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Burt Reynolds Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (83)  | Personal Quotes (83)  | Salary (9)

Overview (5)

Born in Lansing, Michigan, USA
Died in Jupiter, Florida, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameBurton Leon Reynolds Jr.
Nickname Buddy
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Enduring, strong-featured, and genial star of US cinema, Burt Reynolds started off in T.V. westerns in the 1960s and then carved his name into 1970s/1980s popular culture, as a sex symbol (posing nearly naked for "Cosmopolitan" magazine), and on-screen as both a rugged action figure and then as a wisecracking, Southern type of "good ol' boy."

Burton Leon Reynolds was born in Lansing, Michigan. He was the son of Fern (Miller) and Burton Milo Reynolds, who was in the army. After World War II, his family moved to Riviera Beach, Florida, where his father was chief of police, and where Burt excelled as an athlete and played with Florida State University. He became an All Star Southern Conference halfback (and was earmarked by the Baltimore Colts) before a knee injury and a car accident ended his football career. Midway through college he dropped out and headed to New York with aspirations of becoming an actor. There he worked in restaurants and clubs while pulling the odd TV spot or theatre role.

He was spotted in a New York City production of "Mister Roberts," signed to a TV contract, and eventually had recurring roles in such shows as Gunsmoke (1955), Riverboat (1959) and his own series, Hawk (1966).

Reynolds continued to appear in undemanding western roles, often playing a character of half Native American descent, in films such as Navajo Joe (1966), 100 Rifles (1969) and Sam Whiskey (1969). However, it was his tough-guy performance as macho Lewis Medlock in the John Boorman backwoods nightmare Deliverance (1972) that really stamped him as a bona-fide star. Reynolds' popularity continued to soar with his appearance as a no-nonsense private investigator in Shamus (1973) and in the Woody Allen comedy Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972). Building further on his image as a Southern boy who outsmarts the local lawmen, Reynolds packed fans into theaters to see him in White Lightning (1973), The Longest Yard (1974), W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975) and Gator (1976).

At this time, ex-stuntman and longtime Reynolds buddy Hal Needham came to him with a "road film" script. It turned out to be the incredibly popular Smokey and the Bandit (1977) with Sally Field and Jerry Reed, which took in over $100 million at the box office. That film's success was followed by Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) and Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983). Reynolds also appeared alongside Kris Kristofferson in the hit football film Semi-Tough (1977), with friend Dom DeLuise in the black comedy The End (1978) (which Reynolds directed), in the stunt-laden buddy film Hooper (1978) and then in the self-indulgent, star-packed road race flick The Cannonball Run (1981).

The early 1980s started off well with a strong performance in the violent police film Sharky's Machine (1981), which he also directed, and he starred with Dolly Parton in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) and with fellow macho superstar Clint Eastwood in the coolly received City Heat (1984). However, other projects such as Stroker Ace (1983), Stick (1985) and Paternity (1981) failed to catch fire with fans and Reynolds quickly found himself falling out of popularity with movie audiences. In the late 1980s he appeared in only a handful of films, mostly below average, before television came to the rescue and he shone again in two very popular TV shows, B.L. Stryker (1989) and Evening Shade (1990), for which he won an Emmy. In 1988, Burt and his then-wife, actress Loni Anderson, had a son, Quinton A. Reynolds (aka Quinton Anderson Reynolds), whom they adopted.

He was back on screen, but still the roles weren't grabbing the public's attention, until his terrific performance as a drunken politician in the otherwise woeful Striptease (1996) and then another tremendous showing as a charming, porn director in Boogie Nights (1997), which scored him a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Like the phoenix from the ashes, Reynolds resurrected his popularity and, in the process, gathered a new generation of young fans, many of whom had been unfamiliar with his 1970s film roles. He then put in entertaining work in Pups (1999), Mystery, Alaska (1999), Driven (2001) and Time of the Wolf (2002). Definitely one of Hollywood's most resilient stars, Reynolds continually surprised all with his ability to weather both personal and career hurdles and his almost 60 years in front of the cameras were testament to his staying ability, his acting talent and his appeal to film audiences.

Burt Reynolds died of cardiac arrest on September 6, 2018, in Jupiter, Florida, U.S. He was eighty two.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44

Spouse (2)

Loni Anderson (29 April 1988 - 17 June 1994) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Judy Carne (28 June 1963 - 9 July 1965) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Deep stern voice
Rebellious but likeable characters
Moustache

Trivia (83)

