What can you say about Burt Reynolds that hasn’t already been said? A charming good ol’ boy persona made him the biggest star on the planet, just about, between 1973 and 1980. Beloved by crews because he only acted when his football career went south following an injury, he became a favourite of stuntmen, especially Hal Needham, who knew he was the right guy for Smokey and the Bandit. A household name since Gunsmoke. Sexy but earnestly likable. A bit dangerous looking without the ‘tache. Possibly part-Cherokee, he played a Native American detective in TV’s Hawk. He admitted in his memoir he didn’t push himself and rejected the serious roles or the ones that might have made him stratospheric – like Han Solo. All the while his Southern wisecracking roles filled theatres. He liked a good time. But he also liked to direct, and made Sharky’s Machine, amongst others. Editing his own performances made him a better actor. He liked his female co-stars to play strong characters in their own right. Illness following an accident on City Heat depleted him and people deserted him in droves. He proved his comic chops on his return to TV in the show that reinstated his stardom, Evening Shade. The role of the porno king in Boogie Nights reinvigorated his movie career after a startlingly good appearance in Striptease. Far from retreating to some gated mansion he kept acting, even in films that weren’t great or even good – and there were dozens of them. But he was appreciated by the auteur directors for whom he was charismatic, smirking, lusty, reliable, and pretty unforgettable. He was about to star for Tarantino (christened after Burt’s character in Gunsmoke) in what would undoubtedly have been another phase in his fifty-plus years of stardom. But now he is gone. Burt Reynolds, we loved you. Rest in peace.