Burt Reynolds

  1. Peter Brown, Sayonara, 1957.  Fresh into Hollywood from Florida, Burton Leon Reynolds Jr. hadn’t even won his first TV gig – Flight, 1958 – when he was seen about being Marlon Brando’s US Air Force buddy, Captain Mike Bailey.  But Garner had four films and three TV roles under his belt. And, anyway,  in those days,  Burt resembled Marlon far too much to share a film with him. Unless they were playing  brothers.

  2. Barry Coe, But Not For Me, 1959.         Or: How To Lose Your First Featured Film Role Break…  Burt was flown from New York to Hollywood to test with his idol,  Clark Gable.  “He was big and friendly and likeable.  The only thing he said to me on  the set that day was: ‘You duck hunt? ‘ And I said: No. Then, he turned to Barry Coe who was also trying out for the role and asked him the same question. Barry said: ‘Yeah, I hunt duck.’ Right away I knew I’d blown my chance…  Barry got the role –  and also went duck hunting with Gable, I guess.”

  3. Jim Hutton, Where The Boys Are, 1959.        Producer Joe Pasternak was reported as selecting  unknowns  (Reynolds, Sean Flynn, etc) to battle the power of big Hollywood stars. Total bull! The top roles were for jeanagers  (few of whom were A Stars) and, anyway, unknowns were cheaper. 

  4. Noah Beery Jr., Riverboat, TV, 1959-1960.       Reynolds split from his TV debut due to continual disputes during 18 chapters with the show’s star, Darren McGavin. For the next 20 tales, Beery took over… as a thinly disguised other character.
  5. Russ Tamblyn, West Side Story, 1961.      As plain nutty  as the idea of Angie Dickinson for Maria!  In the following years, Tamblyn’s decline was even more rapid than  Burt’s proved to be.
  6. Jack Nicholson, The Broken Land, 1961.  For the fifth wheel called Will Brocious, the non-credited co-producer Roger Corman had the choice of Jack or Burt.  No choice really, even back then.  The B-oater lasted an hour and Nicholson wrote and improvised Brocious in his first of three Cormanias. Roger shot most of it in four days, the second-unit worked took a further nine months, with six directors including Coppola and Nicholson! Burt, as we shall; see, would pass five other movies to Jack:  The Last Detail, 1973;  One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, 1974; Terms of Endearment, 1983 (“biggest mistake of my life”);  Prizzi’s Honour, 1984; Midnight Run, 1987.  “They all would have changed my career, without a doubt,”
  7. Paul Newman, Sweet Bird of Youth, 1961.  Here we go again. Raddled spinster meets hot stud.  We are back in Tennessee Williams country Tennessee Williams country (The Glass Streetcar Named Iguana!). With – for once –  the top three players of the 1959 Broadway play retained for the f;lm.  Geraldine Page as the Hollywood has been; Page’s husband Rip Torn  (their Big Apple postbox was marked Torn Page!) as a sadistic Tom Junior; and Paul;  Newman as the sneaky gigolo, Chance Wayne. Torn took over that role on the US tour and nearly in the film, when Newman suddenly quit. Before he changed his mind back again,  writer-director Richard Brooks had  examined Burt Reynolds, Dean  Stockwell … even Elvis Presley – as if Colonel Parker was going to let  his money-machine  play a gigolo.
  8. Rod Lauren,  The Crawling Hand, 1962.       Too wooden in two screen-tests – not to mention too old at 26 –  Reynolds lost the teenager Paul Lawrence.   If that made Burt  wonder  about any future as an actor, all he had to do was look at Chicagoan Syd Saylor in the movie – playing his 425th and final role!    Lauren’s real name was Strunk.  Close. 
  9. Adam West, Batman, TV, 1966-1968.   Or so he once said…   We knew about Mike Henry, who won Tarzan instead (and was in Sheriff Jackie Gleason’s son, Junior, in  all of Burt’s Smokey and the Bandits). And about Lyle Waggoner, who tested with Peter RJ Devell as his Robin while West and Burt Ward were doing the same, only winning. Burt rarely mentioned his Batexperience. He was also in the Superman mix in 1977.
  10. John Cassavetes, Rosemary’s Baby, 1967.      Doesn’t sound much like Roman Polanski  casting…  but then  Burt wasn’t good ole boy Burt back then.

