Берт Рейнольдс (Reynolds, Burt)
Burton Leon Reynolds Jr.
5' 10" (1.78 m)
Enduring, strong-featured and genial star of US cinema who started off in TV westerns in the 1960s and then carved his name into 1970/1980s popular culture as a male sex symbol (posing near naked for "Cosmopolitan" magazine) and on-screen as both a rugged action figure and then as a wise cracking, Southern type "good ole' boy".
Handsome Reynolds originally hailed from Lansing, Michigan before moving to Florida where he excelled as an accomplished athlete who played with Florida State University, became an All Star Southern Conference half back (and was earmarked by the Baltimore Colts) before a knee injury and a car accident ended his football career. Midway through college, he dropped out and headed to New York with aspirations of becoming an actor where he worked in restaurants and clubs whilst pulling the odd TV spot or theatre role.
He was spotted in an NYC production of "Mister Roberts" and signed to a TV contract and appeared in TV shows including "Gunsmoke" (1955), "Riverboat" (1959) & "Hawk" (1966).
Reynolds continued to appear in non-demanding western roles, often playing an Indian half breed in films such as Navajo Joe (1966), 100 Rifles (1969) and Sam Whiskey (1969). However, it was his tough guy performance as macho "Lewis Medlock" in the John Boorman backwoods nightmare Deliverance (1972), that really stamped him as a bonafide star.
His popularity continued to climb higher with his appearance as a no-nonsense private investigator in Shamus (1973) and in the Woody Allen comedy Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972). Building further on his image as a Southern boy who out smarts the local lawmen, Reynolds packed fans into theatres to see him star in White Lightning (1973), The Longest Yard (1974), W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975) and Gator (1976).
At this time, ex-stuntman and longtime Reynolds buddy, Hal Needham came to Burt with a "road film" script that they shot as the incredibly popular Smokey and the Bandit (1977) with Sally Field & Jerry Reed, which took over $100 million at the box office. The success of the first film was followed up with Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) and Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983). Reynolds also appeared alongside Kris Kristofferson in the hit football film Semi-Tough (1977), with friend Dom DeLuise in the black comedy _End, The (1978), in the stunt laden buddy film Hooper (1978) and then in the self-indulgent, star-packed road race flick The Cannonball Run (1981).
The early 1980s started off well with a strong performance in the violent cop film Sharky's Machine (1981), which he also directed, plus starring with Dolly Parton in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) and with fellow macho superstar Clint Eastwood in the coolly received City Heat (1984). However, other film projects such as Stroker Ace (1983), Stick (1985) and Paternity (1981) failed to fire with fans and he quickly found himself falling out of popularity with movie audiences. In the late 1980s he appeared in only a handful of below average films, before his old friend television came to the rescue and Burt shone again in two very popular TV shows, "B.L. Stryker" (1989) and "Evening Shade" (1990), for which he won an Emmy.