From Love To Roles, The Incredible Life Of Burt Reynolds Finally Revealed


For the good part of six decades, Burt Reynolds has been one of the most recognized names in the world of cinema. Here are some things you may not have known about one of Hollywood’s original heartthrobs.

Painfully Honest

When you have been in the movie industry for 60 years, you’re more than likely going to have some stories to tell. And Burt Reynolds wanted to get it all off his chest in his 2015 memoir, But Enough About Me. “The Perfect Actor,” as many had referred to him as over the years, had gone through many ups and downs. At one point, all it took was one beautiful actress to be cast and Reynolds would be on board.

Painfully Honest

Growing Up

Reynolds’ early days were complicated, to put it lightly. Born to Fern and Burton, his relationship with his parents took many twists and turns. While his mother treated him with warmth and sensitivity, Burton was much more emotionally distant with his son.

Growing Up

Florida Roots

Reynolds spent the majority of his childhood in Riviera Beach, Florida. It was during these formative years that Burt thrived and grew into a young athlete, playing football as a fullback. The future actor was a talented player who would be offered multiple football scholarships to further his career. Ultimately, Reynolds took up the opportunity to play as a halfback after accepting a place at Florida State University. He was also part of a fraternity during his time at college.

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Florida Roots

Burt’s Athletic Past

Unfortunately for Reynolds, his football career was marred by a series of injuries. And it was during his sophomore year when the talented full back was forced to end his career very soon after it began. This was followed by a brief spell working as a parole officer. But Reynolds’ passion for football did not subside and he was able to convey his love for the game in 1974’s The Longest Yard. He was able to portray a quarterback in the movie.

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Burt’s Athletic Past

The Acting Bug

Reynolds was sure that one day he would make the big time. But before he got his big break in Hollywood, he was quite the academic. Reynolds took English classes at Palm Beach Junior College, which would turn out to be a priceless experience for the young man. Professor Watson B. Duncan III knew that he had someone special to work with and advised Reynolds to audition for his play, Outward Bound. Burt was cast as the lead.

The Acting Bug

The Infamous Spread

Reynolds quickly blossomed into an acting sensation that captured the hearts of millions. This was in no small part due to his love for taking on roles that were considered to push the envelope. Wearing clothes became somewhat of a rarity in his movies. And this habit also crossed over into other media, when Reynolds featured in a 1972 issue of Cosmopolitan. Although it is considered now to be an iconic image, Reynolds thoroughly regrets posing for the magazine.

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The Infamous Spread

Turning Down Big Roles

Despite having made some fantastic career decisions in his life, Burt Reynolds has also missed out on some massive opportunities in Hollywood. One of the most notable roles that Reynolds turned down was that of James Bond. When Sean Connery stopped portraying the iconic character, Reynolds was considered. But he firmly believed that no American actor should portray the British spy. Also, Reynolds turned down the chance to play Han Solo in the beloved space opera, Star Wars.

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Turning Down Big Roles

Burt and Chris

Naturally, Reynolds was also a big hit with the ladies. It seemed like everyone wanted a piece of the ravishing actor. One of his most high profile lovers came in the form of the famous tennis player, Chris Evert. “If Burt likes you, he really takes good care of you,” she said. “Successful women aren’t a threat to him, and I think that’s what attracted me to him.” Evert has married three times in her life, and dated many others. But Reynolds was different.

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Burt and Chris

Blamed It On The Boogie

When Paul Thomas Anderson came knocking on Burt Reynolds’ door and asked him to feature in his 1997 movie Boogie Nights, the actor laughed at him. Even after being asked seven times to work on the project, Reynolds didn’t want to know. But on the eighth request, he caved in and chose to portray the character of Jack Horner. And it’s a good job he said yes, because it would grant him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

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Blamed It On The Boogie

Age Doesn’t Matter

One of Reynolds most notable relationships came in 1970 when the actor met Dinah Shore. The pair were both appearing as guests on a chat show, and even though Shore was 20 years older, Reynolds could not contain himself. “I’d never met anyone like her,” he said. “I realized there was a big age gap between us, but it didn’t make the slightest difference. I was already in love with her…” But the couple broke up after Reynolds found out that Shore couldn’t have children.