  11. Elliott Gould, M*A*S*H, 1969.  
    Refusing Trapper John delayed his career taking off for three eayrs – until Deliverance.  Was just the start: he also passed on Rocky, Taxi Driver, Pretty Woman, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Terms of Endearment – the worst refusal rate since George Raft’s. “I kept thinking back to films that I had turned down, and the films, when I saw [them]  later, I was glad I turned them down.  But there are some films   I wish I’d done...  But you’ve got to follow your heart and not your head sometimes. I haven’t made the best decisions about some pictures, and I realise that, but I did the best I could.” Skerritt happened to call director Robert Altman one day.   “He said: Hang up, I’ll call you back.  The next day I was in M*A*S*H. If I had not called that day I really doubt I would have been. The studio was pushing for a bigger name – Burt Reynolds. Bob was pushing back.

  12. Robert Blake, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, 1970.      “There was a four-picture clause in the contract.  That could’ve given me a lot of money but I just didn’t see myself being trapped into doing several stinkeroos.” Or, as in Blake’s case,  one TV series…  and a 2001 murder charge.
  13. James Franciscus, Beneath The Planet of the Apes, 1970.      Considered for Brent, until Franciscus was chosen because he resembled Charlton Heston – as if that was important.  Heston  reprised his original  role on condition  that Taylor died in this  (first) sequel.
  14. Sean Connery, Diamonds Are Forever, 1972.

  15. Al Pacino, The Godfather, 1971.
  16. James Caan, The Godfather, 1971.

  17. Roger Moore,  Live and Let Die,  1973.
  18. Jack Nicholson, The Last Detail, 1973.      Columbia said Burt, Jim Brown and David Cassidy – Smokey and the Shore Patrol ! – when it was Jack who had his pal, Robert Towne script   Darryl Ponicsan’s novel in the first place! Could have shot Burt’s career far from bandit’s cannonballs.
  19. Sean Connery, Zardoz, 1974.      Double hernia – ordered to rest for three months by doctors. UK director John Boorman located a bonus – “on a golf course in Spain… Sean doesn’t shilly-shally. He was in Ireland for script talks within a couple of days – extraordinarily imaginative, supportive, assured.” When Connery quit Bondage, Burt was rejected as a new 007 for being “only a stuntman.”
  20. Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, 1974.
  21. Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver, 1975.

  22. Rod Taylor, A Matter of Wife and Death, TV, 1975.  Burt was due to make this sequel to his 1972 private dick thriller, Shamus – yeah,  just like Frank Sinatra was supposed to the first Shamus McCoy. Robert Weitman produced both films. Rod Taylor enjoyed himself. No one else did.
  23. William Devane, Family Plot, 1975.  Reynolds was up for a Hitchcock film right after losing his (above) Shamus sequel to the star of Hitch’s 1962 Birds. (From Hitch to TV in 13 years!).  Hitch called  his (alas, final)  film a runaway car ride. Reynolds obviously understood that… Hitch looked him over in The Longest Yard – and found Ed Lauter for Maloney. Hitchcock was prepping The Short Night when he died, at age 80,  on April 29, 1980.
  24. Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, 1976.
  25. James Brolin, Gable and Lombard, 1976.      An obvious first choice. Although David Janssen would have been perfect.  “There are some films I wish I’d done.,” he confessed in the Mike Fleming interview. “But you’ve got to follow your heart and not your head sometimes. I haven’t made the best decision about some pictures, and I realise that, but I did the best I could.  I would’ve liked to have had a shot at James Bond, if for no other reason, I’d be very rich now, and I could’ve had a good time with him. I would’ve at least smiled once in a while, whereas the new guy  [Daniel Craig] doesn’t even chuckle.”  
  26. Harrison Ford, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,  1976.

