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Burt Reynolds

Real name: Burton Leon Reynolds Jr.
Birthdate: February 11, 1936
Status: Dating
Partner: Pam Seals

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Burt is one of America's most recognizable film and television personalities. With more than 90 feature film and 300 television episode credits, he was the number-one box-office attraction for five straight years (1978-82) a record no one else has ever achieved, with vehicles like Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run.

With his college football career ended, Reynolds considered becoming a police officer, but his father suggested that he finish college and become a parole officer. In order to keep up with his studies he began taking classes at Palm Beach Junior College (PBJC) in neighboring Lake Park. In his first term at PBJC Reynolds was in a class taught by Watson B. Duncan III. Duncan pushed Reynolds into trying out for a play he was producing, Outward Bound. He cast Reynolds in the lead, based on his impressions from listening to Reynolds read Shakespeare in class. Reynolds won the 1956 Florida State Drama Award for his performance in Outward Bound. Reynolds calls Duncan his mentor and the most-influential person in his life.

Reynolds worked odd jobs while waiting for acting opportunities. He waited tables, washed dishes, drove a delivery truck and worked as a bouncer at the Roseland Ballroom. It was while working as a dockworker that Reynolds was offered $150 to jump through a glass window on a live television show.

Reynolds claims he was offered the role of James Bond by producer Albert R. Broccoli, after Sean Connery left the franchise. Reynolds turned the role down, saying "An American can't play James Bond. It just can't be done." In 1973, he released the album Ask Me What I Am. He would also sing in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

He starred in the audio book version of The Worst Case Scenario Handbook. In May 2006, Reynolds began appearing in Miller Lite beer commercials. In 2007 at the World Stuntman Awards he was awarded the Taurus Lifetime Achievement Award. While presenting him with the award Arnold Schwarzenegger referred to him as the greatest of the great.

Although Reynolds had already made eleven films, his performance as Lewis, the macho Atlanta businessman in the 1972 film adaptation of James Dickey's novel Deliverance, signaled the beginning of his box-office popularity. Hailed as one of the year's best films, Deliverance is the story of four suburbanites' harrowing journey into Appalachian Georgia. Filmed on Georgia's Chattooga River, Deliverance also marked the beginning of Reynolds's devotion to making films in and about the South.

The following year Reynolds was persuaded to play the role of a moonshiner in the film White Lightning after the filmmakers promised to shoot in the South. White Lightning, which was filmed in Arkansas, broke attendance records nationwide, and the film's success encouraged Hollywood studios to make more southern films. In 1976 Reynolds both starred in and made his directorial debut with Gator, the sequel to White Lightning. Deciding to shoot Gator entirely in Georgia, Reynolds announced that “I have this violent urge to get behind the camera... I want to say some nice things about the South.”

Reynolds's next film, The Cannonball Run 1981, was shot almost entirely in Georgia, referred to as "Burt's good luck state" by the director, Hal Needham. That same year Reynolds directed and starred in Sharky's Machine. Filmed entirely in Atlanta, the movie features Reynolds as a narcotics officer investigating the murder of a prostitute in the city.


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