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Smokey and the Bandit star Burt Reynolds has died
The star of madcap car movies and one of TG’s favourite action men passes on
Burt Reynolds has died, aged 82.
To most of us, Reynolds was synonymous with feel-good vehicular romps like Smokey and the Bandit – which we recreated, to limited success, four decades later – and he was something of a hirsute hero in the TG office. For some of us, that extended from back when we were in short trousers. OK, so our mums definitely didn’t let us watch Deliverance while we were growing up but, in the movies we saw, Burt was the smiling renegade that we cheered on to a series of fairly incredible victories.
Those who knew him said that he both reflected and conflicted with his cavalier on-screen persona – he was strong-willed and openly hilarious, and yet was wracked with a self-doubt completely at odds with the brash braggadocio of Bo ‘Bandit’ Darville.
Regardless, Reynolds insisted on doing as many of his own stunts as possible. This resulted in, at worst, a shattered jaw and, at best, some of the greatest dirt-road powerslides ever committed to film.
But in our minds, it’s his self-effacing nature and wonderful allergy to nonsense that earned our hero-worship – such as when he spoke to The New York Times back in his Seventies heyday, saying, “I think I’m the only movie star who’s a movie star in spite of his pictures, not because of them; I’ve had some real turkeys.”
Smokey and the Bandit really is just an OK film, but it is replete with excellent powerslides and a little insight into the way that Reynold’s charisma held otherwise simplistic movies together. So, if you’ve not done it already, give it a watch this weekend. We know we will.