Smokey and the Bandit Star Burt Reynolds Dead at 82
Pour one out for the Bandit.
Legendary actor Burt Reynolds, star of iconic films like Smokey and the Bandit, The Cannonball Run, and The Longest Yard died on Thursday after going into cardiac arrest at a hospital in Florida, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Reynolds broke out as a Hollywood leading man in the early 1970s with his standout role in the psychological thriller Deliverance, but it was his turn as outlaw trucker and Pontiac Trans-Am driver Bo "Bandit" Darville in the 1977 action comedy Smokey and the Bandit that made both him and the car pop culture icons.
That movie cemented his partnership with the equally legendary stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham, and the two teamed up four years later to deliver The Cannonball Run in 1981. The movie commemorated the very real outlaw cross-country race that ran several times during the 1970s formally known as the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, and it's credited with re-popularizing the concept of cross country driving records—something a certain editor-at-large at The Drive is quite familiar with.
Though Reynolds was the movie industry's highest-grossing actor between 1978 and 1982, his star dimmed throughout the decade after a string of sequels, box office flops, and a few personal issues related to his flamboyant lifestyle. He returned to television before making a comeback in the 1997 film Boogie Nights as porn director Jack Horner, a role that finally earned him his first Academy Award Nomination.
His last high-profile gig was the big bad Boss Hogg in the 2005 remake of The Dukes of Hazzard, though Reynolds kept working through the end of his life, most recently signing on to an upcoming Quentin Tarantino movie called Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Reynold's singular, inimitable brand of suave masculinity slowly went out of popular style over the years, and a string of recent auctions featuring his possessions would indicate a few financial struggles along the way. But Reynolds never had any regrets for how his life turned out.
"I always wanted to experience everything and go down swinging," he concluded in his memoir, as highlighted by THR. "Well, so far, so good. I know I'm old, but I feel young. And there's one thing they can never take away: Nobody had more fun than I did."
And how. Reynolds will always be remembered for his macho swagger, his louche appeal, and yes, his mustache. But more importantly, he'll be remembered for inspiring a generation of gearheads to go at life a little faster.