The words “living legend” are thrown around a lot these days, but we say Burt Reynolds definitely qualifies for that description.
Reynolds’ career has spanned 6 decades and he’s still working to this day. By the time he starred in his most famous role, one of the city slickers from Deliverance, he had already been a working actor for 10 years.
After that he still had roles in films like Smokey and the Bandit, The Longest Yard and Boogie Nights to look forward to. If you’ve loved any of those films, you’ll be interested in these 10 interesting facts about this classic leading man.
1. He owned his own nightclub
Burt’s Place was only open for a year, but it made a big impact. How could it not, with Burt’s image drawn into the dance floor.
2. He’s still suffering from a failed stunt
While filming City Heat, Reynolds was hit in the face with a steel chair. Because of his injured jaw, he lost almost 40 pounds from not being able to eat solid food, and briefly got hooked on pain killers. He’s clean now, but still living with pain from the botched stunt.
3. He made a movie just to spite Clint Eastwood
When Eastwood starred in Any Which Way but Loose, Reynolds thought it was too close to Smokey and the Bandit. He threatened to make “Dirty Harry in Atlanta” to get back at Eastwood, and he kept his promise when he starred in Sharky’s Machine.
4. He turned down some big roles
In the 70s Reynolds was offered a string of huge roles that he turned down. He passed on playing Han Solo, the lead in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and early versions of Pretty Woman and Die Hard. He was even offered the chance to play James Bond when Sean Connery left the role.
5. He’s embarrassed by his most famous photo shoot
Reynolds thought his iconic pictorial in Cosmo would be a lot of fun, and fans clearly agreed because all 1.6 million copies sold out. But when his cast members in Deliverance didn’t win the Oscars they were nominated for, Reynolds blamed it on the publicity surrounding his photo.
6. He lost a role because he looked too much like Marlon Brando
When he auditioned for a role in the Hollywood drama Sayonara, Reynolds was told he looked too much like the film’s lead, Marlon Brando, so he lost the part.
7. He got in a pie fight on live TV
Skip to 4:30 in the video above to see the climactic pie fight, but you’ll miss all the awkward interactions between Burt and game show host Marc Summers. Summers joked about Reynolds divorce with Loni Anderson and things got bad fast.
8. Win Lose or Draw’s set was based on his home
Ever wondered what Burt Reynold’s living room looks like? Well now you know. The star produced this game show, and his home was the model for the set’s design.
9. He made a country album
He may have played tough guys on-screen, but Reynolds had a sensitive side as well. He channeled it on Ask Me What I Am, his country album from 1973.
10. He worked with a very famous businessman
Reynolds and President Trump were once co-owners of the Tampa Bay Bandits, a minor-league football team. Not only was the team named after Reynold’s most famous role, the mascot was also named Smokey!