Remembering a True Legend: Burt Reynolds (1936-2018)

Burt Reynolds as Bo “Bandit” Darville in a Smokey and the Bandit II promotional photo.

Burt Reynolds as Bo “Bandit” Darville in a Smokey and the Bandit II promotional photo.

We had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Mr. Burt Reynolds on the 2017 Bandit Run, which also happened to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Smokey and the Bandit. Thanks to the efforts of Gene Kennedy from the Burt Reynolds Institute and Dave Hall from Restore a Muscle Car, we were able to schedule 10-15 minutes for the interview, which turned into 30 plus minutes that Mr. Reynolds sat with us and shared memories and insights from his Smokey and the Bandit days for our documentary. One comment I can remember in particular in talking with Mr. Reynolds about his driving scenes in the movie; he said he feels like American muscle cars are the best sports cars on the road, and that the Trans Am is about the best there ever was. From a biased f-body fan, I couldn't agree more. :)

Burt Reynolds, to me as a kid, was the definition of cool. Even though Smokey and the Bandit was made a few years before I was born, its long-lasting cultural impact continued to influence me throughout the 80s, 90s, and well into the 2000s. Boogie Nights continues to be another of my all time favorite movies, and Mr. Reynolds' Academy Award nominated performance is one of the reasons why.

From Lewis Medlock to Gator McKlusky, Sonny Hooper, Jack Horner, and of course the Bandit and many many more, the characters that Mr. Reynolds played will endure, along wth the memory of the great and gracious man that played them. We will miss you, Burt.

Drew Money - Director of "Norwood, Where Legends Were Born"