The Town of Jupiter wishes to extend its deepest sympathies and condolences at the passing of Hollywood legend and Jupiter’s hometown star, Burt Reynolds, who passed away Thursday, September 7, 2018, at the age of 82.
Burton Leon Reynolds, Jr. was born on February 11, 1936 in Lansing, Michigan, and was raised in Palm Beach County. His father was an Army veteran who became Police Chief for Riviera Beach. Burt attended Palm Beach High School, where he was a member of the football team and earned a football scholarship to Florida State University. After an injury sidelined his football career, he enrolled at Palm Beach Junior College and appeared in multiple stage performances that set him on his path to a Hollywood film career. Burt returned to his roots in the 1970s and lived and worked in the Jupiter area until his passing.
In addition to his distinguished film career, Burt will be remembered locally for his many contributions and philanthropic work, including the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Television, the former Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater (now known as The Maltz), a scholarship program for film students in his name, and Burt Reynolds Park.
- During his time at Palm Beach Junior College in Lake Worth, he was asked to take part in the play Outward Bound. He was awarded a Florida State Drama Award for his role and thus began his journey into acting.
- After his initial acting award, Reynolds got a scholarship to work in Hyde Park Playhouse, a summer stock theatre in New York. It was there that he met with Joanne Woodward who helped him find an agent.
- From 1959 to 1961, he starred in an NBC television series called "Riverboat," where he worked with actor Darren McGavin.
- Throughout his early roles in the 1960s, he appeared in various TV shows including: "Pony Express," "The Brothers Brannagan," "The Everglades," "Gunsmoke," "Perry Mason," "The Twilight Zone," and "12 O-Clock High"
- In 1972, Reynolds achieved his breakthrough performance in the movie "Deliverance." It was an American thriller directed by John Boorman and based on a novel written by American writer James Dickey.
- In 1973, he pursued his singing talent and came out with an album called ‘"Ask Me What I Am" and also sang a duet with Dolly Parton in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."
- In 1977, Reynolds starred in the iconic lead role in the movie "Smokey and the Bandit" along with Jerry Reed, Sally Field and Jackie Gleason. Interestingly, that same year, he turned down an offer to play the role of Han Solo in "Star Wars."
- In 1978, Reynolds earned his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- In 1980, Reynolds returned in the staring role as the Bandit in "Smokey and the Bandit II." Many of the scenes from the movie, including the iconic bridge jump, shot on-location right in Jupiter.
- From 1989 to 1990, he starred in a detective drama series for ABC called "B.L. Stryker," which was filmed on-location in Jupiter, and throughout Palm Beach County.
- In 1990, he starred in a television series produced by CBC called "Evening Shade." His impeccable performance earned him an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
- In 1996, after a long break from acting, Reynolds appeared in the successful "Striptease" alongside Demi Moore, and in the following year, starred in another commercial hit called "Boggie Nights" for which he was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe.
- Throughout the remainder of his life, Reynolds continued to act, direct and produce.