Burt Reynolds, the charismatic protagonist of such movies as Smokey and the Bandit, and The Longest Yard, died Thursday morning at the age of 82. After making his film debut as Lewis Medlock in Deliverance in 1972, the actor became the No. 1 box-office attraction for several years in a row in the late 1970s. Receiving an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of porn director Jack Horner in Boogie Nights, Reynolds nevertheless preferred more populist, fun roles like the ones in The Cannonball Run or Starting Over.
To pay our last respects to the Hollywood’s top-grossing actor for a 5-year stretch from 1978 through to 1982, we have created the Burt Reynolds Timeline, which overviews the highlights of his life and career, including his most popular movies.
Before starting his acting career, young Reynolds distinguished himself as a skilled football player, receiving multiple scholarship offers when he was in high school. He eventually accepted one of the football scholarships and attended Florida State University, where he played as halfback. Unfortunately, a series of injuries would hamper his abilities on the field and lead to him giving up the sport while still in college. It was his English professor that pushed Reynolds into acting by casting him in the lead role in the production of the play Outward Bound. This performance brought him the 1956 Florida State Drama Award and a scholarship to a summer stock theater, the Hyde Park Playhouse.
This marked the beginning of a career that would include theater, television and studio productions. Most of his performances were in action movies and comedies, which would forge a brand of playful, good-ol’-boy beloved by audiences but not so much by critics. His cast choices would cause one of the actor’s biggest regrets as he recalled in his 2015 memoir, “I didn't open myself to new writers or risky parts because I wasn't interested in challenging myself as an actor. I was interested in having a good time. As a result, I missed a lot of opportunities to show I could play serious roles. By the time I finally woke up and tried to get it right, nobody would give me a chance.”
The Burt Reynolds chronology was created with Office Timeline, a user-friendly plugin for Powerpoint which helps you to easily and quickly design elegant timelines, Gantt charts and other visuals. You can copy and share the image for free, and further restyle it with the Plus version of the add-in.
Download the Burt Reynolds Timeline for PowerPoint here.
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