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Age Doesn’t Matter

A Musical Career

Beyond acting and football, Reynolds is also a talented musician. The man has been lauded for having a great voice and has used it to great effect from time to time. In 1973, his debut album Ask Me What I Am was surprisingly successful. The album also included a poster of Reynolds wearing a cowboy hat, so that fans could look at him while listening to his voice. Ask Me What I Am is still available for purchase.

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A Musical Career

Hey Dolly

Reynolds struck gold when he collaborated with Dolly Parton in 1982’s The Best Little *****house in Texas. Adapted from the 1978 musical of the same name, the movie was controversial for its name. This meant that the creators were forced to change the name of the movie. In its marketing, the flick became The Best Little Cathouse in Texas. Even Dolly Parton was taken aback by the title, referring to it in interviews as The Best Little Chicken House in Texas.

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Hey Dolly

Famous Roomies

An interesting tidbit about Reynolds’ college life was that he spent part of it living with another famous personality. During his time at Florida State University, Reynolds shared the same room as ESPN broadcaster Lee Corso. Although they hung out while they were at college, Reynolds and Corso would ultimately go different ways and make a name for themselves in different areas of the entertainment industry. But they always shared the same passion when it came to football.

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Famous Roomies

His Field

One of if not the love of Reynolds’ life came in the form of the great Sally Field. The two actors met when they worked together on 1977’s Smokey And The Bandit. It wasn’t long before the pair started to see each other off set and Reynolds and Field went on to star in four other movies together. According to Reynolds, Sally Field is one of the most underrated actresses of all time and was grateful to work on so many projects with her. Before his death, Burt Reynolds still carried a flame for lost love Sally Field. He never got over the “love of his life”.

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His Field

The Biggest Regret Of His Life

But Reynolds deeply regrets not being able to make his relationship with Sally Field stand the test of time. “She was the love of my life and I screwed the relationship up,” he said. “That sense of loss never goes away.” His memoir details just how serious he felt about Field and how after all these years, he still loves her. And even though they both ended up with other people, those relationships also came to an end, eventually. Before he passed away he opened up and said “She was the love of my life and I screwed the relationship up.”

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The Biggest Regret Of His Life

Loni

One woman who Burt did tie the knot with was WKRP star, Loni Anderson. The pair had worked together previously in 1983’s Stroker Ace, which proved to be a huge bomb at the box office. Despite this, Reynolds and Anderson were considered to be the 80’s golden couple and the two eventually got married in 1988. But their marriage only lasted for five years. In his Reynolds’ memoir, he admits that it was a big mistake marrying Anderson, calling it a “dumb move.”

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Loni

Cold Feet

Reynolds regret for marrying Loni was rooted in something much deeper than just a lack of attraction. On the contrary, he found her extremely beautiful. But ultimately, he knew deep down that she just wasn’t the one. His memoir detailed his wedding day. Even building up to the ceremony, he knew it wasn’t right: “On the way to the ceremony, my best man, the American football player Vic Prinzi, said: ‘Do you really want to do this?’…No, I don’t.”

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Cold Feet

The Mother Of His Child

But from Reynold’s and Anderson’s failed marriage came some sparks of light. During their time together, they adopted a son. They called him Quinton Anderson Reynolds. Now in his 20’s, Quinton also followed in his parents’ footsteps and works in Hollywood. But unlike Burt and Loni who have spent their career working in front of the camera, Quinton works behind it as a camera operator. A movie that Quinton has worked on, Minutes To Midnight, is slated for a 2018 release.

The Mother Of His Child

The Longest Divorce

The most ironic thing about Burt and Loni’s failed relationship was that their divorce completely eclipsed their marriage, in more ways than one. Despite only being married for five years, the pair only finalized a settlement in 2015. One thing that Reynolds couldn’t stand was how fast Anderson would spend his money. “She bought everything in triplicate,” he said. “From everyday dresses to jewelry to china and linens…I gave her a platinum American Express card with a $45,000 credit limit. She maxed it out in half an hour.”

