The charismatic Hollywood actor with the great moustache has passed away at the age of 82 from a reported heart attack.
A Hollywood icon and heartthrob during the 1970s, Reynolds was loved for playing the genial tough guy in films like The Longest Yard (1974), Gator (1976), Smokey and the Bandit (1977), and The Cannonball Run (1981) – as well his role alongside Dolly Parton in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) – in a career that spanned six decades.
He’s also remembered for the parts he turned down, like Han Solo in Star Wars and John McClane in Die Hard.
Born in Michigan, Reynolds began acting in TV series like Gunsmoke during the ‘60s, after injuries prevented him from becoming a professional football player. His Hollywood breakout role came in 1972, as the macho Lewis in John Boorman’s classic backwoods thriller Deliverance (1972), which he has called his best film by far.
Reynolds returned to TV during the ‘90s before making a big screen comeback as adult filmmaker Jack Horner in Boogie Nights (1997), for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
“My being nominated this year is no comeback story, because I simply refused to go away,” he said.
Recently cast in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Reynolds was yet to shoot any scenes at the time of his death.
He was also loved for his self-deprecating humour. “I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun making fun of myself,” he has said.
“As to my legacy, it’s the kids that I have taught. I love this business so very much that I want to share my knowledge about it. Being a good teacher. I’ll take that over being a good actor any day.”