Burt Reynolds, one of Hollywood’s most iconic leading actors with a career spanning more than five decades, has died aged 82.
The charismatic star of such films as Deliverance, Boogie Nights and Smokey and the Bandit passed away on Thursday at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, his manager Erik Kritzer confirmed on Friday morning (AEST).
His latest movie was to have been Quentin Tarantino’s film about the Charles Manson murders, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
Reynolds, who received an Oscar nomination when he portrayed porn director Jack Horner in 1997’s Boogie Nights, had been battling health issues in recent years and was placed in intensive care in 2013 for treatment of flu symptoms.
In 2010, he was rushed to hospital for what was classified as a “planned bypass operation”, after his arteries were found to be closed during a physical examination.
At the peak of his career, Reynolds was one of the most bankable actors in the film industry, reeling off a series of box office smashes until a career downturn in the mid-1980s.
Hollywood’s top-grossing star from 1978 to 1982 rebounded in 1997 with Boogie Nights and won an Emmy Award for his role in the 1990-1994 TV series Evening Shade.
Reynolds cited director John Boorman’s Oscar-nominated 1972 Deliverance as his best film, playing tough-guy Lewis Medlock – opposite Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox – in the chilling tale of a canoe trip gone bad in rural Georgia.
He starred in dozens of movies, also including White Lightning (1973), The Longest Yard (1974) and the Dixie Dancekings (1975), Hustle (1975), Nickelodeon (1976) and Semi-Tough (1977).
Reynolds reportedly turned down the roles of Han Solo in Star Wars and John McClane in Die Hard, later saying he was more interested in enjoying himself than pushing himself as an actor.
In his 2015 memoir, But Enough About Me, he said: “I didn’t open myself to new writers or risky parts because I wasn’t interested in challenging myself as an actor. I was interested in having a good time.
“As a result, I missed a lot of opportunities to show I could play serious roles. By the time I finally woke up and tried to get it right, nobody would give me a chance.”
Reynolds’ personal life sometimes overshadowed his movies, with marriages that ended in divorce to actresses Loni Anderson and Judy Carne and romances with others, including Sally Field and Dinah Shore.
Reynolds also generated attention for financial woes and his struggles with prescription pain medication.