In 1968 he tested for a role in Rosemary's Baby (1968), but Roman Polanski ended up casting John Cassavetes for the part.
When Francis Ford Coppola decided to make a project about the life of the famous Preston Tucker, he wanted Reynolds to play Tucker. They had many discussions about the movie and made plans, but the film did not get made until 1988, this time with Jeff Bridges in the role. Reynolds only got Lewis Medlock's role in Deliverance (1972) after the stars who were originally chosen to play the lead--including Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda and James Stewart--declined the part, after they heard about the risks of the Chattooga River.
Had an adopted son, Quinton A. Reynolds (aka Quinton Anderson Reynolds, born August 31, 1988), with former wife Loni Anderson.
In January 1998 he became engaged to former waitress Pam Seals.
His working relationship with Paul Thomas Anderson during the making of Boogie Nights (1997) was very difficult and he hated the film so much that he fired his agent immediately after viewing a screening. This was before the critical raves after the New York Film Festival occurred. He was then convinced by Anderson to promote the film on a radio tour and was further enraged at Anderson's behavior (constantly not letting Reynolds speak). This was the final straw for Reynolds, who, after a week or so of promoting the film, tried to punch Anderson in the face and stopped promoting the film. Reynolds refused to participate in Anderson's next project, Magnolia (1999).
Attended Florida State University on a football scholarship, but only played in two seasons. He was a star running back. His college football career was ended by a knee injury.
Was the original choice to play Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment (1983). Although he loved the script, he had already agreed to star in Stroker Ace, so he turned down the role. As a result, the role went to Jack Nicholson, who eventually won an Oscar for it. Reynolds later commented that this was one of his most terrible mistakes.
During the mid-'80s he tried to make a comeback with Heat (1986), written by William Goldman. He hoped the movie, directed by Robert Altman, would mark a new phase in his career. Unfortunately, Altman had an altercation with producer Elliott Kastner and left the project. The movie ended up being a box-office failure.
Was a 1958 graduate of Florida State University.
Mentioned in the theme song of the pilot version (4 Nov 1981) of the 1980s TV hit The Fall Guy (1981).
Was the first actor ever asked to guest-host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962). Prior to Reynolds, only comedians had been invited. His first (?) guest was his ex-wife Judy Carne, who he hadn't spoken to in over six years after a very bitter divorce.
He bared almost all for a Cosmopolitan centerfold in 1972.
Was seriously involved with Inger Stevens shortly before her suicide in 1970. He refused to discuss the relationship.
Member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Had a relationship with Sally Field for many years, but she refused his numerous proposals, and they eventually broke up. He said that she was a positive influence on him and, in fact, was the love of his life.
Turned down the role of John McClane in Die Hard (1988). It went to Bruce Willis.
Graduate of Palm Beach High School, Palm Beach, FL, Class of 1954.
Hit #88 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1980 with the song "Let's Do Something Cheap and Superficial", from the film Smokey and the Bandit II (1980).
Had long-term relationship with Dinah Shore. An early cougar, Dinah was 20 years older than Burt.
Was of English, with smaller amounts of German, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Scottish, and Dutch, ancestry. He was also said to have Cherokee Native American roots, although it is not clear if this ancestry has been verified/documented.
Was named the #1 top money-making star at the box office in Quigley Publications' annual poll of movie exhibitors for five consecutive years from 1978-82, equaling the record set by Bing Crosby from 1944-48. Only Tom Cruise, who was named #1 six times between 1986 and 2001, has won more box-office crowns. Both Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks also have been #1 five times, but non-consecutively.
Has been named to Quigley Publications' annual Top 10 Poll of Money-Making Stars 12 times, tying him for tenth place with Harrison Ford. John Wayne is #1 on the all-time list, with 25 appearances in the Top 10.
Lost the 1997 Razzie award for Worst Supporting Actor to Marlon Brando by a mere single vote. Reynolds was nominated for his performance in Striptease (1996) and Brando for his role in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996). The vote was cast by Razzie awards founder John Wilson, who always chooses to vote last.
Though their relationship eventually did not work out, he spoke fondly of Sally Field and he regards her as having been a positive influence on his life.
He was considered for Harrison Ford's roles in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and Blade Runner (1982).
Was director Milos Forman's first choice for the lead in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) but United Artists believed his appeal with average moviegoers might prevent the film from attracting the critical attention it felt was necessary for the film to be a box-office hit. Jack Nicholson was cast instead and him his first Best Actor Oscar. Eight years later Reynolds was writer-director James L. Brooks' first choice for the role of amorous astronaut Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment (1983). This time Reynolds passed on the project, clearing the way for Nicholson to win his second Oscar, this one for Best Supporting Actor.