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The Longest Divorce

Hey Judy

Before Anderson came along, Burt had already been married to someone else. In 1963, Reynolds married British actress Judy Carne who happened to be a major crossover hit in the U.S. But ultimately, their marriage didn’t last long either, and after living a fairly chaotic lifestyle and not having any children, Carne passed away in 2015 at the age of 76. Besides Reynolds, Carne’s only other relationships were with producer Robert Bergmann and another Hollywood heart throb in the form of Bugsy star Warren Beatty.

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Hey Judy

His Affair With Farrah

Even though the good part of two decades passed between his two marriages, Reynolds had other relationships during that time. Between Judy and Loni, Reynolds had the privilege of dating some of the most beautiful actresses in the whole of Hollywood. One of Reynolds’ most notable relationships was with the late great Farrah Fawcett. The pair hit it off after working together in 1981’s comedy flick, The Cannonball Run, which was a major hit both domestically and globally.

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His Affair With Farrah

The Deal With Miko Mayama

Another actress that caught Reynolds’ eye was actress Miko Mayama. Like many women that he dated, Burt met Miko when working together on a movie. 1969’s Impasse was the movie that kicked of Reynold’s and Mayama’s relationship. But Miko would be left heartbroken when Burt told her that he was in love with somebody else. He had met Dinah Shore after a trip to Palm Springs and couldn’t carry on living a lie. It was over between Burt and Miko.

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The Deal With Miko Mayama

Has He Gone Under The Knife?

Many have speculated that Reynolds has received plastic surgery during his long career in order to maintain his hunkish looks. But Reynolds has claimed that the only work he has had done was an eye procedure. On the contrary, he has attributed any considerable changes in appearance to his use of pain killers. But as far as his good skin is considered, he believes that his genes have a lot to say for it.

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Has He Gone Under The Knife?

He Didn’t Like Anderson

Another Anderson that created a stir in his life was the man behind Reynolds’ Oscar nomination, Paul Thomas Anderson. Despite receiving critical acclaim for their collaboration, it is believed that the director of Boogie Nights and Reynolds had numerous clashes while working on the production. The fact that Reynolds wasn’t so keen on the film in the first place didn’t help. But the actor also thought that young Anderson was too cocky, creating a clash of personalities.

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He Didn’t Like Anderson

The Big Star And The Young Director

The creative and personal differences between Reynolds and Anderson were so disparate that this nearly caused a series of physical altercations. A fiery personality at the best of time, Reynolds was not one to be messed with, but this didn’t seem to bother Anderson. One report claimed that “Burt got so frustrated he pulled Paul outside into the backyard and started yelling at him…All of a sudden we saw fists flying. We saw some fists flying from Burt Reynolds.”

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The Big Star And The Young Director

Deliverance

One of Reynolds’ finest acting hours came in 1972 when he starred alongside Jon Voight, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty in the thriller, Deliverance. But Reynolds doesn’t believe that a remake would be possible. “They keep talking about a remake, but I don’t think you could find four actors crazy enough to do it,” he said. But he’ll take nothing away from the experience. “We’d quit for the day and come back and practice…I have to admit that…it was the most fun I ever had.”

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Deliverance

Evening Shade Cancelled

One of Reynold’s most enjoyable experiences came when he starred in the 90s show Evening Shade. The show only ran for four years, so Burt was pretty disappointed when he found out that it would be canceled. “I am not by any means depressed…I had four great years, which I’m very, very proud of,” he said. “Hopefully, the people that have offered me major movies to direct, I can get one of those or…I can play Tom Cruise’s father.”