  27. Keith Carradine, Pretty Baby, 1977.  
    The plot sickens…   
    A prostitute allows her 12-year-old  daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light district of  New Orleans, circa 1917. French director Louis Malle saw 29 hopefuls and/or instant (parental) refusals for pretty  little Violet… 15 actresses for her mother… and 19 guys for for the real life, misshapen, hydrocephallic photographer Ernest J. Bellocq, whose Storyville work of the epoch influenced the style of the surprisingly elegant film. Oskar Werner talked himself out of it. “Has to be an American actor,” he told Malle. That’s how Robert Redford was first choice, Jack Nicholson second..  Then before falling for  Keith Carradine, Malle saw Jeff Bridges, Albert Brooks, James Caan, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood (he didn’t take up photography until The Bridges of Madison County, 1994),  the new in town Mel Gibson, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Christopher Reeve (about to make us believe a man could fly), future director Rob Reiner, John Travolta (more into Grease)… Plus one sole  Brit, Malcolm McDowell .and such  flat out surprises as Joe Pesci (!!), Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone  (prepping FIST), and even Christopher Walken.

  28. Kris Kristofferson, Convoy, 1977.   Burt (and Steve McQueen) apparently had qualms about playing a hero called Rubber Duck. Sam Peckinpah was allowed full control by the EMI suits who didn’t know (or care?) about his reliance on coke, quaaludes and vitamin shots, He respun it as a modern Western, ran two months and $3m over schedule and kept claiming that McQueen and the Executive Car Leasing Company (!)  were out to kill him. The film was wrenched from him and edited to be like  Smokey and the Bandit andSam never got another gig for five years.. Now that would have been a better movie.  
  29. Christopher Reeve, Superman, 1977.
  30. Michael Caine, Beyond The Poseidon Adventure, 1978.     More like beyond the pale…Producer Irwin Allen wanted Reynolds. The Warner suits voted Clint Eastwood – of course. And Allen was staggered by Duke’s interest. That would push the film – about a sunken, upside down cruise liner stuck on an underwater volcano – to a whole other level. Beyond what co-star Angela Cartwright called : “a film about water, fire and stunts.”    All the suggested leads fled because… they read the scrip!   So did Caine and Sally Field, but they admitted they made it for the money.

  31. Jon Voight, Coming Home, 1978.   Chasing Oscar-worthy work, he felt he lost this one due to Jon’s   friendship with co-star Jane Fonda.
  32. James Caan, Chapter Two, 1979.    Caan called it a   piece of Neil Simon crap. Burt preferred to battle Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford   for Starting Over.
  33. Alan Alda, California Suite, 1978.     Neil Simon loses again. Not even co-starring with Jane Fonda was temptation enough for the selfish egomaniac  – more asshole than ole country boy.
  34. David Warner, Time Bandits, 1980.     Exec producer Dennis O’Brien, said Michael Palin, started hurling suggestions with “all the hallmarks of a man more desperate about a bank loan than about anything to do with the quality of script.” Including Burt as the Evil Genius… and Art Carney as Winston The Ogre.
  35. Harrison Ford, Blade Runner, 1981.      UK wiz Ridley Scott spent a long time sniffing out the perfect Deckard.  From top notchers SeanConnery, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman (the first choice was keen… on making it a totally different character, of course), Robert Mitchum, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino…  to such excellent journeymen as William Devane, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, Frederic Forrest, Scott Glenn, Tommy Lee Jones, Raul Julia, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken.  Martin Sheen was too exhausted after Apocalypse Now. In sheer desperation, choices lowered to Cliff Gorman, Judd Hirsch. Even the Virginian Morgan Paull stood a chance, having played Deckard in Scott’s tests of potential Rachaels. (He was given Holden for his pains). Plus Arnold Schwarzenegger, not yet seen as Conan, much less Terminator.  And for probably the last time in such an illustrious list,  Burt’s  fading star.
  36. Nick Nolte, 48 Hrs, 1982.    ”You’re gonna be sorry you ever met me” /”’I’m already sorry.” Producer Larry Gordon was prepping the scenario at another studio – for Burt and Richard Pryor. Then, producer Don  Simpson brought it to Paramount.  As a vehicle for, at first, Nolte and Gregory Hines.  Next? Mickey  Rourke was to be the cop stuck with paroled criminal, Howard E. Rollins Jr or Denzel Washington?  While  in the San Francisco PD mix were Jeff Bridges, Clint Eastwood (he wanted to be the hood), Kris Kistofferson, Michael Lerner, Sylvester Stallone.
  37. Michael Nouri, Flashdance, 1982.    Potential Nick Hurleys were: Reynolds, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner (runner-up to Nouri), Live Aid creator Bob Geldof, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, rocker Gene Simmons, John Travolta… plus such surprises as Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacinoand Joe Pesci! At 36, Nouri was double the age of the flashdancing Jennifer Beals.