Sales of the Pontiac TransAm increased by 500% after Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Pontiac was so grateful to Reynolds that it promised him a new TransAm every year in perpetuity. The promise lasted five years. He drove a 1977 Trans Am Limited Edition in these movies.
The character design of the Comedian/Edward Blake in Alan Moore's graphic novel "Watchmen" is said to have been based on Reynolds. He was even considered for the role when the novel was in discussion to be adapted to film.
Attended Elizabeth Taylor's "Commitment to Life" fund-raiser for AIDS research on 19 September 1985, where Burt Lancaster read Rock Hudson's statement announcing he had been diagnosed with AIDS. At one point Reynolds was booed when he read a telegram of support from President Ronald Reagan. Reynolds summed up the frustration of the lack of AIDS awareness when he angrily said, "If this were a benefit for cancer, reporters wouldn't be asking stupid questions like, 'Why are you here?'.".
Early in his career he appeared as a contestant on The Dating Game (1965).
Met one of his heroes, Spencer Tracy, while filming Riverboat (1959). Tracy was filming Inherit the Wind (1960) on the same lot and Reynolds used to watch him walk from the set to his trailer everyday. After a while, Tracy finally turned to him and said, "Come on, kid." For the next several weeks the two would meet and talk about sports and, every once in a while, acting.
Like many other celebrities, he was an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
His numerous achievements have been recognized by his having been named America's Favorite All Around Motion Picture Actor (People's Choice Award) for a record six consecutive years; the Most Popular Star for five years running; Star of the Year (National Association of Theatre Owners); and #1 Box Office Star for five years in a row, still an unmatched record. He was honored with the 2007 Taurus World Stunt Award for "Lifetime Achievement for an Action Movie Star" and received this special citation from the Republican Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Canadian electronics store Future Shop referred to his Smokey and the Bandit (1977) car and set up as "the Burt", to demonstrate its 2008 HDTV and sub-woofer.
Mentioned in Bruce Springsteen's song "Cadillac Ranch".
He met director David O. Russell in late 1995 for dinner, to discuss a possible role for him in the independent movie Flirting with Disaster (1996). Although the two felt very enthusiastic about his playing a part, negotiations fell through.
Immediately after his artistic comeback with Boogie Nights (1997), he did a number of indie films and was attached to star in a number of independent movies. One of these projects was the comedy The Oh in Ohio (2006). Parker Posey, who was a fan of Reynolds, personally offered him a part in the film, but his commitment to another project made it impossible for him to play the role. Danny DeVito got the part.
In 1999 one of the projects that never realized for him was "Bulls Night Out". The movie was supposed to be an old-fashioned cop drama about over-the-hill cops taking justice into their own hands. It was to be directed by Burt himself, and to star him and a number of other veteran action stars. Roy Scheider, Danny Aiello, Louis Gossett Jr. and Charles Durning were all attached. It was supposed to be funded by a then new studio called Ray Art Studios, based in Canoga Park, CA. For a variety of reasons, the film never got made.
Sidney Lumet wanted him for the main role in Power (1986). He turned the part down, and Richard Gere was cast.
After having worked with director John Boorman in Deliverance (1972), he was cast by Boorman one year later to play the lead in the science-fiction Zardoz (1974). Reynolds had to pull out due to illness and Sean Connery got the part. Reynolds and Boorman almost worked together again, this time in 1980, when Boorman was attached, for some time, to direct him in Sharky's Machine (1981). When Boorman left the picture, Reynolds directed it himself.
Ironically, while Reynolds was nominated for a "Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical or Comedy" Golden Globe for his performance as "Paul Crewe" in The Longest Yard (1974), he was nominated for a Razzie Award for "Worst Supporting Actor" for his performance in the 2005 remake (The Longest Yard (2005)). Here, he played "Coach Scarboro" to Adam Sandler's "Paul Crewe".
Underwent back surgery in May 2009.
Once paid $12,200 for a custom hairpiece.
Despite his lucrative career, in 1996 he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, due in part to an extravagant lifestyle, a divorce from Loni Anderson and failed investments in some Florida restaurant chains. He emerged from bankruptcy two years later.
Agent Richard Clayton was his personal manager for over 20 years.
Underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery in February 2010.
Reynolds' appearance on the cover of Playboy Magazine (October 1979) made him the second male after Peter Sellers (April 1964) to merit the rare privilege.
In 1980 he gave friend Jerry Reed the very same model of a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Limited Edition that he drove in all three "Smokey and the Bandit" films.