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Evening Shade Cancelled

The Unbelievable Net Worth

This may come as a huge surprise. After 60 years of constant work, a countless amount of movies and television appearances, Reynolds net worth stands at “only” $5 million. When you consider some of the staggering net worths that Hollywood’s biggest names have right now, it does seem odd that Reynold’s would be so low in comparison. But when you take his personal life into consideration, it starts to make sense where a lot of the money may have gone.

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The Unbelievable Net Worth

Is That Marlon Brando?

You would think that looking like a young Marlon Brando could only bring good things to Burt Reynold’s career. But the uncanny similarity seemed to cause more problems for his career prospects instead. For example, Reynolds was turned down to play the lead role in Sayonara, simply because of how similar he looked to Brando. Ultimately, Reynolds had plenty of acting opportunities. But if this photo doesn’t convince you how similar they look, then nothing will.

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Is That Marlon Brando?

Brando Didn’t Love Reynolds

Although Reynolds was admittedly a huge admirer of “Don Corleone,” the appreciation wasn’t reciprocal. And it goes deeper than that. Marlon Brando even suggested that if Reynolds got a part in The Godfather, then he would step down from the project. Brando went even further, saying that “he is the epitome of something that makes me want to throw up…He is the epitome of everything that is disgusting about the thespian…He worships at the temple of his own narcissism.”

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Brando Didn’t Love Reynolds

Burt’s Place

Seeing that Reynolds had a lot of experience with the ladies, it made sense that he would be involved with the night life. Burt liked to party. And if you weren’t partying during the seventies, then something wasn’t right. But although Reynolds spent some time in a variety of nightclubs, it was a short-lived experience. He owned a nightclub called Burt’s Place in downtown Atlanta. But after just one year, despite being a fun one, the venue closed down.

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Burt’s Place

Jon vs. Burt

When Reynolds and John Voigt worked together on the set of Deliverance, two actors with very different acting styles joined forces. Charley Boorman, who also starred in the movie, described just how different each actor performed: “Voight is method. So if he had a scene where he was supposed to be out of breath, he’d say, ‘I need a three-minute warning so I can get out of breath…Burt would say, ‘I need twenty seconds’ and he’d squirt a spritzer on himself and breathe hard.”

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Jon vs. Burt

The Ryan Reynolds Connection

Naturally, many fans have made the assumption that Burt and Ryan Reynolds are actually related. But the reality is that they’re not. Ryan poked fun at this common misconception when he started promoting his superhero film, Deadpool. The “merc with a mouth” posted an image of himself in the suit posing sideways, lampooning Burt’s 1972 Cosmopolitan shoot in the process. The photo was the first in a long line of hilarious teaser images for the X-Men spin-off.

ryan reynolds burt reynolds
The Ryan Reynolds Connection

A Big Fuzz

One of Reynold’s more awkward encounters with a member of the opposite sex came in 1972, when he starred in a series of movies alongside Raquel Welch. The ugly truth was that they did not work well together, with Welch formally requesting that she didn’t want to work with him. This meant that every scene needed to be filmed more than once. The first shot had to be between Reynolds and Welch’s double and the second had to be done with just Welch.

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A Big Fuzz

Divorcees Don’t Drink Orange Juice

At one point, Reynolds was asked by the Florida Citrus Commission to endorse their brand of orange juice. After signing a contract and was scheduled to star in the adverts promoting the drink, something went wrong. The company hired Reynolds because they believed he was a role model. But as soon as he split from Loni Anderson, the citrus company tore up his contract. Naturally, Reynolds was confused, saying, “I don’t know why they think divorced people don’t drink orange juice.”

Divorcees Don’t Drink Orange Juice

Walk Of Fame

In 1978, Reynolds was finally given the ultimate sign of recognition for his contribution to cinema with his own star added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But it took a while before he could literally cement himself into Hollywood lore. After college, Reynolds went straight into acting. Eventually, he worked on Broadway and moved up the ranks until he finally got his big breaks on both TV and the big screen. Burt Reynolds has been at the top for a long time.