  38. Jack Nicholson, Terms of Endearment, 1983.
    Biggest mistake of my life. I could’ve won an Oscar.”   Not really. He would have played  it like The Bandit .  “I refused because it wasn’t the lead role, because he wanted me to do it without  my wig, because it was not enough money, because the character was completely different to my image.” And because Burt was a fool… Instead of the role written for him by James L Brooks (and a future profit cut of $4,989,000), Burt did the good ole boy thang of staying loyal to his buddy, director Hal Needham  – for what proved an enormous loser, Stroker Ace. “I felt I owed Hal more than I did Jim.” Universal  would have obviously waited for him but, he says, nobody told him that. “The astronaut was the uncastable part,” said Brooks. “Needed a big male star but it is too short and the actor has to give up his vanity…  I’ll take Jack Nicholson any time I can get him.”  As he did again for a shorter bit in Broadcast News, 1987, and winning another Oscar in As Good s It Gets, 1997.  “You can’t go back,” Burt told the Sydney Morning Herald. “You can’t relive that moment when you should have said: I’ll take it, I’ll do it.”

  39. Tom Hanks, Splash, 1983.   Producer Brian Grazer always said he got the idea when driving along  the Pacific Coast Highway and musing on mermaids. Or on AIP’s 1964 Beach Blanket Bingo which had Jody McCrea falling  (off his surfboard) for mermaid Jody Kristen…  Hanks always claimed he was director Ron Howard’s 11th choice for Allen Bauer in his breakthrough (mermaid) movie.  Sorry, Tom – 15th!  And here they be: Jeff Bridges, Chevy Chase, Richard Gere, Steve Guttenberg, John Heard, Michael Keaton (he also refused Alan’s brother, Freddie), stand-up Robert Klein, Kevin Kline, Dudley Moore, David Morse, Bill Murray (PJ Soles was to be his mermaid), Christopher Reeve, Burt Reynolds, John Travolta (his agent turned him off it!), and Robin Williams. “Ronnie made me a movie  star,” said Hanks.” That’s what he did.” He also booked Guttenberg for his next gig, Cocoon. (Channjng Tatum was due for a 2016 re-make – but as the mer-person opposite Jillian Bell as his human lady).

  40. F Murray Abraham, Amadeus, 1984.      An early idea of Czech director Milos Forman for Salieri…! Mick Jagger was another.  (Stop laughing, it’s true –  Rebecca De Mornay was in the same test).

  41. Michael Douglas, Romancing The Stone, 1984.    “I don’t believe I did all those bad films in a row until I looked at the list. I went to the well too many times.” And by 1991 he was back in a TV series. As he told Larry King on CNN: “There are no awards in Hollywood for being an idiot.”
  42. Jack Nicholson Prizzi’s Honour, 1984.      ”Do I ice her? Do I marry her?” Conundrum for Charley Partanna, hit-man for the Prizzi Family, when he falls for a fellow contractor: Kathleen Turner. John Huston had ten other Charley notions, each as mad as the other. Italians Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, even John Travolta made more sense than, say, Reynolds, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray, Ryan O’Neal, Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight.   Nichiolaon was the mst unlikely Brooklyn Mafioso since the Corleone’s James Caan, but terrific… Because Huston kept reminding him: ”Remember, he’s stupid!”  Not as much as Reynolds.
  43. Richard Gere, Power, 1986.        Burt had to tell director Sidney Lumet he was ill. Not with AIDS as media trumpeted, but the relatively unknown TMJ, temporodmandibular-joint disorder – a painful condition of the jaw joints – after being hit with “the wrong chair” (iron, not a breakaway) in a City Heat fight, 1984, Lumet was staggered when Gere asked: “Why do you want me in this part?” “No actor had ever asked me that before. It wasn’t arrogance but an extraordinary vulnerability and inquisitiveness.”
  44. Ted Danson, A Fine Mess, 1986.      Good sub-title for Burt’s career…  Writer-director Blake Edwards wanted Reynolds and Richard Pryor re-treading Laurel and Hardy’s Oscar-winning short, Music Box. He should have left such a magical mess alone.
  45. Gene Hackman, No Way Out, 1986.  For his excellent thriller (labyrinthine and ingenious, said Roger Ebert) the under-praised Aussie director Roger Donaldson tried all ages for the villain politico. From James Caan and Al Pacino at 46 to Gregory Peck at 70. Plus James Coburn, Sean Connery, James Cromwell, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Mitchum, Donald Moffat, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Jason Robards Donald Sutherland and Jon Voight.   Hackman was 56.

