Burton Leon Reynolds Jr. (born February 11, 1936 in Waycross, Georgia) is an American actor of (partial) Cherokee descent. He may be best remembered as the "Bandit" in the 1977 hit film Smokey and the Bandit and the film's two sequels, Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) and Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983).
Reynolds attended Florida State University on a college football scholarship, becoming an all-star Southern Conference halfback. After a knee injury in 1955 and then a debilitating car accident, Reynolds switched from athletics to college drama and won the 1956 Florida State Drama Award. He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts National Football League team, but he never played professional football.
Reynolds won a scholarship to the Hyde Park Playhouse and moved to upstate New York. He did gigs as a stuntman for television programs until he was "discovered" in a revival of Mister Roberts in New York City and signed to a television acting contract. He made his Broadway debut in Look, We've Come Through.
Reynolds first starred on television, in the 1950s series Riverboat. His film debut was in 1961, in the movie Angel Baby. His breakout performance in Deliverance (1972) made him a star.
Reynolds gained additional notoriety in 1972 when he posed in the April (Vol. 172, No. 4) issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine. It is said to be the first centerfold of a (near) nude male.
During the first half of the 1990s, he was the star of the CBS television series Evening Shade, for which he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1991). In 1997, Reynolds was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Boogie Nights and won a Golden Globe Award for the movie. Reynolds has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Reynolds has also directed a few movies, the best-known being Sharky's Machine, released in 1981.
Reynolds was married to actress Judy Carne from 1963 - 1965 and actress Loni Anderson from 1988 - 1993 and had relationships with other actresses such as Sally Field and Dinah Shore. He andAnderson adopted their son, Quinton in 1988.The divorce from Loni Anderson became a highly publicized, bitter feud.
The bad press from his divorce caused Reynolds' already slowing career to nosedive and he had to declare bankruptcy in late 1996. Reynolds started a comeback with the movie Striptease (1996), and the critically acclaimed Boogie Nights (1997) put his career back on track. In early 2000, he created and toured Burt Reynolds' One Man Show. His autobiography, titled My Life, was published in 1994.This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Burt Reynolds".