According to the book "1000 Facts about Actors Vol. 2", his favorite actor was the English character actor Richard Griffiths.
Inducted into the International Mustache Hall of Fame in 2015 (inaugural class) in the category Film & Television.
He was considered for Robert De Niro's roles in Taxi Driver (1976) and Midnight Run (1988).
Had an adopted brother, Jimmy/James Hooks Reynolds.
On his father's side, he was the grandson of John Burton Reynolds and Effie M. Thompson, of New York and Michigan, respectively. On his mother's side, he was the grandson of Leon Chauncey Miller and Nina Bell Wheeler, both of Michigan.
He inspired the British television comedy play The Galton & Simpson Playhouse: I Tell You It's Burt Reynolds (1977).
Had no plans to retire despite having difficulty walking.
Friendly with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton but voted for Trump in the 2016 Presidential election.
His 1972 nude centerfold photo in Cosmopolitan magazine sold 1.5 million copies. He later said that he regretted posing for the photo.
Turned down the role of James Bond, believing that an American couldn't play the role.
Appears in three films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing: Deliverance (1972), The Longest Yard (1974) and Smokey and the Bandit (1977).
Claimed that Loni Anderson took "5 hours to get ready to go to the grocery store" and would disappear for days at a time supposedly shopping.
He was considered for the lead role in Superman (1978), but was deemed too recognizable, and not temperamentally suited to the role.
He was considered for the lead role of John Brent in Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970).
He refused the role Kevin Kline played in Soapdish (1991), with Sally Field, because his then wife, Loni Anderson, told him that all of Hollywood would laugh at her, as Reynolds and Field once had a very long and heavily publicized affair.
He beat over 300 other contenders for the role of Quint Asper on Gunsmoke (1955).
He owned a private "dinner theater" in Jupiter, Florida, with a focus on training young performers looking to enter show business. The theater was later renamed to the Burt Reynolds Jupiter Theater and closed in 1997 after Reynolds declared bankruptcy.
He co-owned a NASCAR Winston Cup team, Mach 1 Racing, with Hal Needham, which ran the #33 "Skoal Bandit" car with driver Harry Gant.
He co-authored the 1997 children's book "Barkley Unleashed: A Pirate's Tail", a "whimsical tale [that] illustrates the importance of perseverance, the wonders of friendship and the power of imagination".
In 1984, he opened a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, "Burt & Jacks", that he co-owned with Jack Jackson.
He repeatedly turned down the chance to play Clark Gable in Gable and Lombard (1976).
He was offered the role of Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman (1990) but declined. He jokingly said on Piers Morgan's Life Stories (2009) in 2012 that after he saw the film and the love-making scenes with Julia Roberts, that he made a mistake in not taking the part.
He auditioned for a part in Sayonara (1957), was told he could not be in the film because he looked too much like Marlon Brando.
In the late 1970s, he opened Burt's Place, a nightclub restaurant in the Omni International Hotel in the Hotel District of Downtown Atlanta, and briefly operated a second version at Lenox Square.
On August 16, 2011, Merrill Lynch Credit Corporation filed foreclosure papers, claiming Reynolds owed US$1.2 million on his home in Hobe Sound, Florida.
He was a life-long fan of American football, a result of his collegiate career, and was a minority owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL from 1982 to 1986. The team's name was inspired by the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy and Skoal Bandit, a primary sponsor for the team as a result of also sponsoring Reynolds' motor racing team.
He was offered a lead role in MASH (1970), but turned it down after "they told me the other two leads would be Barbra Streisand's husband and that tall, skinny guy who was in The Dirty Dozen (1967)". Tom Skerritt played the role instead.
In May 2018, he joined the cast for Quentin Tarantino's film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), but he died before shooting his scenes.
He quit Riverboat (1959) after only 20 episodes, claiming he did not get along with Darren McGavin or the executive producer, and that he had "a stupid part".
He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Florida State University in 1981 and later endorsed the construction of a new performing arts facility in Sarasota, Florida.
He owned the Burt Reynolds Ranch, where scenes for Smokey and the Bandit (1977) were filmed and which once had a petting zoo, until its sale during bankruptcy. In April 2014, the 153-acre (62 ha) rural property was rezoned for residential use and the Palm Beach County school system could sell it to residential developer K. Hovnanian Homes. He also once purchased a mansion on a tract of land in Loganville, Georgia, while married to Loni Anderson.
His remains were cremated at the Gold Coast Crematory in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
He was originally cast as Richard Carlyle in PhonY (2019), but he died before shooting started..
As of his death in 2018, he appeared in one film nominated for Best Picture Oscar: Deliverance (1972).