  46. Bruce Willis, Die Hard, 1987.     
    For once, the prerequisite Great Outsider won….There were 17 possible John McClanes.  From Tom Berenger, Michael Madsen and Willis to  top TV heroes  Richard Dean Anderson and Don Johnson to A-listers:  Burt, Charles Bronson, James Caan, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Nick Nolte, Al Pacino, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone… and Frank Sinatra?  Yes, well, Roderick Thorpe’s book, Nothing Lasts Forever, was sequel to The Detective  – that 1967 film  starred Sinatra (as Joe Leland,  changed here to  McClane) and so Sinatra had first dibs on any sequels. He passed. He was 73! In his 1980 movie his debut, The First Deadly Sin, Willis was seen leaving a bar as Sinatra walks in.   So it flows… He was soon taking roles from most of those on the McClane list.

  47. Billy Joel, Oliver & Company, 1987.    “Oliver Twist with dogs” is how Disney labelled the toon.  More like Oliver Twist AS dogs…  Steve Martin and Burt Reynolds were seen about voicing   Dodger (no longer Artful by name).  But singer Billy Joel; won the gig – auditioning by telephone – while  Burt crossed the street to Don Bluth’s toon shop and voiced Charlie in All Dogs Go to Heaven. (Oliver  was written by, among others, Tim Disney – great-nephew of the great Walt).
  48. Robert De Niro, Midnight Run,1987.   There were 23 possibilites for the lean, mean  skip-tracer (tracing felons who skipped bail) – on the run from the  FBI and the Mob after capturing Vegas embezzler Charles Grodin. Who knew De Niro could be more subtle at comedy than… Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Charles Bronson, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Don Johnson, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Ryan O’Neal (!), Al Pacino, Mickey Rourke, Kurt Russell, John Travolta, Jon Voight and even the musclebound Arnie and Sly – Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Director Martin Brest, that’s who.
  49. Jeff Bridges,  Tucker: The Man and His Dream, 1987.  Of  the 51 Tucker Torpedo sedan cars  that were made,  Francis Coppola and George Lucas have two each.  No they have a film.  The cars lasted longer… Coppola first envisaged his tribute to Preston Tucker (1903-1956) as a muslcal with a score by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green!  Coming aboard as exec producer, Lucas changed all that and “Francey” talked to Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson and Burt Reynolds (all too old) before choosing Jeff Bridges to immortalise the auto entrepreneur.
  50. Richard Chamberlain, The Bourne Identity, TV,1988.      UK director Jack Clayton’s movie plans became a typical Chamberlain mini-series. All that Robert Ludlum’s book deserved… until Matt Damon got hold of it in 2002.

