Burt Reynolds (1936-2018)

Burt Reynolds and John Williams in a scene from the Twilight Zone episode “The Bard”.

By Steve Green: Burt Reynolds (1936-2018): US actor, died September 6, aged 82. Genre appearances include The Twilight Zone (one episode, 1963, “The Bard”), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972), Frankenstein and Me (1996), Universal Soldier II, Universal Soldier III (both 1998), The X-Files (one episode, 2002, as God).

Reynolds appeared in more than 90 feature films – most notably, Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit – and 300 television episodes (Darren McGavin’s sidekick in Riverboat, 50 episodes as Gunsmoke’s blacksmith, and the lead in Evening Shade).

The Hollywood Reporter’s obit also reveals this bit of showbiz lore, that he rejected a role that would have changed science fiction history:

Reynolds’ career also is marked by the movies he didn’t make. Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson and Bruce Willis surely were grateful after he turned down the roles of Han Solo, retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove and cop John McClane in Star Wars, Terms of Endearment and Die Hard, respectively

15 thoughts on “Burt Reynolds (1936-2018)

  1. He was always entertaining, and sometimes rose to greatness.

    I think I’d have preferred “Terms of Endearment” with him.

  2. I take some comfort in knowing that Burt and Jerry Reed are now reunited in Heaven, with Jackie Gleason presumably in hot pursuit.

    If Dom DeLuise takes the wheel as Captain Chaos, all hell is likely to break loose.

  3. Maybe it’s just my poor memory, but I don’t recall there being anything genre about the Woody Allen movie.

  4. The final scene of Everything You Always Wanted to Know… (which included Reynolds as well as Tony Randall) can safely be considered “genre,” I think; the set design for that scene had a lot in common with some of the designs for Sleeper the following year (the same person, Dale Hennesy, did production design for both).

  5. @Lee: I have a distinct recollection that the first section is driven by Allen’s father’s ghost telling Allen that the ghost will only know peace if Allen has the queen; Wikipedia is not this specific but says the segment has many references to Hamlet. W also notes that the mad scientist segment “culminates with a scene in which the countryside is terrorized by a giant runaway breast created by the researcher.” Considering what we had for genre at the time, I’d say that qualifies — although Reynolds isn’t in either of the genre segments. Whether his segment, on the mechanics of orgasm, is genre or just b*****k crazy is someone else’s argument.

  6. @Chip Hitchcock: “Whether his segment, on the mechanics of orgasm, is genre or just b*****k crazy is someone else’s argument.”

    The part with all the sperm waiting like paratroopers to make that intuitive leap, right? I can’t decide if it’s bat or bug, but it sure is one of them. Definitely genre. After all, it was contemporaneous with Fantastic Journey, to which I might favorably compare it. Or not.

  7. John A. Arkansawyer: …Definitely genre. After all, it was contemporaneous with Fantastic Journey, to which I might favorably compare it. Or not.

    Fantastic Voyage if you’re comparing it to the Raquel Welch movie — I think Fantastic Journey was the Roddenberry TV show. (And The Incredible Journey was about the dogs who found their own way home to their owners….)

  8. @Lenore Jones: Two dogs and a cat. I think the cat was fubjrq hc nsgre gur bgure gjb, whfg nf gur snzvyl jnf tvivat hc ubcr. Or was that the older dog?

    @Mike Glyer: How embarrassing! And I watched that as a child on ABC’s Saturday (Friday? I think Saturday) Night Movie, too. (Or was it NBC? Our NBC affiliate skipped the Saturday night movies a lot, which is why I watched bits of The Andromeda Strain from Tulsa through static.)

    I turned around and started down to appertain you a beverage; and the thought struck me, and made me terribly sad, so that I filed and scrolled just from reflex; it was probably just as well to leave it there till morning, because there was nothing in the drink cabinet that wasn’t yours anyway.

  9. After Burt Reynolds got a bit of attention for his good acting skills, he then shied away from those kinds of films. Hard to say what would have happened if he’d been in STAR WARS.

  10. “Smokey and the bandit” was my family’s documentary – My daddy was Smokey and my brother is Bear – see my name.

    Jerry Reed wrote two songs “about” me :^)
    Eastbound and Down
    Amos Moses

    (I have convinced little kids an alligator bit my hand off.)

    I love his work, including Boogie Nights.

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