Quint Asper, Gunsmoke (1962-65)
Legendary actor Burt Reynolds died on Thursday at the age of 82 following a long Hollywood career, which began in 1958. One of his early roles was on the legendary TV Western Gunsmoke. He joined the cast in 1962 playing a mixed race blacksmith named Quint Asper, appearing on nearly 50 episodes between 1962 and 1965.
Lewis Medlock, Deliverance (1971)
Reynolds’ first majorly memorable feature film role was as Lewis Medlock, one of the four Atlanta men who embarked on a harrowing outdoors journey in Deliverance. Reynolds portrayed a skilled outdoorsman who murders a rapist, setting off a chain of dangerous events. During one scene, his character famously goes over a waterfall. Reynolds later revealed he nearly drowned while filming it.
Paul Crewe, The Longest Yard (1974)
Reynolds left an indelible mark on sports movie history with his portrayal of Paul Crewe, a former NFL player who leads his fellow prison inmates in a football game against their cruel guards. It shot on location at Georgia State Prison and featured many former professional football players in the cast. Reynolds himself had played college football at Florida State before injuries sidelined his sports career.
Bandit, Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
In 1977, Reynolds donned a cowboy hat for one of his most iconic roles: Bandit in Smokey and the Bandit, a role he reprised in two sequels. After agreeing to haul bootlegged Coors beer across the south, Bandit becomes involved in a lengthy high-speed chase alongside Sally Field’s runaway bride Carrie.
The films introduced two generations of the Pontiac Trans Am, as well as sparked a romance between Reynolds and Field. In 2018, Reynolds named Field the “love of his life.”
Billy Clyde Puckett, Semi-Tough (1977)
As a former football player himself, Reynolds excelled at this role. While portraying Billy Clyde Puckett, Reynolds finds himself caught in a love triangle with his two roommates — Marvin “Shake” Tiller (Kris Kristofferson) and Barbara Jane (Jill Clayburgh). The film was both a romantic comedy and a send-up of the late 1970s new age, self-improvement movement.
J.J. McClure, The Cannonball Run (1981)
A co-production with Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest films, this comedy action film was based on an actual 1979 illegal cross-country road race from Connecticut to California. Reynolds excelled at car chase films almost as much as he did at playing football players, and The Cannonball Run made for a perfect complement to the Smokey and the Bandit films. It was a movie packed with recognizable talent including Farrah Fawcett, Jackie Chan, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Terry Bradshaw.
Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)
In a big departure for him, Reynolds jumped into a leading role in a musical and sang onscreen opposite leading lady Dolly Parton. Based on the 1978 Broadway show of the same name, Reynolds portrays Sheriff Dodd who has a special understanding with Parton’s brothel owner, Miss Mona Stangley. The movie was also notable for featuring the first onscreen version of Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” later immortalized by Whitney Houston.
Wood Newton, Evening Shade (1990-94)
Reynolds returned to television to headline four seasons of the CBS sitcom Evening Shade, in which he once again played a football player. He did 98 episodes as Wood Newton, a former member of the Pittsburgh Steelers who retires to Evening Shade, Ark., to coach a high school football team with a losing streak. Reynolds reportedly requested his character be a former Steelers player because he was a fan of the team.
Jack Horner, Boogie Nights (1997)
Reynolds earned his one and only Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor for his work as Jack Horner, an adult film director. He starred alongside up-and-coming stars Mark Wahlberg, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, and more. Though Reynolds clashed with director Paul Thomas Anderson, the film is regarded as some of their best work individually.
Coach Nate Scarborough, The Longest Yard (2005)
Reynolds joined Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in this remake of his 1974 hit. Sandler stepped into Reynolds’ shoes as disgraced football player Paul Crewe, while Reynolds took on a new role as the inmates’ coach Nate Scarborough. It went on to become one of the highest grossing comedy remakes post-1980.
Jefferson Davis 'Boss' Hogg, The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
Reynolds got to ham it up as the villainous Jefferson Davis ‘Boss’ Hogg in this big-screen adaptation of the popular 1980s television show of the same name. Hogg is a crooked county commissioner who seeks to torment the Duke family and twist scenarios for his political gain.
Vic Edwards, The Last Movie Star (2017)
Reynolds continued to work steadily in film and television until his death, but the role of Vic Edwards was one that allowed him to dig into his own history and image. He stars as a washed-up former movie star who is convinced to attend a low-rent film festival to accept an award and finds new meaning in life and his career along the way. The film draws heavily upon imagery and clips from Reynolds own career.