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About Burton Milo "Burt" Reynolds, Jr.
Burton Milo "Burt" Reynolds, Jr. (born February 11, 1936) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, director, voice artist, and comedian. Some of his memorable roles include Bo 'Bandit' Darville in Smokey and the Bandit, Lewis Medlock in Deliverance, Bobby "Gator" McCluskey in White Lightning and sequel Gator, Paul Crewe and Coach Nate Scarborough in The Longest Yard and its 2005 remake respectively, Billy Clyde Puckett in Semi-Tough, J.J. McClure in The Cannonball Run, the voice of Charlie B. Barkin in All Dogs Go to Heaven, and Jack Horner in Boogie Nights.
Reynolds' parents were Burton Milo Reynolds, Sr. (1906 - 2002), who had Cherokee and Irish ancestry, and his wife, Fern H. (née Miller). Reynolds was born in Waycross, Georgia. He states in his autobiography that his family was living in Lansing, Michigan, when his father was drafted into the United States Army. Reynolds, his mother and his sister joined his father at Fort Leonard Wood, where they lived for two years. When Reynolds's father was sent to Europe, the family returned to Lansing. In 1946, Reynolds moved to Jupiter, Florida, with his parents. His father, Burt Sr., later became Chief of Police of Riviera Beach. Riviera Beach is the next town north of West Palm Beach.
In his sophomore year at Palm Beach High School, Reynolds was named First Team All State and All Southern as a fullback, and received multiple scholarship offers. After graduating from Palm Beach High School in West Palm Beach, Florida, Reynolds attended Florida State University on a college football scholarship, and played halfback. While at Florida State, Reynolds became roommates with now notable college football broadcaster and analyst, Lee Corso. Reynolds hoped to be named to All-America teams and to have a career in professional football, however, in the first game of the season, Reynolds was injured and a car accident later that year worsened the injury. With his college football career ended, Reynolds considered becoming a police officer, but his father suggested that he finish college and become a parole officer. In order to keep up with his studies, he began taking classes at Palm Beach Junior College (PBJC) in neighboring Lake Worth. In his first term at PBJC Reynolds was in a class taught by Watson B. Duncan III. Duncan pushed Reynolds into trying out for a play he was producing, Outward Bound. He cast Reynolds in the lead, based on his impressions from listening to Reynolds read Shakespeare in class. Reynolds won the 1956 Florida State Drama Award for his performance in Outward Bound. Reynolds calls Duncan his mentor and the most influential person in his life. While at Florida State, Reynolds became a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
The Florida State Drama Award included a scholarship to the Hyde Park Playhouse, a summer stock theater, in Hyde Park, New York. Reynolds saw the opportunity as an agreeable alternative to more physically demanding summer jobs, but did not yet see acting as a career. While working at Hyde Park, Reynolds met Joanne Woodward, who helped Reynolds find an agent, and be cast in Tea and Sympathy at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Reynolds received favorable reviews for his performance in Tea and Sympathy. Reynolds then went on tour with Tea and Sympathy, driving the bus as well as appearing on stage.
After the tour Reynolds returned to New York and enrolled in acting classes. His classmates included Frank Gifford, Carol Lawrence, Red Buttons and Jan Murray. After a botched improvisation in acting class, Reynolds briefly considered returning to Florida, but he soon got a part in a revival of Mister Roberts, with Charlton Heston as the star. After the play closed, the director, John Forsythe, arranged a movie audition with Josh Logan for Reynolds. The movie was Sayonara, and Reynolds was told he couldn't be in the movie because he looked too much like Marlon Brando. Logan advised Reynolds to go to Hollywood, but Reynolds did not feel confident enough to do so.
Reynolds worked odd jobs while waiting for acting opportunities. He waited tables, washed dishes, drove a delivery truck and worked as a bouncer at the Roseland Ballroom. It was while working as a dockworker that Reynolds was offered $150 to jump through a glass window on a live television show.
He made his Broadway debut in Look, We've Come Through. Reynolds first starred on television with Darren McGavin in the 1959-1961 NBC series, Riverboat. On June 11, 1959, he appeared as Tony Sapio with Ruta Lee as Gloria Fallon in the episode entitled "The Payoff" of NBC's 1920s crime drama, The Lawless Years. In 1960-1961, he appeared in two episodes of the syndicated series The Blue Angels, about elite fliers of the United States Navy. That same season, he guest starred in the syndicated crime drama, The Brothers Brannagan in the episode "Bordertown". Reynolds went on to appear in a number of other shows, including a role as blacksmith/ de facto deputy, and half-Native American Quint Asper on CBS's Gunsmoke from 1962–1965. In 1962 Reynolds secured a guest appearance on Perry Mason in "The Case of the Counterfeit Crank". In 1963 he played a character named Rocky in The Twilight Zone episode 155 "The Bard," in which he amusingly lampooned his then-lookalike Marlon Brando. In 1965 he guest-starred as Technical Sergeant Chapman, a Flight Engineer in the second season episode 7, "Show Me A Hero" of 12 O-Clock High (TV series).
