Born in 1936 in Lansing, Michigan, Burt Reynolds lived a full life.
Early on he had a stint in the US Army, later became a police chief, and was a star athlete.
He began his Hollywood career in the 1960’s starring in various television westerns.
Rumor has it, in 1968 he auditioned for Rosemary’s Baby, but director Roman Polanski chose John Cassavetes for the part.
Reynolds broke into the mainstream as one of the most well-known actors of the 1970’s.
Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda and James Stewart passed on Lewis Medlock’s role in Deliverance (1972). Reynolds never would have had the chance to play him. The other actors declined the part after they heard about the risks of the Chattooga River.
In 1977, the film Smokey and the Bandit made Burt Reynolds an international movie star. That same year, Burt was offered the role of Han Solo in the original Star Wars motion picture. He passed on it.
In 1983, he turned down an opportunity to be a part of the movie Terms of Endearment and the role went to Jack Nicholson. It earned Nicholson an Oscar. Reynolds claimed that was one of his biggest career mistakes.
Can you imagine what Die Hard (1988) would have been like with Burt Reynolds? It almost happened, but he declined the part which went to Bruce Willis.
Between 1978 and 1992, Burt Reynolds was the number one top money-making star at the box office, according to Quigley Publications.
Fun fact – Can you believe Reynolds once paid over $12,000 for a custom hairpiece?
Ultimately in 2010, Reynolds underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery. Eight years later, on September 6, 2018, he died from a heart attack at 82.
Reynolds was quoted saying [on the 1970s] “It was an astounding kind of time and I’ve often said to people, “If I met you between ’73 and ’78, I’m sorry, I don’t remember three or four of those years. You’re on such a fast track and you’re up in such heady air you can’t breathe, how the hell are you gonna smell the flowers if you can’t breathe anyway? That’s why it’s wonderful to happen now, when you don’t expect it and if you live through it and come out the other side, you are so much more appreciative. I think, not to sound too serious as you get older, I think you’re a better person for it.”