Burt Reynolds was born on February 11, 1936, in Lansing, Michigan. He attended Florida State University on a football scholarship, but an injury led him to pursue acting. He appeared regularly on television, but his 1972 appearance in the film Deliverance was a breakthrough role. He was a leading film star in the ‘70s and ‘80s. His role in Boogie Nights earned him an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe.
In 1957, Reynolds received his big break after he appeared in a New York City Center revival of Mister Roberts and subsequently signed a TV contract. With regular roles on Riverboat, Gunsmoke, Hawk and Dan August, he became a familiar face to television audiences. Both handsome and charming, Reynolds also increased his popularity in the early 1970s by appearing on numerous TV talk shows.
Though he had received film work in the past, Reynolds breakthrough role did not come until 1972’s Deliverance, which established him as both a star and a serious actor. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Reynolds remained one of Hollywood’s most sought-after superstars, with films ranging from Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) to Starting Over (1979).
With his film career waning in the mid 1980s, Reynolds returned to the small screen with the popular sitcom Evening Shade, for which he won an Emmy in 1991 and a Golden Globe in 1992.
In the mid-1990s, Reynolds began his film comeback with his role as a drunken congressman in Striptease (1996). Although the film was a critical failure, Reynolds’ performance earned widespread kudos. His luck continued the following year, when Paul Thomas Anderson cast him as a porn director in his acclaimed Boogie Nights, for which Reynolds won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award. He also appeared in the comedy Bean and starred in Mystery, Alaska in 1999. In 2001, Reynolds starred in the thriller Tempted and in the bittersweet love story Snapshots in 2002.