Personal Quotes (83)

[on Paul Thomas Anderson] Most filmmakers today have no sense of the history of our business, but he knows every shot John Ford made. And he doesn't lack for confidence. He really knew which shots he wanted to make. I remember the first shot in Boogie Nights (1997), which is one of the longest shots in history. And I, being the irascible old type I am sometimes, said, 'Have you timed this? Is this longer than Citizen Kane (1941) ?' And he said, 'Oh, yes. It's three seconds longer'."
[on young filmmakers] Having done 300 television shows and almost 60 movies, I'm tired of having guys who are younger than some sandwiches I've had telling me to turn left at the couch. There's no appreciation of actors and no sense of history.
[on Sally Field] I haven't seen her in 10 years and I'd like to very much. Because I'd like to tell her in person what I didn't know then. That is, how incredibly unselfish she was in terms of the time she spent with me. You know, inside that little body of hers is one of the strongest people I've ever met. What I didn't ever appreciate enough, until I had Quinton, was what it means to have a child and say to somebody else, "I'll be with you", away from my child. And now I know what an incredible gift that was.
[on Bill McKinney, with whom he worked in Deliverance (1972)] I thought the [he] was a little bent. I used to get up at five in the morning and see him running nude through the golf course while the sprinklers watered the grass. A strange dude, he moved to L.A. after "Deliverance" and worked in a lot of pictures of Clint Eastwood. He always played sickos, but he played them well. With my dark sense of humor, I was kind of amused by him. But as we got closer to the rape scene, I caught him staring at Ned Beatty in an odd, unnerving way. Ned would see it, and look away.
[on the rape scene in Deliverance (1972)] The day before we shot the scene I noticed [Bill McKinney] hovering beside Ned [Ned Beatty] and sat down between them. I wanted him to see I was Ned's friend. No different than in the script. Then I asked him how he planned to handle the rape scene. McKinney turned out to be a pretty good guy who just took "The Method" way too far. Staring straight at Ned, he whispered, "I've always wanted to try that. Always have." Ned shouted, "John! Oh, John!". In his brilliance, [John Boorman] reassured Ned but also brought in several additional cameras, knowing Ned wasn't going to give him a second, third or fourth take. Ned was only going to do the brutal scene once. When it came down to shooting it, [Herbert 'Cowboy' Coward] and McKinney were hands-down brilliant. Scared the shit out of everybody who saw the movie. People crawled out of the theater. None of that creepy "squeal, piggy, piggy" stuff was in the script. But McKinney, I swear to God, really wanted to hump Ned. And I think he was going to. He had it up and he was going to bang him. It's the first and only time I have ever seen camera operators turn their heads away. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore. I ran into the scene, dove on McKinney, and pulled him off. Boorman, hot on my tracks, helped hold him down. Ned, who was crying from both rage and fear, found a big stick and started beating him on the head. Half a dozen guys grabbed Ned and pulled him away. We separated the two of them and let things cool off.
[on his Oscar nomination] I'm stunned that I'm in this category, which I think is the toughest category, but then why shouldn't I? It's my category. But there are guys there that, it's not bad enough that there're brilliant actors, but one that's been knighted, you know? It's unbelievable to me. And George C. Scott is right, unless we all played the same role, it really isn't quite fair. I may streak again. I have no idea what my reaction will be, all I know is I'll go in with no expectations.
[on his character in Waterproof (2000)] He's a 73-year-old Jewish grocery store owner on a street that's entirely African-American. He's the only holdout. He's not moving. Tough old guy. I'm finding out to my own surprise, that I can do things I didn't think I could.
[on Boogie Nights (1997)] It's obvious why someone, I think, would be afraid of this project and I thought I had some baggage in terms of a lot of people who grew up with movies like I did would wonder why I would even be near a film like that. I also felt like this thing will either crash and burn, be the biggest disaster of all time or the most talked about film of the year. Quite honestly I needed a jump start and so it was a brave choice. I kept turning it down and then getting reassurances that we had humanity. And the humanity was I was a surrogate father for damaged goods and the first day we read, I was astounded at the talent, these young actors who I hadn't worked with, some of 'em I didn't know. Incredible. And about 10-15 minutes into the reading Mark Wahlberg came over and sat down beside me and he said, "How ya doin' Dad?" It stayed like that, the relationship stayed like that through the whole film.
[when asked about happiness] I am happy. I was just talking to a very savvy casting director, who's been around for a long time, who said, "I'm so happy for you!" and I knew he was. I said, "I wish this would never end. I wish there was never an award, a rush party, I don't want to join the fraternity. I just wanna go on with the rush part".
[After his nomination for Boogie Nights (1997)] My being nominated this year is no comeback story because I simply refused to go away.
[on Dinah Shore] One of the greatest ladies I ever knew was Dinah Shore and she taught me right away if you can't laugh at yourself, you have no business in this business. If I have any class--and that's probably debatable--it's due to Dinah.
[on the stunt scenes he did for his thriller Crazy Six (1997)] I told them, "Look, I can do this. I can still fall; I just can't get up!" But the character is dead, anyway!
[on the 1970s] It was an astounding kind of time and I've often said to people, "If I met you between '73 and '78, I'm sorry, I don't remember three or four of those years". You're on such a fast track and you're up in such heady air you can't breathe, how the hell are you gonna smell the flowers if you can't breathe anyway? That's why it's wonderful to happen now, when you don't expect it and if you live through it and come out the other side, you are so much more appreciative. I think, not to sound too serious as you get older, I think you're a better person for it.