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Walk Of Fame

Florida Honored Him Too

He also got recognition for his contribution to his university. Unfortunately, due to a series of injuries, Reynolds was forced to cut his football career short. But during his time with the Florida State, Reynolds ran for a staggering 146 yards. In 1977, he was finally honored for his efforts and was inducted into Florida State’s Hall Of Fame. The student who was also nicknamed “Buddy,” will go down in history as one of the most famous alumni in Florida State history.

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Florida Honored Him Too

City Heat

Many couldn’t believe it when they heard that Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood would star in the same movie. Directed by Richard Benjamin with a budget of $25 million, the crime flick City Heat was projected to make an absolute fortune at the box office. Shockingly, City Heat only made $38.3 million, which was considered a flop. For Hollywood heavyweights Reynolds and Eastwood, they needed to rethink their options and decided that it was probably best for them to stay in separate movies.

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City Heat

A Painful Stunt

To add insult to injury, Reynolds actually got injured! As if the fact that City Heat doing terribly financially wasn’t enough. While filming the flick, Reynolds completely shattered his jaw after being hit in the face with a metal chair. To make matters even worse, he developed TMJ disorder as a result, preventing him from eating solid foods. This meant that he would lose a lot of weight, 40 pounds to be precise. This generated rumors about the actor’s health.

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A Painful Stunt

Burt Reynolds Park

One thing that most celebrities can not say about themselves is that they have a park named after them. But Burt Reynolds can say just that. As if a street named after him wasn’t enough. Reynolds has a 35-acre long park based in Jupiter, Florida. The Burt Reynolds Park is full of fun leisure options. If you want to play volleyball or explore a River Center Exhibition, then The Burt Reynolds Park is the place for you.

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Burt Reynolds Park

The Longest Yard Sale

In the thick of his divorce, Reynolds was involved in a huge one million dollar legal mortgage dispute. In an act of desperation, Reynolds took 600 items and put them all up for auction. The item list consisted of Reynolds’ most valuable and iconic memorabilia. Some of the most recognizable items included the Golden Globe Award that he received for 1998’s Boogie Nights. Also, he put up the Trans Am from Smokey And The Bandit up for sale.

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The Longest Yard Sale

It Was Time

But the item that meant the most to Reynolds was an 18 karat gold watch that Sally Field, the most beloved woman of his entire life, gave him as a present. Many couldn’t believe that Reynolds would put up this particular item for sale. His undying love for Field was heavily publicized. For many, it didn’t make sense that he would add such a meaningful item to his auction. But he was in a seriously dire situation and was desperate.

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It Was Time

The Ugly Truth

Actors take on roles for a variety of reasons. But the reason behind Sally Field’s decision to play Carrie in Smokey And The Bandit was strange, to say the least, but ultimately worked out for her. According to Field, many considered her ugly, particularly in her previous role from 1976’s Sybil. “If I play this character that Burt is supposed to think is attractive, maybe the world will think I’m attractive, and somebody else will hire me,” she said.

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The Ugly Truth

A Play To Stay

Surprisingly, Reynold’s hit flick Smokey And The Bandit came from a very humble origin. The movie’s director Hal Needham had been friends with Reynolds for a long time. And despite not seeing each other for a long time, Needham lived in Reynold’s pool house for over a decade. One random night, Needham showed Reynolds the script but was apprehensive about creating the movie. But Reynolds loved it and told Needham that’s he’d star in the movie if he raised money for it.

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A Play To Stay

The Wild Wild Burt

After featuring on the popular series The Wild Wild West from 1962 to 1965, Reynolds was eventually inducted into the shows own Walk of Fame at the Kansas Wild West Fest in 2015. Reynolds took a lot of pride in his role as Quint Asper and was very popular amongst die hard fans. Also, the western show has the status of being the most syndicated TV show of all time, meaning that it has been running longer than any other show.

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The Wild Wild Burt

His Walk With Marilyn

In an interview, Reynolds spoke about the time she met Marilyn Monroe: “I walked to a class with her for the studio…But I noticed that no one recognized her. So I mentioned that to her. She looked at me and said, ‘Oh, do you want to see her?’…I, of course, told her I would love to. All she did was change her posture, change the way we were walking, and within five minutes, we couldn’t move, so many people were around us. It was pretty amazing.”

