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Burt Reynolds Has Passed Away Aged 82

Rest in peace

Burt Reynolds Has Passed Away Aged 82

Burt Reynolds, whose good looks and charm made him one of Hollywood's most popular actors as he starred in films such as Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit in the 1970s and '80s, has died aged 82.

Reynolds died on Thursday morning at the Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, his manager, Erik Kritzer, said in an email.

"It is with a broken heart that I said goodbye to my uncle today," Reynolds' niece Nancy Lee Hess said in a statement sent to Reuters by Kritzer.

"My uncle was not just a movie icon; he was a generous, passionate and sensitive man, who was dedicated to his family, friends, fans and acting students," she added.

At the peak of his career, Reynolds was one of the most bankable actors in the film industry, reeling off a series of box office smashes until a career downturn in the mid-1980s.

He rebounded in 1997 with a nomination for a best supporting actor Academy Award for Boogie Nights, and won an Emmy for his role in the 1990-1994 TV series Evening Shade.

With his trademark moustache, rugged looks and macho aura, Reynolds was a leading male sex symbol of the 1970s. He appeared naked - reclining on a bearskin rug with his arm strategically positioned for the sake of modesty - in a centrefold in the women's magazine Cosmopolitan in 1972.

Reynolds' personal life sometimes overshadowed his movies, including marriages that ended in divorce to actresses Loni Anderson and Judy Carne and romances with Sally Field and Dinah Shore, among others. His financial woes and his struggles with prescription pain medication also generated attention.

Reynolds cited director John Boorman's Oscar-nominated 1972 Deliverance as his best film and said he regretted that the hoopla from his Cosmopolitan appearance detracted from the movie that made him a star. He played tough-guy Lewis Medlock - opposite Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox - in the chilling tale of a canoe trip gone bad in rural Georgia.

He starred in dozens of films, also including White Lightning (1973), W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975), Hustle (1975), Nickelodeon (1976) and Semi-Tough (1977). He was the top money-making star at the box office in an annual poll of movie exhibitors 1978 through 1982.

Many of Reynolds' films were set in the South. He often played a lovable rascal who outwits local authorities, as in director Hal Needham's 1977 crowd-pleasing action comedy Smokey and the Bandit, co-starring his girlfriend Field and Jackie Gleason, and its two sequels.

Reynolds also directed several movies in which he starred, including Gator (1976), The End (1978), Sharky's Machine (1981) and Stick (1985).

Reynolds turned down notable roles including Han Solo in Star Wars, which went to Harrison Ford; the title role in a James Bond film; and the astronaut in Terms of Endearment that Jack Nicholson turned into an Oscar-winning performance.

His niece said that although he had had health issues in the past, his death was unexpected.

"My uncle was looking forward to working with Quentin Tarantino, and the amazing cast that was assembled," she said.

He was expected to be in Tarantino's 2019 movie "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood", according to movie and television information website IMDb.

Asked to come up with his own epitaph, Reynolds said, "He lived a hell of a life, and did his best - his very best - not to hurt anybody."

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