Burt Reynolds, Always the Coolest Guy in the Room, Has Died at Age 82
Burt Reynolds—the highest grossing actor for most of the late '70s and star of Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, and Boogie Nights—has died at the age 82, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The actor died of a heart attack on Thursday morning at a hospital in Florida, TMZ is reporting. Reynolds had undergone heart surgery back in 2010.
After rising to fame on Gunsmoke and Dan August, Reynolds had his breakout role as Lewis Medlock in the 1972 Academy Award-nominated film Deliverance. That same year, he posed for the now-iconic nude centerfold in Cosmopolitan.
As he told Esquire in 2005, "The best direction I ever got was on Deliverance," Reynolds said. "When John Boorman said, 'Stop acting. Just behave. We’ll wait for you, because we can’t take our eyes off you.' I didn’t know he said the same thing to Jon Voight and Ned Beatty."
From 1978 to 1982, Reynolds was the biggest actor in Hollywood, with the longest stretch as the highest grossing star in the business since Bing Crosby in the 1940s.
He received an Oscar nomination (and won a Golden Globe) for his portrayal of porn director Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson's 1997 Boogie Nights.
Reynolds approached his career with a smirk—often joking about the roles he missed and his place within the industry, telling Esquire in that 2005 interview: "I was number one five years in a row at the box office. But what’s really stunning is that no one until me had ever gone from number one to number thirty-eight in one year."
One of the greatest Hollywood leading men of the second-half of the 20th century, Reynolds almost starred in some of the biggest films of the last three decades—including Star Wars (as Han Solo), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (as R.P. McMurphy), Terms of Endearment (as Garrett Breedlove), and Die Hard (as John McClane). But the roles he took made him a Hollywood icon.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.