Arnie leads tributes to movie icon Reynolds

Hollywood royalty: Actor Burt Reynolds has died. Photo: Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP
Hollywood royalty: Actor Burt Reynolds has died. Photo: Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger last night led tributes to Hollywood icon Burt Reynolds, who has died aged 82.

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, died yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter said, citing his manager.

Schwarzenegger tweeted: “Burt Reynolds was one of my heroes. He was a trailblazer. He showed the way to transition from being an athlete to being the highest paid actor, and he always inspired me.

“He also had a great sense of humour – check out his Tonight Show clips. My thoughts are with his family.”

At his peak, 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 Award for his role in the 1990-1994 TV series ‘Evening Shade’.

With his trademark moustache, rugged looks and macho aura, he was a leading male sex symbol of the 1970s.

His personal life sometimes overshadowed his films, with marriages that ended in divorce to actresses Loni Anderson and Judy Carne and romances with others, including Sally Field and Dinah Shore.

Reynolds also generated attention for financial woes and his struggles with prescription pain medication.

Many of his films were set in the South. He often played a lovable rascal who outwits local authorities as in the 1977 comedy ‘Smokey and the Bandit’, co-starring his girlfriend Field and Jackie Gleason, and its two sequels.

Reynolds turned down 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 won Jack Nicholson an Oscar.

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Reynolds said in 2012 that he regretted some of his film choices. “I took the part that was the most fun. I didn’t take the part that would be the most challenging,” he told Piers Morgan in 2012.

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

He underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery in 2010 and was hospitalised in intensive care in 2013 with the flu.

Irish Independent

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