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His Walk With Marilyn

Reed and Reynolds

When country singer Jerry Reed sadly passed away in 2008, this was always surely going to be a terrible loss for Reynolds. The two men were close friends ever since meeting for the first time in Nashville. Their friendship would gradually evolve into a healthy professional relationship, especially after working together on several movies such as W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings and High-Ballin’. The country singer even joined Reynolds in the iconic Smokey And The Bandit film series.

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Reed and Reynolds

Misbehaved

In more recent times, Reynolds has been vocal about many pressing issues, particularly in addressing the rumors that he had become HIV positive over the years. When asked about Charlie Sheen’s misfortune to contracting the virus on a British talk show, the 81-year-old made some pretty controversial comments. “He deserves it. He misbehaved very badly,” he said. “His father is a very, very decent man and a dear friend of mine. I feel bad for him, but Charlie, I don’t feel bad for him.”

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Misbehaved

The Divorce Settlement

Reynolds must have been relieved that before marrying Loni Anderson, the pair had signed a pretty thorough prenuptial agreement. This was truer than ever after the way his second wife handled their money during their marriage. The prenup stated that if they were to divorce that both would have their respective fortunes returned to them. At the time that they had just got married, Reynolds had a $15 million fortune to his name, while Anderson was worth about $1 million.

The Divorce Settlement

Homeless?

As far as the divorce was concerned every cent counted for Reynolds. The long and tedious settlement would have worn the actor down over the year. After supposedly filing for bankruptcy in 2006, Reynolds tried selling his Floridian home. His original asking price for the house was $15 million. But it was proving to be an extremely tough sell for the actor, with the price dropping by $10 million after four years of being on the market. The property included a movie theater and a two room guesthouse.

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Homeless?

Awards

But there’s been so much more to Reynolds’ life than just money. In his 60-year-long career, the actor has achieved so much. For starters, he has been nominated for nearly 30 awards during his career, including a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Boogie Nights. Other achievements include being put on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And with over 50 movies and TV shows with his name attached to them, it’s hard to comprehend just how much Reynolds has actually achieved.

43rd Annual Emmy Awards
Awards

A Win Win Set

Another passion of Reynolds came in the form of a television game show. Burt and his work partner Bert Convot used his production company, Burt and Bert Productions in order to put together the hit show Win, Lose Or Draw from 1987 to 1990. And Reynold’s decided to combine aspects of his professional and personal lives to create the show he felt comfortable creating. The design of the show’s set was actually modeled to resemble his own living room.

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A Win Win Set

90210 Cameo

Throughout his career he had guest appeared on many shows. But in the nineties, Reynolds took part in probably one of his most memorable appearances when he cameoed on the popular teen sitcom Beverly Hills 90210. It was in 1993 when Reynolds featured in the episode titled “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” and was essentially the McGuffin of the entire episode. After a celebrity meet-and-greet, the gang went on a mission to find the actor who was playing himself.

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90210 Cameo

Oopsy Daisy

Not all of Reynolds’ career decisions were necessarily good ones, but this is probably one of the worst. At the height of his powers, Burt and his long-time friend Buddy Killen decided to open up a restaurant chain called Daisy’s Diner. But the business failed miserably, and as a result, it rapidly cost Reynolds millions. In total, the actor lost over $20 million by the time the nineties had come around. It’s arguable that this kick started Reynolds’ financial turmoil.

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Oopsy Daisy

Fighting Rumors

Reynolds had started to lose a lot of weight during the eighties. And for a long time, Reynolds was forced to constantly squash rumors that he had contracted a debilitating illness like AIDS. It was a period in history when such viruses weren’t understood as well as they are today. The reality was that ever since Reynolds had injured his jaw, he had been taking pain killers. Over time, he had become addicted to the drugs, and this is what affected his weight considerably.

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Fighting Rumors