Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Burt Reynolds: 5 Mind-Blowing Facts About the Hollywood Icon

Burt Reynolds: 5 Mind-Blowing Facts About the Hollywood Icon

The fact is, Burt Reynolds was box office king for the 70s and much of the 80s. However, his entire career is jam-packed with colorful turns. So comb your mustache and flash your best grin as we take a look at some of the most mind-blowing moments from Reynolds’ Hollywood journey.

Burt Reynolds Turned Down Some Iconic Roles

During his nearly 60-year career, Burt Reynolds turned down numerous iconic roles. Reportedly, he turned down James Bond, Han Solo in Star Wars, R.P. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman, and John McClane in Die Hard.

Reynolds reportedly regretted turning down a role written specifically for him in Terms of Endearment. When director James L. Brooks approached him about playing Garrett Breedlove, Reynolds declined, opting for a role in Stroker Ace. Jack Nicholson ultimately took the role and won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1984.

A Stunt Gone Wrong Led to Rumors About Reynolds’ Health

During the filming of City Heat alongside Clint Eastwood, Reynolds sustained an injury while performing a stunt, resulting in a hairline fracture in his jaw that eventually developed into TMJ syndrome. This condition made it extremely difficult for him to eat, leading to significant weight loss. At the time, rumors were circulating about him having AIDS. The excruciating pain he experienced led him down a path of addiction to painkillers, and he nearly lost his life when he attempted to abruptly quit them. Unfortunately, he battled with this addiction for many years.

(Photo by United Artists/Getty Images)

Burt Went Pie to Pie with ‘Double Dare’ Host Marc Summers

After Burt Reynolds finished his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1994, he moved aside to make room for the next guest, TV show host Marc Summers from Double Dare. Reynolds seemed visibly annoyed when Summers turned his back on him while he was speaking to Leno. Summers cheekily remarked, “I’m still married, by the way.” This playful jab sparked a water fight between the two, with Reynolds pouring his mug onto Summers’ lap and Summers retaliating. The playful squabble escalated into a chaotic pie fight, ultimately ending with a visibly reluctant hug.

Burt Reynolds Declared a Co-star the One That Got Away

Reynolds and Sally Field met while making the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit. They dated for five years in the 1980s before calling it quits. For years to come, Burt would lament that Field was the one that got away.

(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

“I miss her terribly,” Reynolds told Vanity Fair in 2015. “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.”

Marlon Brando Allegedly Depised Reynolds

During his early days in the film industry, Burt Reynolds held deep admiration for Marlon Brando. Unfortunately, Brando did not reciprocate this sentiment. When Reynolds was being considered for the iconic role of Michael Corleone in 1972’s The Godfather, Brando vehemently expressed his opposition, stating that he would withdraw from the project if Reynolds was cast. Regrettably, this resulted in yet another significant missed opportunity for Burt. Could it be because Reynolds once did a spot-on impression of a young Brando on The Twilight Zone? Perhaps…