Happy Birthday Burt Reynolds! From “White Lightning” To Cosmo Centerfold! America’s Hottest Star Of The 70’s!

burt reynolds

Movie fans have a reason to celebrate – it was Burt Reynolds’ birthday!

As he himself would say:

“We’re about to make film history, right here… on videotape.”

Burt Reynolds was born on February 11, 1936 – he grew up in Riviera Beach, Florida, right next to Palm Beach. His father, Burt Sr., eventually became Chief of Police!

Reynolds worked as a stuntman – as well as small tv and movie roles, before starring in several TV shows in the 60’s, which led to work in movie westerns….

Then, in 1972 he starred in one of the most acclaimed and controversial films ever – and it propelled him to stardom…


Deliverance.

The story of four men who decide to take a river rafting trip through the backwoods of Georgia…with Reynolds as the “tough as nails” adventurer who doesn’t think the others are up to it:


Lewis: Can that chubby boy handle himself?
Ed: Bobby? He’s rather well thought of in his field, Lewis.
Lewis: Insurance? I never been insured in my life. There’s no risk.

“Deliverance” was one of the most iconic films of the 70′s, nominated for Best Picture, and it has the iconic movie line:

“Squeal like a pig!”

If you haven’t seen this brilliant movie, check out new blu-ray and DVD versions that have documentaries and commentary attached, and they are all worth viewing – and of course, there are the “dueling banjos!”

I posted a story recently about the casting of this film, when it was revealed that Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson were considered for it! See more here:

https://johnrieber.com/2015/09/20/squeal-like-a-pig-marlon-brandos-deliverance-cult-classic-casting-coup/

His breakout performance in Deliverance in 1972 made Reynolds a star. The same year, Reynolds gained even more notoriety when he posed naked in the April issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine – a landmark moment in publishing.

Burt’s Sexy Centerfold!

Yes, Reynolds shocked the entertainment world when he posed nude in Cosmopolitan magazine – as their centerfold!

Reynolds later claimed the centerfold in Cosmopolitan hurt the chances for Deliverance at the Oscars – and the film’s stars, including himself, didn’t get Academy Award nominations because of it. Regardless, this cemented his place as a 70’s Superstar, leading to a number of huge box office hits, like this one:

The Longest Yard

This 1974 classic stars Reynolds as a pro football Quarterback who gets in trouble with the law and ends up in a grimy prison, run by Eddie Albert…

Check out the trailer:

This was a perfect role for him: not only was he the biggest star in the world at the time, but Reynolds was a great football player, first for Florida State University and then was drafted by the Baltimore Colts!

Reynolds plays Paul Crewe, a pro football player-turned-convict – who organizes a team of inmates to play against a team of prison guards. That’s right: convicts versus GUARDS!


Paul Crewe: You know what my problem has been all my life? I’ve always had my shit together. Always. My problem’s been I couldn’t lift it.

“The Longest Yard” is one of the best sports movies ever, and Burt was great.

Burt-Reynolds

Half A ‘Stache!

Reynolds had a great sense of humor, as evidenced when he went on The Tonight Show and shaved half his mustache off for a stunned Johnny Carson!

He was also a gifted comic actor, as evidenced by the arrow through his head – and he used that goofy humor to good box office effect in action comedies like this one:

Fuzz!

Police in Boston search for a mad bomber trying to extort money from the city. The cops in charge of finding this “mad bomber” are Burt Reynolds, Racquel Welch and Tom Skerritt.

According to IMDB, Raquel Welch did not like Burt Reynolds because of unsavory comments he made while they were filming “100 Rifles” together.

So, in “Fuzz” Welch insisted that she not have any direct scenes with Reynolds! The closest they get is during an interrogation scene. Still, the movie was a huge hit, in large part because of Reynolds and his comic ability.

See more about Raquel, Burt and their legendary catfight here:

https://johnrieber.com/2016/07/18/raquel-welch-dinosaur-slayer-burt-reynolds-feud-seinfeld-catfight-a-million-reasons-to-love-this-iconic-sex-kitten/

Reynolds went on to star in some of the biggest hits of the 70’s, like these “good ol’ boy” action thrillers:

Both are now on blu-ray, so you can relive the wild days of the 70’s yourself! You can see more about these films, including their trailers, here:

https://johnrieber.com/2015/02/22/suck-down-some-white-lightning-hicksploitation-burt-reynolds-gator-good-ol-boy-action-classics/

Reynolds made many hit comedies as well, like the action spectacle “Smokey And The Bandit”. During the first half of the 1990s, he was the star of the CBS comedy “Evening Shade”, for which he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1991).

Modern movie fans will recognize him for this masterpiece:


Now, an important word from Jack Horner!

Reynolds starred in “Boogie Nights” as Adult Film Director Jack Horner, who offered some words about how complex and expensive moviemaking can be…

Jack Horner: Before you turn around, you’ve spent maybe 20, 25, 30 thousand dollars on a movie!

Boogie Nights!

This is, quite simply, one of the best movies ever made, pure and simple – and one of Reynolds’ best performances.

“We’re about to make film history, right here… on videotape.”

Paul Thomas Anderson directed this epic look at the rise of a adult film superstar, and his journey through the changing world of porn, from the “innocent” days of the 70’s into the drug-fueled 80’s.

Inspired by the tragic story of John C. Holmes – aka “Johnny Wadd”, Mark Wahlberg does an amazing job as Eddie Adams, who is “discovered” by an adult movie Director – due to his “unique” talent – and overnight becomes porn superstar Dirk Diggler!

Adult Film Director Jack Horner Knows What Sells!

Reynolds put it all out there as the Veteran Film Director, which lines like this:

Jack Horner: I got a feeling that behind those jeans is something wonderful just waiting to get out.

Burt Reynolds was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance and took home a Golden Globe Award. He was considered a front-runner for the Supporting Oscar, but ultimately lost to Robin Williams, for “Good Will Hunting”. I can watch this movie any day of the week…a masterpiece.

Time to watch some Burt and celebrate his birthday!



Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Comedy Movies, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Golden Globes, Great Films, Hollywood, Independent Cinema, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Movies About Movies, Obscure Movies, Revenge Movies, Sexploitation Movies, Sports, Sports Movies, Talent/Celebrities

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4 replies

  1. Burt Reynolds so many stories. I get the impression especially if I was a woman he would’ve pissed me off with some of the things he said but he was definitely one of the biggest stars in the world for a long time and he has his share of regrets. Ultimately he’s a character and they are in short supply these days. He guest hosted the tonight show, let women objectify him at a time when that was radical. Funny story about Longest Yard, they played with professional players and he told his co-stars whatever you do don’t tell me you played college football because then they’ll kill us. Needless to say one of his co-stars didn’t follow his advice. There’s a million stories like that he can tell. Fascinating individual.

    • Unfortunately his last couple of decades don’t seem to be good for him, and I simply don’t know why he would trash “Boogie Nights” – but then again Mark Wahlberg now says it’s the biggest mistake of his career – what an idiot

  2. Burt and Ollie share a birthday, that’s great! ( I will let Ollie know…)
    I would also like to add my birthday greetings to Burt’s wigs and toupees. May they enjoy life as long as Burt does. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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