His film debut was in 1961, in the movie Angel Baby. At the urging of friend Clint Eastwood, Reynolds used his TV fame to secure leading roles in overseas low budget films, commonly called "Spaghetti Westerns". (Eastwood advised Reynolds from experience, as he had done the same). Reynolds first Spaghetti Western, Navajo Joe, came out in 1966. These low budget starring roles established Reynolds as a bankable leading man in movies, and earned him starring roles in American big-budget motion pictures. During this period, he starred in two short-lived cop shows: Hawk and Dan August. He disparaged these shows, telling Johnny Carson that Dan August had "two forms of expression: "mean and meaner." His breakout performance in Deliverance in 1972 made him a star. The same year, Reynolds gained notoriety when he posed naked in the April (Vol. 172, No. 4) issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Reynolds claims he was offered the role of James Bond by producer Albert R. Broccoli, after Sean Connery left the franchise. Reynolds turned the role down, saying "An American can't play James Bond. It just can't be done." In 1973, he released the album Ask Me What I Am. He would also sing with Dolly Parton in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
Reynolds appeared on ABC's The American Sportsman hosted by outdoors journalist Grits Gresham, who took celebrities on hunting, fishing, and shooting trips around the world.
On March 15, 1978, Reynolds earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in the same year built a dinner theatre in Jupiter, Florida. His celebrity was such that he drew not only big-name stars to appear in productions but sell-out audiences as well. He sold the venue in the early 1990s, but a museum highlighting his career still operates nearby.
In the 1980s, after Smokey and the Bandit and its sequels, he became typecast in similar, less well-done and less successful movies. He had his hand at producing two television shows with friend Bert Convy. One in 1987 was called Win, Lose or Draw. He appeared as a celebrity gameplayer in the inaugural week of the show along with Justine Bateman, Debbie Reynolds and Loretta Swit. The set of Win, Lose or Draw was modeled after Reynolds' living room. Another show Burt and Bert produced was titled 3rd Degree, and like on Win, Lose, or Draw, Burt appeared on a few episodes as a panelist. That show aired from 1989-90.
In 1989 he starred on the short lived detective drama B.L. Stryker, one of the rotating elements of the ABC Mystery Movie.
During the first half of the 1990s, he was the star of the CBS television series Evening Shade, for which he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1991).
Despite much success, Reynolds's finances were bad, due in part to an extravagant lifestyle, a messy divorce from Loni Anderson (see below), and failed investments in some Florida restaurant chains; consequently, in 1996, Reynolds filed for bankruptcy. The filing was under Chapter 11, from which Reynolds emerged two years later.
Reynolds started a comeback with the movie Striptease in 1996 where his over-the-top performance as a sex-obsessed congressman was both generally panned by critics and a box office failure. Reynolds's role in Striptease was inspired by politicians he met through his father, who was a police chief. His comeback was sealed with the critically acclaimed Boogie Nights, in 1997, which put his career back on track. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Boogie Nights and won a Golden Globe Award for the movie. He was considered a front-runner for the Supporting Oscar, but ultimately lost to Robin Williams, who won it for his role in Good Will Hunting.
In early 2000, he created and toured Burt Reynolds's One-Man Show. In 2002, he lent his voice to the character Avery Carrington in the controversial video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.("Vice City Tourist Guide" p. 23)
In 2005, he co-starred in a remake of The Longest Yard, with Adam Sandler playing the role of Paul Crewe, the role Reynolds had played in the 1974 original. This time around, Reynolds took on the role of Nate Scarborough. The irony in Reynolds's participation in the remake was that his role in the 1974 original garnered him a Golden Globe nomination "Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy", while his role in the remake saw him receive a Razzie Award nomination for "Worst Supporting Actor". He also appeared in a movie version of the popular 1980s TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, as Boss Hogg.
He starred in the audio book version of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. In May 2006, Reynolds began appearing in Miller Lite beer commercials. In 2007 at the World Stuntman Awards he was awarded the Taurus Lifetime Achievement Award. While presenting him with the award Arnold Schwarzenegger referred to him as the greatest of the great.
In July 2010, he guest starred as an ex-CIA agent being hunted down by a Russian wet ops team who wanted to kidnap, interrogate, then kill him, on USA's Burn Notice. Part of this role denoted absent-mindedness which was noted in the closing scene as "not only being when he drank" implying his character suffered from some form of memory disability or disease.
In January 2012 Reynolds had a guest starring role as himself in an episode of the animated FX TV show Archer. The episode titled "The Man from Jupiter" features Reynolds help Archer (who idolizes him) take on a team of Cuban hitmen.
He also appears as himself in Saints Row: The Third as the mayor of Steelport.
Reynolds was tagged with the nickname "Turd Ferguson" on the Celebrity Jeopardy! skits of Saturday Night Live.
At various points in his life, Reynolds was romantically involved with Tammy Wynette, Lucie Arnaz, Adrienne Barbeau, Susan Clark, Sally Field, Lorna Luft, Tawny Little, Pam Seals, Dinah Shore and Chris Evert. His relationship with Shore garnered particular attention given the fact she was 20 years his senior. Reynolds was married to actress/comedienne Judy Carne from 1963 to 1965, and actress Loni Anderson from 1988 to 1993, with whom he adopted a son, Quinton Anderson Reynolds (born August 31, 1988). E! Online reported that he dated Kate Edelman Johnson from 2003 to 2005.
For about a year in the late 1970s Burt opened "Burt's Place" a restaurant/nightclub in the Omni International Hotel in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
Sports team owner
In 1982, Reynolds became a co-owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits, a professional American football team in the USFL whose nickname was inspired by his then-recent Smokey and the Bandit movies. Reynolds also co-owned a NASCAR Winston Cup team with Hal Needham, which ran the #33 Skoal Bandits car, with driver Harry Gant.
As of August 16, 2011, Merrill Lynch Credit Corporation filed foreclosure papers in Martin County claiming Reynolds owes $1.2 million on his Hobe Sound, Florida home.
Reynolds has admitted that Wrigley's Double-mint Gum is his favorite brand of chewing gum and would often request for it on set.
Awards and achievements