Burt Reynolds as Sonny Hooper in Hooper, released in July, 1978.
Burt Reynolds on Wikipedia
Burt Reynolds on the Internet Movie Database
Burt Reynolds
Forecourt Ceremony held on Thursday, September 24, 1981
Born: February 11, 1936, in Lansing, Michigan
Age at the time of the ceremony: 45
Died: September 6, 2018, in Jupiter, Florida, age 82
Burt Reynolds is another outstanding lead actor from the 1970s. Brought up through the ranks of television, Reynolds starred in decidedly rural-action films, many of which were quite successful. Always considered a hunk, Reynolds has slid gracefully into old age with fans intact.

Despite his vaguely southern attitude, Reynolds was born in Lansing, Michigan to a military family. When he was ten, the Reynolds family moved to Riviera Beach, Florida, where young Burt excelled in football while in high school. He attended Florida State University in Tallahassee on a football scholarship, hoping to become a professional player, but injuries to his knees and spleen put an end to that dream.

At Palm Beach Junior College, Reynolds met Watson B. Duncan III, who cast him in the lead in a class production of Outward Bound. The experience changed Reynold's life. Winning a scholarship to work in summer stock in New York, Reynolds met Joanne Woodward, who introduced him to a good agent, who got him cast in a production of Tea and Sympathy. He also was on a tour of Mister Roberts.

While auditioning, he was told to go to Hollywood by director Joshua Logan; his first part came on the show Flight aired in syndication in December, 1958. This led to a second lead with Darren McGavin in Riverboat for 20 episodes as Ben Frazer aired over NBC, from September, 1959 to February, 1960. Having had his character written out of the show allowed Reynolds to make his first feature, Angel Baby (released in May, 1961) with George Hamilton, conveniently shot in Florida.

So now, Reynolds had the hunger. He made his Broadway debut in Look, We've Come Through in October, 1961, but it only ran for a week. Back in Hollywood, Reynolds got guest shots on several television shows, including Route 66 aired over CBS, in April, 1962. His first real breakout role came with his playing Quint, a half-breed, on Gunsmoke for 50 episodes aired over CBS from September, 1962 to March, 1965. This led directly to him starring in his own show, called Hawk for 17 episodes aired over ABC, from September, 1966 to December, 1966. It seems that television wasn't quite ready for Reynolds.

So he did some western features, such as 100 Rifles (released in March, 1969), with Jim Brown, Sam Whiskey (released in April, 1969), with Clint Walker, and Skullduggery (released in March, 1970), with Susan Clark.

Reynolds returned to episodic television in the title role of Dan August for 26 episodes, aired over CBS from September, 1971, to April, 1971. Later, these episodes were re-edited and released theatrically as three Dan August features.

Reynolds famously posed in the nude for Cosmopolitan magazine in their April, 1972 issue. Threre was considerable commentary about the photo, which was incorporated into the poster artwork for his next film, Fuzz (released in July, 1972), with Raquel Welch.

Released that very same month, came the first of Reynolds' signature roles, that of Lewis Medlock in Deliverance (released in July, 1972) with Jon Voight and Ned Beatty. After this huge crossover hit, Reynolds, now riding very high, starred with Ned Beatty again as Gator McKluskey in the action picture White Lightning (released in August, 1973). Another hit, it was followed by another signature role in the prison football picture The Longest Yard (released in August, 1974).

Then, disaster: while Reynolds was musical, and had had some success making recordings, but his talents couldn't save At Long Last Love (released in March, 1975), with Cybil Sheperd, which bombed very badly. This was followed by another period musical, Lucky Lady (released in December, 1975), which also underwhelmed.

For the White Lightning sequel, Reynolds asked to direct as well as star. The outcome was Gator (released in August, 1976). He next starred in a film that stuntman Hal Needham had been trying to get off the ground: Smokey and the Bandit (released in May, 1977), with Sally Field. Smokey became a huge summetime hit. Reynolds was doing so well that in March, 1978, he opened the first of the Reynolds Celebrity Dinner Theatres in Jupiter, Florida.

Reteaming with director Needham, Reynolds starred in Hooper (released in July, 1978), with Jan-Michael Vincent, then starred in the rom-com, Starting Over (which played the Chinese in October, 1979), with Jill Clayburgh, followed by Smokey and the Bandit II (released in August, 1980), with Jackie Gleason, and The Cannonball Run (released in June, 1981), for Hal Needham again.

The last spate of Reynolds starring features are: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (released in July, 1982), with Dolly Parton, City Heat (released in December, 1984), with Clint Eastwood, and Heat (released in March, 1987). After these, he took to television in Out of This World for 95 episodes as the voice of Troy Garland, aired over NBC and in syndication, from September, 1987 to May, 1991, and Evening Shade for 98 episodes as Wood Newton, aired over CBS, from September, 1990, to May, 1994. It was during these years that Reynolds sold his small chain of dinner theatres.

Reynolds began playing supporting roles in smaller films, like Citizen Ruth (released in December, 1996), with Laura Dern. But his supporting turn as pornographic film mogul Jack Horner in Boogie Nights (released in October, 1997), with Mark Wahlberg, brought him great acclaim.

After doing the telefilm Miss Lettie and Me aired over TNT in December, 2002, with Mary Tyler Moore, Reynolds began doing cameos — sort of as himself — Without a Paddle (released in August, 2004), with Seth Green, The Longest Yard (released in May, 2005), with Adam Sandler in Reynolds' role, and The Dukes of Hazzard (released in August, 2005), with Seann William Scott.

His autobiography, But Enough About Me, was published in 2014. His most recent success was in The Last Movie Star (released in March, 2017). Reynolds died of heart failure in Jupiter, Florida at the age of 82.
Caption TK
Mann's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Burt Reynolds Forecourt ceremony, Thursday, September 24, 1981. Burt Reynolds is having his hands placed in the cement by an unknown cement artist.
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