  51. Pat Hingle, Batman, 1988.
  52. Richard Gere, Pretty Woman, 1989.
  53. Kevin Kline, Soapdish, 1990.       “All Hollywood will laugh at me,” yelled Mrs R, Loni Anderson – insisting Burt give up the lead opposite his ex-lover Sally Field. Reynolds said Sally had been a positive influence on his life. “How incredibly unselfish she was in terms of the time she spent with me. You know, inside that little body of hers is one of the strongest people I’ve ever met.”
  54. Ryan O’Neal, The Man Upstairs, 1992.  Escaped convict hides out in old lady’s house… OK, so that’s gotta mean Kate Hepburn, right?  Right!  But who could hold his own in scenes with Hepburn?  Well, not  Burt, it seems.  He was the producer  but apparently couldn’t find the time to act oposite Katherine the Great in her dying years. Amazing!   As usual, O’Neal was so-so but this was one of Kate’s greatest tele-movies – she made five during 1985-1994.
  55. William Hurt, The  Big Brass Ring, 1998.        Orson Welles’ last stand… His potential investors in 1984  said he must  get Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson or Robert Redford… for the gay Texas senator and Presidential hopeful. They all passed.  (So did the investors). Buddies Burt and Clint were wary  of  the gay angle, Redford was busy and Nicholson, of course, refused to lower his $2m salary (it equaled the proposed budget). Some 13 years  after Orson’s death,  Missouri auteur George Hickenlooper adapted the 1982-1987 Welles-Oja Kodar scenarios,  with Hurt running  for governor of Missouri (hah!) and  colliding into his past… his aged political mentor, the role Welles reserved for himself. Criticised for adapting Welles, Hickenlooper said: “Welles in many respects was the Shakespeare of the American cinema. So, if Welles adapted Shakespeare, why not adapt Welles?
  56. James Woods, Recess: School’s Out, 1998.   The suits felt Burt Reynolds was too sinister when voicing Philliam Benedict – and replaced him with James Woods. (Talk about sinister!).  Nicholson had first been asked for the toon character inspired by Peter Fonda’s role in their Easy Rider classic. So how come  they never asked him to do it?

  57. Jason Robards, Magnolia, 1999.      
    Paul Thomas Anderson’s previous film, Boogie Nights, had led to Reynolds’ first and only Oscar nomination.  And yet he was still arguing with the auteur on the promo trial and suddenly quit this work – remarkable on every level, from script and actors to a sudden rainstorm of frogs!  Said the foolish (or scared?) Reynolds:  “I’d done my picture with Paul Thomas Anderson, that was enough for me,” PTA had tried persuading Marlon Brano to be Tom Cruise’s dying father, “Big Earl“ Partridge. Robards, also dying, played it to perfection.  “Startling, innovative, hugely funny and powerfully, courageously moving,” said Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers. No wonder Ingmar Bergman loved it! Burt said he was uncomfortable with Boogie Nights –  more than with  his Striptease. 1995? That was  so sleazy that  Michael Caine, Gene Hackman and Donald Sutherland  refused it! Burt still hated Boogie Nights – and refused to see it.  Ever foolish, he  then fired his  agent… before his  Oscar nomination!  Which he lost for denigrating the very film he was nominated for!  Foolish? No, plain dumb ass  stupid. 

  58. Christopher McDonald, The Iron Giant, 1998. The character was Mansley, the very mansly BUP agent – Bureau of Unexplained Phenomena – investigating sigthtings of  the 50ft metal-eating robot created by  the  British Poet Laureate  Ted Hughes.  So the antagonism should come from who? Alec Baldwin, Tommy Lee Jones, Burt Reynolds or Arnold Schwarzenegger?  Answer: None of ‘em! The toon’s director, Brad Bird, went for the lesser known McDobnald. Bird went on to make Pixar’s The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Tom’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

  59. Eric Roberts, Luck of the Draw, 1999.  Rourke was dropped afcter insisting on doing one scene with his pet chihuahua.  Roberts left his pets at home.  Co-star Dennis Hopper was referring to fil ;m likle this onew when he declared: “I’ve made a lot of movies that are only shown in Eastern Europe and Fiji.”   His George Romero horror, Land of the Dead, 2004, was, however, banned in Ukraine!

  60. Matt Damon, The Bourne Identity, 2000.   Crowe, Matthew McConnaughey, Brad Pitt  (instead, he played the spy game in… Spy Game), and Sylvester Stallone were offered the titular enigma Jason Bourne in the thriller that shook up the entire James Bond franchise.  Burt Reynolds had been due as Bourne in 1983 with, of all directors, Jack, Jack Clayton. Damon was surprised to be picked  as the hero is older in the Robert Ludlum book. 