Friends come in herds and they leave in herds. Hollywood loves an adventure, but you have to hit bottom. Then they love to save you and be a part of it. Or think they're a part of it.
[on his longtime fans] First of all, it's usually a sea of blue hair and I'm grateful and thankful that they're still alive and around. I hope they understand that they are responsible for true joy. But the people in the seats were saying, "Put him in there", and those are the ones that, if I ever win anything, they are more responsible than any producer in Hollywood, because they never, never walked away.
[on playing an aging Jewish shopkeeper in Waterproof (2000)] It's a real challenge. I just hope Billy Crystal doesn't get P.O.'d.
[Interview in McCall's magazine] You get to a certain age, where you know you can't go over the wall, but I'll never get to the age where I can't go through it.
I am beginning to think there's a lot of nice people around in this business.
[on his career's phases and the Oscar] I've gone through every single career phase of getting to this point. If they give the award for being old, not giving up and for loving acting almost as much as loving life, then it's definitely mine.
[on his strengths and weaknesses] I regret that I do not have the dignity of Ricardo Montalban, the class of Dean Martin or the humor of Bill Cosby. I DO have the heart of a lion.
[on his success in Hollywood] The only way you can hurt anyone in this business is by succeeding and hurting their pocketbook maybe or just smiling and not giving up.
[on his career mistakes] All of the younger actors keep coming up to me and asking me where all of the land mines are because they know I've stepped on them all.
[on his few bad movies] My films were the kind they only show in prisons and in airplanes, because nobody can leave.
[on his comeback] If you hold on to things long enough, they get back into style. Like me.
[In 1981] My acting is a bit like basketball. Most females in my films come off very well. I give great assist. And if I'm lucky, I even score.
[on marriage] I'm terrified of marriage. I'm terrified of not doing something so important and at the same time I think you shouldn't rush into these things.
[on the Oscar nomination] I'd shot all night and was staying at the Banff Springs Resort Hotel in Canada, which is absolutely gorgeous. It looks like a castle, but it was built in the 1800s and at 4 o'clock in the morning you think you're in The Shining (1980), you expect Jack Nicholson to jump out. The hallway is a mile long. I came back and there was a crew there. They said, "Would you mind?" and I thought, "You mean, you want me to sit there and if I'm not nominated, you guys go home?" And I actually have to give you the chair back and everything. And everybody said, "No, no, you gotta do it". I'm sittin' in this chair thinking, "Well, I'm very calm . . . " I got this little thing in my ear and I'm hearing them announcing the nominations. Well, of course they announced them alphabetically and, unless you're Maud Adams, you know you're gonna be late. It just seemed like forever and then, when I heard it, I [was] dumbstruck, for lack of a better word.
[on his friends who called him after the Oscar nomination] It was, well, the people that didn't leave when I was dying of AIDS and then had a miraculous recovery. It was the people that have been around forever as friends. It was Angie Dickinson, it was Ann-Margret, Jon Voight, Charles Durning, a whole lot of people that aren't in the industry who are very good friends and 500 stunt men, I work with their grandsons now. Then you realize how long you've been doing this.
[on Larry King Live (1985), talking about the great parts he turned down] There are no awards in Hollywood for being an idiot.
[after he heard that Smokey and the Bandit (1977) was the favorite film of director Alfred Hitchcock] I have had people who were very intellectual and my heroes, that have quietly said to me, "I loved 'Smokey and the Bandit'!" And I said, "It's alright because so did 150 million other people!" I'm thrilled that Mr. Hitchcock felt that way and I convey to his daughter that, needless to say, he was the best.
[on his character on The Crew (2000)] I knew which character I wanted to play because I understand this guy very well. He goes from being perfectly sane to, within a quarter of a second, choking you to death and banging your head against the floor. I've played wise-guys before, but I've never played a wise-guy who is as demented. There's a reason why they call him "Bats".
[on the upcoming roles he is picking] I'm finally choosing a role for the right reason. It's not about the location ("Jamaica? I'll take it!") or the leading lady. It's about the words. I know I'll never be #1 again, but I'll be a working actor. And this time, I'll be a grownup. It's time. We have a saying in the South: "No man's a man until his father tells him he is!" Well, mine never told me and that was a problem. But my son did.
[on his financial setbacks] I trusted my manager with my money during my illness. Now I was broke. Money woes stayed with me. I grabbed whatever pictures were offered. Admittedly films like Malone (1987), Rent-a-Cop (1987) and Switching Channels (1988), all made between the end of 1986 and the middle of 1987, helped my bank account. But they were making me part of an endangered species, an old actor. However, there are times when you can be artistic, and times when you have to be realistic.
[on Sharky's Machine (1981)] Author Sidney Sheldon first mentioned William Diehl's novel "Sharky's Machine" to me at a party. Soon afterward Clint Eastwood sent me a copy of the same best-selling book with a note saying, "This is Dirty Harry (1971) in Atlanta!" Discovering it combined elements of two of my favorite movies, Laura (1944) and Rear Window (1954), I persuaded newly formed partners Orion Pictures and Warner Brothers to acquire the screen rights for me. The kind of film Robert Aldrich would've been great at, I knew from the get-go I had to direct. Granted complete creative control, for me only the third time this had happened, I assembled my cast. The film had one of the best crews I've ever worked with. Let me just say this about Charles Durning. He may be America's finest working actor today. Right down to the soundtrack, a jazz fiend, I called my own list of all-stars. The picture opened at the end of the year to critical reviews that were beyond my expectations. But when even the "New York Times"Vincent Canby also got it, I was bowled over. The reviews made me a hot director.
Women are my drugs and alcohol. When I'm involved with one woman, I'm involved with one woman. Period. But between romances, I am carnivorous.
