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6 Random Facts About Burt Reynolds

January 7, 2016

Some trivia about the Bandit himself.

Burt Reynolds

  • Reynolds was a great football player. He played halfback at Florida State University (on scholarship), but a professional career was sidelined due to injuries. After considering a career in law enforcement (his father was a police chief), Reynolds transferred to Palm Beach Junior College where he tried out for a stage production of Outward Bound. He won the 1956 Florida State Drama Award for his performance and decided to become an actor.
  • Reynolds is one-fourth Cherokee, which is one of the reasons why he was cast as a half-Native American blacksmith named Quint Asper on Gunsmoke. He played the role for three seasons, in addition to the title role in Navajo Joe, a 1966 spaghetti western.
  • He was offered the role of Han Solo in the first Star Wars film but turned it down. He also opted out of playing James Bond when the role was offered to him at one point, claiming that he told producers that an English actor should be cast instead.
  • Reynolds was considered Hollywood’s top box office star for five straight years according to the annual Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll. This impressive feat has not yet been repeated. Films like Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run helped him stay at the front of the pack from 1978 through 1982. (Only Bing Crosby did the same thing, from 1944 to 1948.)
  • Burt is balding. At one point, he had a toupee collection worth a reported $100,000.
  • Dogged by paparazzi and tabloids throughout the ‘80s, Burt used his private helicopter to drop horse manure on a Christmas display located outside the headquarters of National Enquirer in the late ‘80s. At the time, it contained America’s largest Christmas tree. As Burt later explained, “I didn’t think it was right that they had the largest Christmas tree in the United States.”

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