Always known as “The Bandit”
There are very few in Hollywood that have the acting ability to mold themselves like a chameleon into a role. Then once molded into that character there are only a very very few from those who create an image that becomes legendary.
Burt Reynolds was one of those actors. The classic car world has a few individuals, who are reflective not only of a character, but also with a particular car. You had The Dukes of Hazard with the General Lee, Paul LeMat, who played John Milner, who put hod rods back on the map in American Graffiti, then there was Eleanor, but when you think of “The Bandit” any classic car enthusiast is going to gravitate to the black Trans Am.
Burt Reynolds not only molded into his character and made you feel it, he branded, not only a generation, but generations with an image of a black T/A that we’ll never forget.
Below are some unknown facts about Burt Reynold’s personal life that also portray the man he was.
In his early years, trying to succeed in Hollywood, he was denied roles, but it didn’t take long that producers and directors noticed his screen capabilities. My dad, who founded Duncan’s Cadillacs in North Hollywood told me stories when I was a kid about how Burt Reynolds would hang out in the Palomino Club, where my Father would frequent for lunch and drinks. He would sell Cadillacs to actors and actresses and although Burt didn’t buy any cars from my dad, he would talk over a beer. My father said that he was one of the nicest guys you would ever meet and that the conversation didn’t go long until Burt had women all over him.
Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine, who has played in movies with Burt. He told me that Reynolds sent him a video very recently and said: “I love you and hope to see you soon.” It’s clear that Reynold’s was not feeling well, but he took the time to connect with past fellow actors and friends just to let them know how he felt.
In 1977 my family moved to Houston and before “Smokey & The Bandit” was released finding a Black T/A on the road was hard to come by, but immediately after the movie was released, there were more cowboy hats in the drivers seats of black T/A’s going down the road than you could imagine.
All in all, yesterday was a sad day, not only for the Reynolds family, but the entire classic car community, as we have lost not only a great actor, but an icon, who brought attention to our industry. I am told that if he felt well, he never turned down the opportunity to help promote the same. We will always remember him as Gator Mcloskey, J.J. McClure, Jack Horner and yes “The Bandit”, but his essence was Burt Reynolds.
Mr. Reynolds, you will be missed. You were a class act. RIP Burt Reynolds.
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