“The Bandit” has ridden off into the sunset. Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds has passed away.
Reynolds passed away this morning in Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, according to a statement from his manager. Reynolds was already getting his name out there with hits like Deliverance and The Longest Yard when he starred in one of the great action comedies in the 70’s, Smokey and the Bandit.
Burton Leon Reynolds Jr. was born on February 11, 1936 in Lansing, Michigan. At the age of ten, the family moved to Florida, where his father, a former military officer, became police chief. Reynolds played high school football and attended Florida State University, where he played halfback. After injuring both of his knees, Reynolds decided no more football but focused more on his studies and decided to give drama a chance when he attended Palm Beach Junior College.
During the late 50’s and early 60’sd, Reynolds began a career in television. He would gain his breakout role of “halfbreed” blacksmith Quint Asper in Gunsmoke. The role, along with his reputation for being a TV actor led him to play the titular Navajo Joe in the 1966 spaghetti western.
The 70’s would be the decade where Reynolds would become at some of his most successful. From the 1972 survival thriller Deliverance to the 1974 football classic The Longest Yard, it would be Smokey and the Bandit that would make him a household name in the titular role of Bo “Bandit” Darville. It would also mark a successful collaboration with stuntman turned filmmaker Hal Needham as the two would go on to hit films such as The Cannonball Run and its sequel along with Smokey and the Bandit II.
Reynolds continued success, even earning an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of adult film producer Jack Horner in Boogie Nights in 1997 and has continued to work in mainly indie films.
Reynolds is survived by his adopted son Quinton. Reynolds will forever be a legend in Hollywood and World Film Geek sends its deepest condolences to the family of Burt Reynolds.
As a final tribute, here is the famous “truckers vs. cops” scene from Smokey in the Bandit II with Reynolds unleashing some of his wit and having fun.
Rest in Peace, Burt Reynolds…the Bandit will forever live on.