Actor Burt Reynolds, superstar of 1970s cinema, dies at 82

SHARE Actor Burt Reynolds, superstar of 1970s cinema, dies at 82

Sally Field and Burt Reynolds in “Smokey and the Bandit.” | File Photo

Actor Burt Reynolds, the star of several of the biggest movies in the 1970s and later an Oscar nominee for “Boogie Nights,” has died at age 82.

A source tells Us Weekly the actor went into cardiac arrest at a hospital in Florida on Thursday. His family was by his side.

After a successful run on television, Reynolds broke out on the big screen with his role in “Deliverance” (1972). He became the biggest box-office draw of the 1970s after playing an imprisoned football star in “The Longest Yard” (1974) and a lead-footed truck driver in “Smokey and the Bandit” (1977).

Later successes included the 1990-94 CBS sitcom “Evening Shade,” in which he played a Pittsburgh Steelers alum coaching a high school team in Arkansas. His role as a porn filmmaker in the acclaimed “Boogie Nights” (1997) earned the actor his lone Academy Award nomination.

ROEPER: Burt Reynolds: A great actor who loved being a movie star

“It’s a tough business. Very tough,” Reynolds told USA Today in March. “But I always tried to leave a good impression wherever we shot, and I didn’t leave any buildings burning or anything. And I’ve had a good time through it all.”

Along the way, Reynolds’ up-and-down love life made him a fixture of the gossip columns. His first wife, from 1963-65, was comedian Judy Carne. He dated his “Smokey” co-star, Sally Field, off and on throughout the ’70s and ’80s and often described her as the love of his life. From 1988 to 1993, he was married to “WKRP in Cincinnati” actress Loni Anderson, a union Reynolds later called “a really dumb move.”

In another offscreen move that drew headlines, Reynolds posed nude for a Cosmopolitan centerfold photo in 1972.

“If I had to do it today, it would be a foldout for Popular Mechanics. I’ve had so many operations, and scars all over the place,” he told the Sun-Times in 2011. “It was just so silly. Never thought anyone would make such a big deal out of it, otherwise I would never have done it.”

At the time of the magazine’s release, Reynolds was appearing in the play “The Rainmaker” at a theater in the Chicago area.

“The show was sold out but there were lines for blocks, just people waiting to see this idiot get out of his car and walk into the theater [because of that photo]. It feels like it was centuries ago. Who cares? It was really nothing.”

Contributing: Miriam Di Nunzio

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