Burt Reynolds, the handsome film and television star known for his acclaimed performances in “Deliverance” and “Boogie Nights” and for an active off-screen life which included relationships with Loni Anderson, Sally Field and Dinah Shore, has died at age 82.
His death was confirmed Thursday by his agent Todd Eisner, who did not immediately have further details.
Reynolds inspired a wide range of responses over his long, erratic career: critical acclaim and critical scorn, commercial success and box office bombs. Reynolds made scores of movies, ranging from lightweight fare such as the hits “The Cannonball Run” and “Smokey and the Bandit” to more serious films like “The Longest Yard” and “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing.”
He was nominated for an Oscar for “Boogie Nights,” the Paul Thomas Anderson film about the pornography industry; won an Emmy for the TV series “Evening Shade,” and received high praise for his starring role in “Deliverance.”
But he also was a frequent nominee for the Razzie, the tongue-in-cheek award for Hollywood’s worst performance, and his personal life provided ongoing drama, particularly after an acrimonious divorce from Anderson in 1995. He had a troubled marriage to Judy Carne, a romance with Shore and a relationship with Field damaged by his acknowledged jealousy of her success.
Reynolds also called out Hollywood for its lack of diversity. He told the Guardian U.K. in an interview that he was surprised things had not become more diverse over his long career.
“I didn’t like things about the south, I hated it, I really did,” he said. It still isn’t right, it won’t ever be right in our lifetime. I really did think things would have progressed by now. I certainly thought we would have a lot more black directors, writers, producers.”
Through it all he presented a genial persona, often the first to make fun of his own conflicted image.
“My career is not like a regular chart, mine looks like a heart attack,” he told The Associated Press in 2001. “I’ve done over 100 films, and I’m the only actor who has been canned by all three networks. I epitomize longevity.”