Burt Reynolds: 9 of His Most Memorable Roles

11:54 AM 9/6/2018

by Kirsten Chuba

The 'Smokey and the Bandit' and 'Boogie Nights' star died at 82.

Gilbert Carrasquillo/WireImage

Burt Reynolds, star of both the big and small screen, has died.

Reynolds, a former college football player, started in television, on a variety of westerns and police shows. Throughout the 1970s and '80s he amassed a large resume of action movies, and always emphasized that he chose roles because of what seemed the most fun. In 1997, the actor received his first critical success, when he was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Boogie Nights

From the smaller guest roles to his leading man movies, here are some of Reynolds' most memorable parts. 

  • 'Gunsmoke'

    Reynolds appeared on the television drama from 1962-65, playing Quint Asper, a blacksmith and sidekick to main character Matt Dillon. The show, a western, was set in Kansas and followed the settlement of the American West, and was a radio show before it moved to TV. 

  • 'Hawk'

    After leaving Gunsmoke, Reynolds took on his first starring television role in Hawk, where he played New York City police lieutenant John Hawk. The character was full-blooded Native American and was subjected to discrimination and racism while on the job. The show aired in 1966 and  ran for only one season. 

  • 'Dan August'

    From 1970-71, Reynolds starred on Dan August as the title character, a police lieutenant who investigated homicides in his California hometown. The show aired on ABC for one season but continued in reruns later on CBS. 

  • 'Deliverance'

    The 1972 film, starring Reynolds alongside Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox, has become a classic and earned three Oscar nominations and five Golden Globe nods. It follows four men from Atlanta who go on a trip in the Georgia wilderness and quickly face murder, sexual assault and injuries. 

  • 'White Lightning'

    Reynolds plays a prisoner who goes undercover for the Feds to expose the corrupt local sheriff in 1973's White Lightning, which also featured Ned Beatty, Bo Hopkins and Jennifer Billingsley. The hit action film had a sequel in 1976 with Gator

  • 'The Longest Yard'

    In the 1974 film, which has been remade several times, Reynolds plays a former professional football player who ends up in prison. The jail has a semi-pro football league, and Reynolds' character recruits and trains his fellow inmates in a game against the prison guards. 

  • 'Smokey and the Bandit'

    The 1977 action movie, starring Sally Field, Jackie Gleason and Jerry Reed alongside Reynolds, became one of his most popular projects, inspiring two sequels. His role was as Bo "Bandit" Darville, a legendary truck driver who drives beer from Texas to Georgia while avoiding the police. 

  • 'Evening Shade'

    Reynolds returned to television from 1990-94 to star on Evening Shade, playing a retired professional football player who moves to a small town to coach its high school football team. 

  • 'Boogie Nights'

    Reynolds took on a starring role in 1997's hit Boogie Nights, and has become one of the films for which he's best known. He plays Jack Horner, a porn filmmaker in the 1970s who gets Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) into the business.