest at a hospital in Florida. His family was by his side at the time of his passing.
Burt Reynolds was born in Michigan, but moved to Florida with his family when he was 10. He attended college in Florida on a football scholarship, but turned to drama after a knee injury killed his pro football dreams. After college he got into theater and eventually moved to New York, and it wasn’t long before he was getting cast in TV shows in Hollywood. In 1972 he was cast in Deliverance and appeared naked on a bearskin rug in Cosmopolitan (more on that in a second), and he instantly became a massive star. Throughout the 70’s and into the 80’s, Burt appeared in some of his biggest films like The Longest Yard, Semi-Tough, Starting Over, Smokey and the Bandit, The Cannonball Run, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
He was also big in the tabloids too. You’re either the type of person who remembers the words “BURT AND LONI” on the cover of dozens of your aunt’s grocery store weeklies, or you’re not. Burt was married to actress Judy Carne for two years in the 60’s and dated Sally Field for about five years during the Smokey era. But his marriage to Loni Anderson from 1988 to 1993 will be forever burned into some people’s minds (although Loni herself probably wishes she could permanently erase those years from her memories).
Burt was Hollywood’s top-grossing star from the years between 1978 and 1982, but his career got a little quieter in the 80’s and 90’s (although I will forever argue that appearing in Striptease is a career high point). In 1997, Paul Thomas Anderson cast him in Boogie Nights, which earned Burt his second Golden Globe award (first was for Evening Shade), and a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 1998 Academy Awards. His latest role was in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Sources tell TMZ that he was supposed to play the owner of the ranch where the Manson Family lived and be on set for two days of filming, but that he hadn’t started shooting yet.
Burt is survived by his son Quinton Reynolds.
Depending on your age, you probably have at least one moment of Burt nostalgia stored in your head. For me, it’s the voice of Charlie in All Dogs Go to Heaven, a movie I watched until the tape gave up and died inside the VCR. For others it might be Smokey and the Bandit, or the voice of the cube from Out of this World. But in all likelihood, you probably heard of Burt’s death and immediately thought of that iconic Cosmo centerfold.
Burt Reynolds was the subject of the first sex-positive attempt to do “porn… for women!” as the centerfold of Cosmo, and, well.
RIP, Burt and/or the age in which sensuality was conveyed by a man with approximately 25 pounds of body hair pic.twitter.com/HSXIa1LLQw
— Sady Doyle (@sadydoyle) September 6, 2018
A true hairy legend can make a grizzly bear rug think to itself “Where do I end and he begins?” Rest in peace on the rug of your choice, Burt.
Pic: Universal Pictures