In 1968 he tested for a role in Rosemary's Baby (1968), but Roman Polanski ended up casting John Cassavetes for the part.
When Francis Ford Coppola decided to make a project about the life of the famous Preston Tucker, he wanted Reynolds to play Tucker. They had many discussions about the movie and made plans, but the film did not get made until 1988, this time with Jeff Bridges in the role. Reynolds only got Lewis Medlock's role in Deliverance (1972) after the stars who were originally chosen to play the lead--including Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda and James Stewart--declined the part, after they heard about the risks of the Chattooga River.
Has an adopted son, Quinton A. Reynolds (aka Quinton Anderson Reynolds) (born August 31, 1988), with former wife, Loni Anderson.
In January 1998 he became engaged to former waitress Pam Seals.
His working relationship with Paul Thomas Anderson during the making of Boogie Nights (1997) was very difficult and he hated the film so much that he fired his agent immediately after viewing a screening of the film. This was before the critical raves after the New York Film Festival occurred. He was then convinced by Anderson to promote the film on a radio tour and was further enraged at Anderson's behavior (constantly not letting Reynolds speak). This was the final straw for Reynolds, who, after a week or so of promoting the film, tried to punch Anderson in the face and stopped promoting the film. Reynolds later refused to participate in Anderson's next project, Magnolia (1999).
Attended Florida State University on a football scholarship, but only played in two seasons. He was a star running back. His college football career was ended by a knee injury.
Refused the role that earned Jack Nicholson an Oscar in Terms of Endearment (1983). To this day he comments that this was one of his most terrible mistakes. He also refused the role Kevin Kline played in Soapdish (1991), with Sally Field, because his then wife, Loni Anderson, told him that all of Hollywood would laugh at her, as Reynolds and Field once had a very long and heavily publicized affair.
During the mid-'80s he tried to make a comeback with Heat (1986), written by William Goldman. He hoped the movie, directed by Robert Altman, would mark a new phase in his career. Unfortunately, Altman had an altercation with producer Elliott Kastner and left the project. The movie ended up being a box-office failure.
Is a 1958 graduate of Florida State University.
Mentioned in the theme song of the pilot version (4 Nov 1981) of the 1980s TV hit The Fall Guy (1981).
Was the first actor ever asked to guest-host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962). Prior to Reynolds, only comedians had been invited. His first (?) guest was his ex-wife Judy Carne, who he hadn't spoken to in over six years after a very bitter divorce.
He bared almost all for a Cosmopolitan centerfold in 1972.
Was seriously involved with actress Inger Stevens shortly before her suicide in 1970. He has respectfully refused to discuss the relationship.
Member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Had a relationship with Sally Field for many years, but she refused his numerous proposals, and they eventually broke up.
Turned down the role of John McClane in Die Hard (1988). The role went to Bruce Willis.
Graduate of Palm Beach High School, Palm Beach, Florida, Class of 1954.
Hit #88 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1980 with the song "Let's Do Something Cheap and Superficial", from the film Smokey and the Bandit II (1980).
Had a long affair with Dinah Shore.
He has English, with more remote Northern Irish (Scots-Irish), Scottish and Dutch ancestry. He is also said to have Cherokee Native American roots, although it is not clear if this ancestry has been documented/verified.
Was named the #1 top money-making star at the box office in Quigley Publications' annual poll of movie exhibitors for five consecutive years from 1978-92, equaling the record set by Bing Crosby from 1944-48. Only Tom Cruise, who was named #1 six times between 1986 and 2001, has won more box-office crowns. Both Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks also have been #1 five times, but non-consecutively.
Has been named to Quigley Publications' annual Top 10 Poll of Money-Making Stars 12 times, tying him for tenth place with Harrison Ford. John Wayne is #1 on the all-time list, with 25 appearances in the Top 10.
Lost the 1997 Razzie award for Worst Supporting Actor to Marlon Brando by a mere single vote. Reynolds was nominated for his performance in Striptease (1996) and Brando for his role in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996). The vote was cast by Razzie awards founder John Wilson, who always chooses to vote last.
Though their relationship eventually did not work out, Reyonds still speaks fondly of Sally Field and he regards her as having been a positive influence on his life.
Turned down the role of "Han Solo" in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
Was director Milos Forman's first choice for the lead in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) but United Artists believed his appeal with average moviegoers might prevent the film from attracting the critical attention it felt was necessary for the film to be a box-office hit. Jack Nicholson was cast instead in the role that won him his first Best Actor Oscar. Eight years later, Reynolds was writer-director James L. Brooks' first choice for the role of amorous astronaut Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment (1983). This time, Reynolds passed on the project, clearing the way for Nicholson to win his second Oscar, this one for Best Supporting Actor.
Sales of the Pontiac Trans Am increased by 500% after Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Pontiac was so grateful to Reynolds that it promised him a new Trans Am every year in perpetuity. The promise lasted five years. He drove a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Limited Edition in these movies.
