Burt Reynolds has passed away at the age of 82.
It’s such a sad way to begin or end something like this, especially a man whose career spanned 60+ years. The guy was an athlete, an actor, a stuntman, and hot head from all accounts. He also made me laugh my head off with his crazy antics.
I’d never forget when I was a kid, mom would turn on the TV and if she found Hooper or Stroker Ace, we would immediately watch it. Mom loved those comedies, and she passed on that sort of love to me. Though I preferred Hooper to Stroker Ace, and Cannonball Run to either of those, he will always be the Bandit to me. The first time I watched Smokey and the Bandit, I marveled at this crazy man in a Black Trans Am who just tore up street after street as he avoided Sheriff Buford T. Justice. Not only was Burt a legend by this point, but he was surrounded by them too. Sally Fields (Gidget, the Flying Nun) & Jackie Gleason (Ralph Kramden of the Honeymooners), along with music man Jerry Reed just made for one of the most fun movie experiences of my young life. It may sound ridiculous to say it, but it’s true. To this day I’ll break that movie out of mothballs because I have to see it. I’ve got Reed’s East Bound and Down on my mp3 list. My young self often watched it and said “I wish I could have such a wild time like that”, even though I learned when I got older that this was far from an ideal situation to be in.
I also remember a little show called Evening Shade, which was on CBS for something like 4 or 5 years. Retired football star becomes coach of the High School football team. Watching it felt like the ideal country setting I wished I had lived in vs. the one I actually had. Honestly, it was just a fun little show that proved that big screen or small, the man could be a lead actor and let the people around him shine just as brightly.
I know this is just a rambling little blurb, and I apologize for that. I’m processing this as I type, and realize perhaps it would’ve been better to wait awhile before I attempted this. If truth be told, I could sum this up very quickly. Much love and respect be with Burt and his loved ones at this time. He was a large part of people’s lives for many years, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Rest well, good brother. May you find peace on the other side.