Remembering the Bandit

By Skylar Letteer


The charming brute Burt Reynolds passed away on Thursday, September 6th at age 82 due to cardiac arrest. Reynolds spent his last moments at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, where his friends and family gathered to say goodbye to the beloved legend. His unfortunate demise was stemmed from decades of illnesses such as a narrowed coronary artery, ultimately causing an urgent heart bypass in February of 2010. Even though Reynolds struggled maintaining his health, he was able to continue acting in smaller roles while also writing an autobiography that would be published in 2015. He depicts his humble beginnings as well as his rise to stardom, captivating his loyal fans once more.

Reynolds was raised in Lansing Michigan, but moved to Florida when he was five years old. During his young adulthood, Reynolds was offered an athletic scholarship from Florida State University. The football star turned to acting when a career ending injury ceased his chances of making a name for himself in professional sports. When Reynolds debuted his talents in acting, he was offered minor roles during the 50s - but took off in the late 1980s to early 1990s. Ranging from Southern heartthrob to rugged tough guy, his acting skills were limitless when it came to making a character come to life. Reynolds is most known for his roles as David Dilbeck in the 1996 movie Striptease, and Bandit in 1977’s Smokey and The Bandit. His most recent and final film, The Last Movie Star, was filmed right here in Knoxville. Fans from far and wide were able to see themselves in Reynolds and found comfort in watching his charisma light up the big screen. Admirers saw Reynolds during his battle with poor health, telling TMZ he appeared fragile and weak. Whether on or off the screen, dedicated supporters will remember Burt Reynolds for his well-humored spirit for decades to come.