Burt Reynolds wasn't your typical movie star. As a young football-player-turned-actor, Reynolds parlayed his athletic build into numerous roles in westerns and tough-guy movies. His adventurous spirit helped him land action films and comedic jaunts alike, but while he was known for his macho screen presence and his manliness off-screen, Reynolds didn't have just one kind of role. Films like Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance, and Boogie Nights distinguished his long career and his general bad-ass lifestyle and unapologetic way of life helped him distinguish himself on- and off-screen.
As impressive as Reynolds was as an actor, some of his real-life antics were equally noteworthy. Friendly with some of the biggest names in Hollywood but not afraid to back down from a fight, Reynolds, who passed in 2018 at the age of 82, was what everyone perceived him to be while never losing himself in the process. Tough, honest, witty, and seductive, Reynolds may have personified the ideal macho man.
- Photo: City Heat/Warner Bros.5
An On-Set Fight Eventually Sent Him Into A Coma
While filming City Heat in 1984, Burt Reynolds suffered a fractured jaw, an injury that led to a series of health and addiction woes. Reynolds was supposed to be hit with a break-away chair during a fight, but was struck with a metal chair instead. Hit in the face, Reynolds fell to the floor and, while he finished the scene, the injury plagued him for days, if not years.
He recalled, "a blinding headache and ringing in my ears... Every time I tried to speak my face clicked. My bite was so lopsided I couldn't chew. I could only drink liquids, and I began losing weight."
Reynolds suffered from a broken temporomandibular joint and started taking Halcion to deal with the pain. At one point, he was "taking 50 pills a day," and his doctors told him that if he "had taken one more [he] would have [perished]." When he tried to wean himself off of the medicine, he lapsed into a coma and, "After about eight or nine hours I regained consciousness. I never took another Halcion."Is this manly?
He Turned Down A Night With Greta Garbo
Reynolds didn't know it at the time, but when a "beautiful, extraordinary looking" woman in a yellow blouse asked him to go home with her, it was none other than Greta Garbo.
While at a party, Garbo, clad in a see-through shirt that was "canary yellow" with nothing "underneath it" said to Reynolds, "'Would you give me a ride home?’ Just before she got out of the taxi I said, ‘sorry, you didn’t tell me your name’ and she said, ‘my name is Greta Garbo’... and then she left. What an idiot. I was 22 going on 12...."
According to Reynolds, "Years later I got a note from her saying ‘you were an idiot.'"Is this manly?
He Said He Was Too American To Be James Bond
Burt Reynolds was approached to play James Bond in 1970. He turned it down because, as he put it, "In my stupidity, I said, ‘An American can’t play James Bond, it has to be an Englishman - Bond, James Bond. Nah, I can’t do it.’ Oops. Yeah, I could have done it.”
He actually thought he could have done a good job with the role, but his real regret was financial. Turning down Bond hurt him "only in the wallet - it doesn’t hurt me artistically."Is this manly?
Yelling At Paul Thomas Anderson Helped Earn Him An Academy Award Nomination
Paul Thomas Anderson, director of Boogie Nights (1997), reportedly asked Reynolds to play Jack Horner several times before he finally relented. Reynolds was resistant to making a movie about the pornography industry and, after Anderson "made a smart-*ss remark," he "blew up." According to Reynolds, "At the end of my tirade he said, 'if you can do that in the movie, you'll get nominated for an Academy Award.'"
The whole exchange convinced Reynolds to take the role, but it didn't mean the two got along. On set, there were reports of Reynolds and Anderson almost coming to blows. While he later criticized the movie and Anderson, it did get him a nomination for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe win.
Anderson, on the other hand, recalled that the shoot was mostly "really fun and a lot of laughs," and that the tension made for a better movie.Is this manly?