Burton Leon “Burt” Reynolds (February 11, 1936 – September 6, 2018) was an American actor and director. He attended Palm Beach High School (in West Palm Beach, FL), where he was First Team All State and All Southern in football.
Reynolds was offered several different athletic scholarships and went on to attend Florida State University. However, an injury ended his football career. While taking a class at Palm Beach Junior College, he was encouraged to try out for a play. Reynolds was cast in the leading role and ended up receiving the Florida State Drama Award in 1956. After a move to New York, he enrolled in acting classes and continued to act on stage.
Reynolds went on to have a highly successful career as a movie and television actor. Early work included a role in Gunsmoke (1962 – 1965) and Deliverance (1972). He is perhaps best known for his starring roles in The Longest Yard (1974), Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and its 1980 sequel, The Cannonball Run (1981), and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982). He also starred in the sitcom Evening Shade (1990 – 1994) and had a critically-acclaimed role in Boogie Nights (1997). Reynolds’ later work included guest appearances in The X-Files (2002), The King of Queens (2005), Burn Notice (2010), and Archer (2012). He continued to act until his death, including the lead role in 2017’s The Last Movie Star.
Awards (partial list):
- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Evening Shade. 1991
- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy for Evening Shade. 1991
- Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for Boogie Nights. 1997