VOA News

Actor Burt Reynolds, the charismatic star whose career lasted for more than half a century, died Thursday at 82.

His agent announced the actor’s death in Jupiter, Florida, but did not give a cause.

The rugged, mustached, handsome Reynolds was an icon of 1970s America and its fixation on Hollywood celebrities.

Michigan-born Reynolds was a college football star in Florida and appeared headed for a professional sports career before he was injured in a car crash.

FILE - Actors Burt Reynolds and Darren McGavin are seen on the set of the TV program "Riverboat" on NBC, Aug. 18, 1959.
FILE – Actors Burt Reynolds and Darren McGavin are seen on the set of the TV program “Riverboat” on NBC, Aug. 18, 1959.

He worked in a number of jobs before turning to acting in Florida and New York, and eventually to Hollywood and numerous television roles.

His big break came in 1972 when he was cast in the hit movie Deliverance, about a canoe trip turned violent.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and Reynolds’ performance was widely praised.

His decision to pose nude for Cosmopolitan magazine turned him into a TV personality and fodder for jokes.

FILE - Burt Reynolds and Sally Field attend the off-Broadway play "Buried Child" in New York, Dec. 23, 1978.
FILE – Burt Reynolds and Sally Field attend the off-Broadway play “Buried Child” in New York, Dec. 23, 1978.

Reynolds said he posed nude as a gag, but later called it a mistake because he said it distracted from his ambitions to be a respected actor.

He continued to star in dozens of films throughout the 1970s, such as Cannonball Run and the Smokey and the Bandit series.

He also made tabloid headlines with his marriages, divorces and affairs with actresses Judy Carne, Sally Field and Loni Anderson, and singer Dinah Shore, who was 20 years his senior.

Reynolds’ career fizzled in the 1980s, but he made a comeback in 1991 when he won an Emmy award for the television comedy Evening Shade. In 1998, he was a nominee for Best Supporting Actor for the movie Boogie Nights.