Reynolds was a star football player in the 1950s at Florida State University, but his career was cut short by injuries before he could turn pro. In 1977 he starred with Sally Field and Jackie Gleason in the comedy programmer Smokey and the Bandit, which proved to be his most successful undertaking ever and was followed by the inevitable sequels.
But Burt didn't let his financial issues hold back his career, going on to star in 47 films after declaring bankruptcy. But he had a comeback of sorts with 1997's Boogie Nights, for which he earned a best supporting actor Oscar nomination.
Reynolds turned down the roles of Han Solo in Star Wars, astronaut Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment and John McClane in Die Hard.
Born Feb. 11, 1936, the Georgia native got his start in show business as a stuntman and taking bit parts on TV before landing a regular spot on the popular '60s Western Gunsmoke. He also earned People's Choice Awards in 1979, 1982 and 1983 as all-around male entertainer of the year. In recent years, the actor had lost much of the confident swagger that the mustachioed ladies man is best known for, and it sounds like old age finally caught up with him.
Reynolds, known for "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Deliverance", among other major cinematic productions, is survived by his son, Quinton.
Afterwards, Reynolds had a brief stopover in NY where he appeared in several theatrical productions before moving out west to Hollywood. Reynolds continued to support Florida State after becoming a big-time Hollywood star and was often spotted on the sidelines or in the stands during gameday. He also became a sex symbol after posing nude for Cosmopolitan magazine in 1972.
Actor Wesley Snipes referenced a line from Smokey And The Bandit in his tribute to Reynolds.
Reynolds was married to Judy Crane from 1963 to 1965 and Loni Anderson from 1988 to 1993.