There are three stages of an actor's career. Young, old and "You look good".
I'm going to retire hopefully like Cary Grant did. I'll be on stage telling a story, everyone's going to applaud and laugh and then I'll drop like a rock.
Sean Connery had said he wanted more money and left and Cubby Broccoli [Albert R. Broccoli] came to visit me and said, "We want you to play James Bond". And I said, in my infinite wisdom, "An American can't play James Bond. It just can't be done". Now, in the middle of the night, you hear me wake up in this cold sweat going, "Bond, James Bond!
[on Deliverance (1972) author/co-star James Dickey] He's the kind of man that, after he has had four martinis, makes you want to drop a grenade down his throat.
[on longtime girlfriend Sally Field] You know, I never told Sally that I loved her. I should have done that.
[on his divorce from Loni Anderson] I'm paying the third highest alimony and child support in the world. And the only two ahead of me are sheiks.
[on Goldie Hawn] Goldie is one of the sharpest ladies I've ever worked with. She doesn't miss a thing. She's my greatest audience. She laughs at all my stories and in the right places, too.
[on Frank Capra] He was my favorite director. Woody Allen and I once sat in a restaurant and picked five pictures we'd take to an island. And much to my shock, he didn't take a Capra picture and I took two. He took three Ingmar Bergman movies.
[on Marlon Brando] As an actor, he is a genius and even when he's dull he's still much better than most actors at the top of their form. But he has preserved the mentality of an adolescent. It's a pity. When he doesn't try and someone's speaking to him, it's like a blank wall: in fact, it's even less interesting because behind a blank wall you can always suppose that there's something interesting there.
[on Peter Bogdanovich] You're talking about a man who did something quite extraordinary. He was a film critic. He then went and made The Last Picture Show (1971), which won a few nominations for the Academy Award. He was very resented for that. Not openly, but deep down inside, the critics said . . . "kill".
[on Sally Field] She's tough, she's gritty, she's got a great sense of humor and she gets prettier every day.
I've had a tremendous amount of fun making fun of myself! As to my legacy, it's the kids that I have taught. I love this business so very much that I want to share my knowledge about it. The young actors that I have taught, I hope they think of me as a good teacher like Charles Nelson Reilly. Being a good teacher. I'll take that over being a good actor any day!
If you've as many films as I have, and missed as many opportunities as I have to do good work and been pissed off about it, you say, "Well, now you've got to start getting it right". If you get a chance, you really want to cook. And the tragedy is, when you finally feel that way about yourself, about your work, nobody wants you to give you a chance. And that happens to a lot of actors. But I'm feeling very wanted these days, so there must be something in the air.
[about Sally Jo Wagner, who worked for most of her life at the Burt Reynolds Theatre] She was my hero. I've never met anyone that was braver than this little lady. During all of the years I knew her, I never once heard her complain about her condition or the pain she most obviously suffered. She never asked for anything and, if you offered, she would turn it around and do something twice as profound for you. She was the best of friends with some of my best friends like Ossie Davis and Charles Nelson Reilly. Everyone loved her but none more than me.
[about Ossie Davis] I want so badly someday to have his dignity. A little of it anyway.
[after the death of his friend Dom DeLuise] As you get older, and start to lose people you love, you think about it more, and I was dreading this moment. Dom always made you feel better when he was around and there will never be another like him. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I will miss him very much.
[talking about losing his friend Dom DeLuise] Will I miss him? Yes, every time I laugh . . . every time I smile and every time I think of the kindness from one actor to another. A great big piece of my heart is gone. It seems to be a cliché these days to say someone is irreplaceable, but for me, Dom is.
[about friends who stood by him through his life] With people like Johnny Carson and Clint Eastwood, if you are honest and candid with them, they know you just want to be their friend. Johnny has a sensitive, vulnerable spot in him, and he showed that to me and I never analyzed it. I was just grateful for it. And with Clint, well, he only says about four or five words a year, and when he does, he's funny and wonderfully warm and everyone now realizes how intelligent he is. Elizabeth Taylor is a phenomenal friend. Again, she's been worked over pretty good, so when she is with someone who has also been in quicksand, there isn't anything held back. And I liked Dolly Parton from the beginning because I was raised in the South and always have had a great passion for it. I told her after an interview I did with several of the Grand Old Opry stars that she was going to be a major star. I just didn't know which medium it would be in. She looked at me, and Dolly being Dolly, said "When?"
[commenting on the number of Native Americans he's played in his career] The only Indian I haven't played is Pocahontas.
[about his "spaghetti western" Navajo Joe (1966)] They hacked up an old wig and glued it on my head. I looked like Natalie Wood.
When I worked with Willie Nelson--who is just about the nicest man I've ever worked with in my life--I thought, "If I'd have been gay, it would've saved me millions, just because we'd still be happily married".
If I want to be up for an Academy Award, I'm either going to have to play a tour de force of some kind or have a tracheotomy just before the nominations.
The audience will always forgive you for being wrong and exciting, but never for being right and dull.
[on the death of James Best] I was fortunate enough to call him my friend since the day he walked on the set of Gunsmoke (1955) back in the early '60s. On-set or off, behind the scenes, in front of a class or just as a friend, his name was so fitting because he was truly the "best" at whatever he did. My heart is heavy, and I miss him deeply.
