Veteran Hollywood actor Burt Reynolds, star of “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Boogie Nights,” has died aged 82, US media have reported.
The one-time sex symbol died on Thursday after suffering a cardiac arrest, his agent Todd Eisner told broadcaster CNN.
Reynolds hit his peak of fame in the 1970s and 1980s as a wisecracking, moustachioed macho man with a sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye.
But it was his role as a porn director in the 1997 film “Boogie Nights” which gave the long-time leading man his first and only Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.
Reynolds himself considered the 1972 thriller “Deliverance,” which cast him as outdoorsman Lewis Medlock, his best film, he told interviewers.
The police officer’s son from Michigan, who grew up playing football in southern Florida, starred in some 100 films.
He famously became the first man to pose naked for a magazine in 1972 when he stripped for Cosmopolitan magazine, sealing his reputation as a heartthrob, though it was a decision he later said he regretted.
He also regretted turning down key roles that went on to launch younger stars’ careers, including leading roles in “Star Wars” (1977), “Pretty Woman” (1990) and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest (1975),” he told Entertainment Tonight in 2015.
Reynolds lived life in the fast lane, and reports of fortunes gained and lost, bankruptcy filings and his love life were tabloid fodder for decades.
He divorced his first wife British actress Judy Carne in 1965 after just two years, with her later accusing him of physically abusing her, which he denied.
Among his other significant relationships were romances with TV talk show host Dinah Shore, who was nearly 20 years older than Reynolds; actress Sally Field; and second wife actress Loni Anderson.
An acrimonious divorce from Anderson after five years of marriage and a bitter custody battle for adopted son Quinton made headlines in the early 1990s.
In a statement quoted by US media, Field, whom Reynolds later said was the love of his life, said he would “be in my history and my heart, for as long as I live.”
“There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away,” she said. “They stay alive, even 40 years later. My years with Burt never leave my mind.”
Reynolds eventually left Hollywood and moved to Florida where he taught acting.
In 2015 he admitted that his full-on lifestyle had left its mark. He told “Entertainment Tonight” he was a “wreck,” which he attributed to doing the stunts in many of his films himself when he was younger.
In his memoir “But Enough About Me”, published the same year, Reynolds said he wanted to make amends for being an “asshole” on too many occasions.
Reynold was due to appear in a new Quentin Tarantino film, “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Al Pacino, set for release in 2019.
After news of his death broke, colleagues, fans and friends paid tribute. Former California governor and action star Arnold Schwarzenegger called him “one of my heroes.”
“He was a trailblazer. He showed the way to transition from being an athlete to being the highest paid actor, and he always inspired me,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Clerks” director Kevin Smith called him “THE movie star of my childhood.”
“I always loved how Burt Reynolds worked with his friends as often as he could and then showcased the fun of movie-making in the end credits of his flicks. He was [a] true American icon,” he tweeted.