Now He Belongs to the Ages: Remembering Burt Reynolds, Dead at 82

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brian-mcgee - September 7, 2018

Burt Reynolds, one of the icons of American cinema, has shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 82. The Michigan native took the world by storm, becoming the biggest star in Hollywood in the 1970s and early 1980s, and earning his place in the history books with such critical and commercial favorites as Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit, and The Cannonball Run.

The mid-to-late 80s Reynolds dipped his toe into animation with All Dogs Go to Heaven, and he eventually became one of the first major movie stars to transition back into television with his starring role in Evening Shade. He earned rave reviews for his supporting roles in both Citizen Ruth and Striptease in 1996, which paved the way for his first—and sadly, only—Oscar nomination for Boogie Nights the following year.

This should have led to a career renaissance as a character actor, but that never really materialized. Never one to wont for work, Reynolds kept busy throughout the 2000s, though none of the projects he appeared in really rose to the level someone of his stature deserved. One of the most tragic elements of his death is that he was just on the verge of appearing in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a role the writer/director hoped could be another strong comeback role for Reynolds.

The beauty of Burt was that he was always there. Always around. Always just about to flash that million dollar smile and let you know he still had it, even if it had been a while since you'd seen it. It's terribly sad to think that those days are over. I don't know if there's a heaven, but I do hope that Burt is now reunited with Dom DeLuise, and they're laughing uncontrollably somewhere in the hereafter. Good night sweet prince.