[on the death of Roddy Piper] I just heard the terrible news. Rowdy stayed at my house whenever he was in Florida. Whether driving down US 1 at 110 miles an hour in the Bandit, or just sitting across the table over a cup of coffee, he lived life to the fullest. He once told my acting class that wrestling was exploding, but acting was imploding--and he knew because he had done it all, and done it all so well. I miss my friend.
I will sometimes be very shut off from everybody. I can be very pettish and sometimes not available when you need me. At those times, I'm very selfish and worrying about my own problems . . . I'm just being a prick. I don't like that guy. I really hate that guy. And that's me. But we all have the Devil inside us.
[on Sally Field] I miss her terribly. Even now, it's hard on me. I don't know why I was so stupid. Men are like that, you know. You find the perfect person, and then you do everything you can to screw it up. There isn't anything, no matter how good it is, or how good it tastes, or how much fun it is, where too much is good for you. It can destroy you. And you have to learn. It's a hard lesson. But you have to learn to back off and do as good as you can in your chosen profession. And don't screw it up. And the best way to screw it up is having too much of a good thing.
[2015 interview] I've done more than 100 movies. I'm proud of maybe five of them.
[in December 2015] Directing is what I'd love to do. I'd rather direct than anything. I think that's what I'll probably end up doing; hopefully I'll get a script that's wonderful . . . I think it will help me get away from a lot of painful stuff. I think I can do something that will surprise people.
[in 2015, on why he will never work with director Paul Thomas Anderson again] Personality-wise, we didn't fit [ . . . ] I think mostly because he was young and full of himself [ . . . ] Every shot we did, it was like the first time [that shot had ever been done]. I remember the first shot we did in Boogie Nights (1997), where I drive the car to Grauman's Theater. After [that] he said, "Isn't that amazing?" And I named five pictures that had the same kind of shot. It wasn't original. But if you have to steal, steal from the best [ . . . ] I'd done my picture with Paul Thomas Anderson, that was enough for me.
[on Charlie Sheen's HIV status] I don't feel bad for him. He's getting what he deserves. If you're going to misbehave like that, they're going to get you . . . He misbehaved badly. Very badly.
[on The Cannonball Run (1981)] I did that film for all the wrong reasons. I never liked it. I did it to help out a friend of mine, Hal Needham. And I also felt it was immoral to turn down that kind of money. I suppose I sold out so I couldn't really object to what people wrote about me.
[on At Long Last Love (1975)] Not as bad as it was reviewed. What was reviewed was Cybill Shepherd and [Peter Bogdanovich's] relationship. You see, Peter Bogdanovich has done something that all critics will never forgive him for doing. That is, stop being a critic, go make a film and have that film be enormously successful. What he did then was to go on talk shows, and be rather arrogant and talk about how bad critics are. That was the final straw. So they were waiting with their knives and whatever. And along came Peter who finally gave them something they could kill him with. Unfortunately there I was, between Cybill's broad shoulders and Peter's ego. And I got killed along with the rest of them.
[in 2016, on Boogie Nights (1997)] I hated the experience. I thought I'd sold out, in a way. I wasn't sure whether that was why they were offering the film to me, but apparently I did it very well. It won some awards and I was proud of that. But I've done 60 films or something, and it was just the worst experience I ever had.
I'm going to keep working until they shoot me and take me off and bury me. And I hope they film it.
[on Donald Trump] I like him. He's a good guy. I just don't know how he'd deal with Russia and other countries. To be successful in business you have to be ruthless. But when you are running a country and dealing with other countries, ruthlessness doesn't work all the time.
[on his hair in Deliverance (1972)] That was all me! That was my real hair. It wasn't much. But it was me. You know, if I had it to do over again, I would do it natural. Not wear a toupee. But I ended up seeing this guy William Shatner sent me to. Edward Katz. He's a genius at what he does. Best guy in the business. Because his pieces are so hard to spot. And he listens. He gets it. And he tells you what's best. Most guys with toupees overcompensate. They want too much hair. They end up piling it high, looking like a weird flower. But if someone offered me a movie now - and I'm still waiting for one - I'd go back to my natural look. With whatever I have left up there.
[on Cary Grant] Nobody understood what the hell that accent was. I don't think he did, but it was wonderful.
[to Leonard Maltin at their first meeting] I'd love to slug ya but there are ladies present.
I once said that I'd rather have a Heisman Trophy than an Oscar. I lied.
My career is not like a regular chart, mine looks like a heart attack. I've done over 100 films and I'm the only actor who has been canned by all three networks. I epitomize longevity.
[on being photographed for 'Cosmopolitan' as the first male centrefold] It was a total fiasco. I thought people would be able to separate the fun-loving side of me from the serious actor, but I was wrong.
Armored Command (1961) is one of the first pictures in which Howard Keel had a non-singing role. He should've sung; we need all the help we can get.
(On Navajo Joe (1966)) It wasn't my favorite picture. I had two expressions - mad and madder.
(On Armored Command (1961)) It was the one picture that Howard Keel didn't sing on. That was a terrible mistake.
(On Armored Command (1961)) As in my previous film, I played a rapist again and I was beginning to worry about being typecast.
(On his early TV work) I played heavies in every series in town.
[on regretting turning down the role of Han Solo in Star Wars] I was offered a meeting and all that, whatever that means. But I don't like science fiction. And I didn't know the kind of impact that the film would have. Otherwise, I would have crawled there and said yes.

Salary (9)

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) $1,000,000
The Cannonball Run (1981) $5,000,000 + 10% gross
Best Friends (1982) $3,000,000 + 10% gross
The Man Who Loved Women (1983) $3,000,000
Cannonball Run II (1984) $5,000,000 + 10% gross
City Heat (1984) $4,000,000
Stick (1985) $4,000,000
Heat (1986) $4,000,000
Striptease (1996) $200,000

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