The character design of the Comedian/Edward Blake in Alan Moore's graphic novel "Watchmen" is said to have been based on Reynolds. He was even considered for the role when the novel was in discussion to be adapted to film.
Attended Elizabeth Taylor's "Commitment to Life" fund-raiser for AIDS research on 19 September 1985, where Burt Lancaster read Rock Hudson's statement announcing he had been diagnosed with AIDS. At one point Reynolds was booed when he read a telegram of support from President Ronald Reagan. Reynolds summed up the frustration of the lack of AIDS awareness when he angrily said, "If this were a benefit for cancer, reporters wouldn't be asking stupid questions like, 'Why are you here?'".
Early in his career he appeared as a contestant on The Dating Game (1965).
Met one of his heroes, Spencer Tracy, while filming Riverboat (1959). Tracy was filming Inherit the Wind (1960) on the same lot and Reynolds used to watch him walk from the set to his trailer everyday. After a while, Tracy finally turned to him and said, "Come on, kid." For the next several weeks the two would meet and talk about sports and, every once in a while, acting.
Like many other celebrities, he is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
His numerous achievements have been recognized by his having been named America's Favorite All Around Motion Picture Actor (People's Choice Award) for a record six consecutive years; the Most Popular Star for five years running; Star of the Year (National Association of Theatre Owners); and #1 Box Office Star for five years in a row, still an unmatched record. He was honored with the 2007 Taurus World Stunt Award for "Lifetime Achievement for an Action Movie Star" and received this special citation from the Republican Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Canadian electronics store Future Shop referred to his Smokey and the Bandit (1977) car and set up as "the Burt", to demonstrate its 2008 HDTV and sub-woofer.
Mentioned in Bruce Springsteen's song "Cadillac Ranch".
He met director David O. Russell in late 1995 for dinner, to discuss a possible role for him in the independent movie Flirting with Disaster (1996). Although the two felt very enthusiastic about his playing a part, negotiations fell through.
Immediately after his artistic comeback with Boogie Nights (1997), he did a number of indie films and was attached to star in a number of independent movies. One of these projects was the comedy The Oh in Ohio (2006). Parker Posey, who was a fan of Reynolds, personally offered him a part in the film, but his commitment to another project made it impossible for him to play the role. Danny DeVito got the part.
In 1999 one of the projects that never realized for him was "Bulls Night Out". The movie was supposed to be an old-fashioned cop drama about over-the-hill cops taking justice into their own hands. It was to be directed by Burt himself, and to star him and a number of other veteran action stars. Roy Scheider, Danny Aiello, Louis Gossett Jr. and Charles Durning were all attached. It was supposed to be funded by a then new studio called Ray Art Studios, based in Canoga Park, CA. For a variety of reasons, the film never got made.
Sidney Lumet wanted him for the main role in Power (1986). He turned the part down, and Richard Gere was cast.
After having worked with director John Boorman in Deliverance (1972), was cast by Boorman one year later to play the lead in the science-fiction Zardoz (1974). Reynolds had to pull out due to illness and Sean Connery got the part. Reynolds and Boorman almost worked together again, this time in 1980, when Boorman was attached, for some time, to direct him in Sharky's Machine (1981). When Boorman left the picture, Reynolds directed the film himself.
Ironically, while Reynolds was nominated for a "Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical or Comedy" Golden Globe for his performance as "Paul Crewe" in The Longest Yard (1974), he was nominated for a Razzie Award for "Worst Supporting Actor" for his performance in the 2005 remake (The Longest Yard (2005)). Here, he played "Coach Scarboro" to Adam Sandler's "Paul Crewe".
Underwent back surgery in May 2009.
Once paid $12,200 for a custom hairpiece.
Filed for bankruptcy in 1996, citing $4.5 million in liabilities.
Agent Richard Clayton was his personal manager for over 20 years.
Underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery in February 2010.
Reynolds' appearance on the cover of Playboy Magazine (October 1979) made him the second male after Peter Sellers (April 1964) to merit the rare privilege.
In 1980 he gave friend Jerry Reed the very same model of a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Limited Edition that he drove in all three "Smokey and the Bandit" films.
Richard Griffiths was his acting mentor.
Inducted into the International Mustache Hall of Fame in 2015 (inaugural class) in the category Film & Television.
Was considered for the role of "Travis Bickle" in Taxi Driver (1976).
Has an adopted brother, Jimmy/James Hooks Reynolds.
In an interview on Inside the Actors Studio (1994), he denied turning down the role in Terms of Endearment (1983). He said he was one of about ten actors considered for the part, including Warren Beatty, James Caan and Jack Nicholson. He said the choice came down to himself or Nicholson, and the producers went with Nicholson.
One of his grand parents was a Cherokee Indian.