  61. Danny De Vito, The Oh in Ohio, 2005. The Indies’ Queen, Parker Posey offered Burt a role but his agenda was finally full again after the success of Boogie Nights, 1997.  “I don’t know how long I’m going to be around, but I want to be proud of what’ve done as I walk into the sunset,” Burt’s longtime manage,r Erik Kritzer, rememberers him saying.
  62. Zachary Levi, Rapunzel, 2009.        Some 22 years after his first Disney toon offer – and although a tad old at age 73 – good ole Burt was considered to voice the heroic Prince Flynn. Named after Errol Flynn… in his centennial year! Also up for it: Clay Aiken, Dan Fogler, Santino Fontana.
  63. Bruce Dern, Once Upon A Time In  Hollywood, 2018.  Forever hoping for a comeback after messing up his career, Reynolds was over the moon when invited by Quentin Tarantino to  play George Spahn, owner of the famed Spahn Movie Ranch, which he  later  rented to Charles Manson and his brood….   In June, Burt joined a table-reading of the script (with Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell) but he died on September 5.  Tarantino called up a Burt buddy to fill in. Dern and Reynolds were friends from working so often together in their unknown, TV days:  Hard Round, Hard Time: The Premonition, 12 O’Clock High, etc.  Spahn was not, though, the kind of rôle that helped rescue Robert Forster,  Pamela Grier and John Travolta.

Tributes >>>>>>>

There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away. They stay alive, even 40 years later. My years with Burt never leave my mind.  He will be in my history and my heart, for as long as I live. Rest, Buddy.  – Sally Field

A sad day, my friend has passed away. I remember him back in 1979, he always reminded me that I should’ve cast him as Colonel Trautman in First Blood. I said: That’s impossible, because you’re too expensive and too famous, and probably tougher than Rambo !” He laughed ,He had a great sense of humor and I enjoyed his company so much… RIP Buddy. – Sylvester Stallone.

He was a very macho figure but one with a twinkle in his eye, as close as the modern era has come to producing its own Clark Gable. – journalist  Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent

The critically acclaimed series, Evening Shade [1990-1994], was created expressly for and with the incomparable help of Burt Reynolds. Burt won the Emmy for best actor during our first season. He was sweet, brash, exasperating, hot-tempered, generous and wickedly talented. To be sure, it was a wild ride. R.I.P. Burt. May your star never go out. – director Harry Thomason

“Burt Reynolds was one of my heroes. He was a trailblazer. He showed the way to transition from being an athlete to being the highest paid actor, and he always inspired me. He also had a great sense of humor – check out his Tonight Show clips. – Arnold Schwarzenegger

You will always be my favourite sheriff, rest in peace, little buddy. I will always love you. – Dolly Parton

Underrated as a dramatic actor (Deliverance), underrated as a director (Sharkey’s Machine), but also a rare movie star that seemed to be just having an absolute ball onscreen. Nobody broke frame with a bigger gleam in his eye. Just watch ol’ Bandit run. – Edgar Wright

I‘m 19. I get a few lines in a movie. The megastar on set was really nice and cool to this punk actor (me) for no reason. The director called me before the movie came out to tell me I had hit the cutting room floor. But I never forgot that Star. Thanks Burt.  – Kevin Bacon. RIP

In September 2018, Deadline Hollywood’ co-editor-in-chief  Mike Flemikng Jr asked him: If young Burt Reynolds came to you looking for advice, what would you tell him?
Well, I’d tell him be careful what you turn down, because you never know… and when you do get something, just kick the shIt out of it. Give it everything you’ve got. The best advice was Tracy. It’s a great profession, but don’t let anybody else catch you acting… Well, it’s not like you just suddenly find it. I worked my buns off from being the third guy from the left, when I started out, to a leading man who could carry a picture. You get that confidence that you can do it, and I did it, and I do still feel that way… I mean I’m not that old that I can’t carry a film. It just has to be at the right script. Paul Newman once told me, whatever you do, don’t let the bastards make you hang it up. Just keep doing what you’re doing, and somebody’s going to hand you a script, one day, and you’re going to kick the shIt out of it. I loved him for that, and he’s right. Someday they will, and I will.