Reynolds never fades away for very long

He's enjoying yet another comeback

July 07, 2005|By William Weir | William Weir,HARTFORD COURANT

If you felt secure in your belief that you had seen the last of Burt Reynolds, you are not a student of history.

In his three-decades-plus career, Reynolds has worked in two modes: everywhere and nowhere. Well, we are now in the Ubiquitous Burt half of the cycle.

Indeed, Reynolds has made a career of comebacks. A star on the Florida State University football team, he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts. Before he joined the team, though, an injury ended his sports career.

Comeback No. 1: He moves to New York to launch an acting career, which leads to TV gigs and his breakout role in the 1972 movie Deliverance. In the early 1980s, he hits with movies such as Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run and The Longest Yard (the original). In the mid-1980s, truckers, corrupt sheriffs and the antics of Dom DeLuise loosen their hold on the public's imagination.

Comeback No. 2: Reynolds returns to TV. After a false start as a roguish detective in B.L. Stryker, Reynolds takes on the more mature character of a high school football coach in the sitcom Evening Shade. He produced it, starred in it and often directed. He even won an Emmy.

And then he went away, surfacing to declare bankruptcy.

Comeback No. 3: Reynolds gets a starring role in the 1996 Striptease as a drunk, corrupt congressman and as a porn producer in Boogie Nights in 1997.

And again we pretty much forgot about him.

Comeback No. 4: He's come full circle with a new The Longest Yard. Soon, he'll be Boss Hogg in The Dukes of Hazzard. He'll also star in the comedy Grilled, set for release this year. Then, he'll likely disappear.

So until the next one, enjoy this Burt renaissance while it lasts.

The Hartford Courant is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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