After graduating from high school, Burt Reynolds earned a football scholarship to Florida State as a halfback. In his first season with the Seminoles, Reynolds ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He also reeled in four catches for 76 yards. He had a promising future with the program, but he suffered a knee injury in the Seminoles' first game of his sophomore season.
Suddenly he was doing TV and before long he was on the big screen. There was the still-shocking "Deliverance," "The Longest Yard" (which winked at his love of the game), "Starting Over," the hit "Smokey & The Bandit" films, and my favorite(s) of all his work, "The Cannonball Run." His hilarious outtakes with co-star Dom DeLouise - never mind legends like Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr - remain a thing of beauty.
When his volatile marriage to TV star Loni Anderson superseded coverage of his actual projects, Reynolds' career took a hit. But a TV series of his own, "Evening Shade" on CBS, gained him renewed favor (and also co-starred a then-unknown Billy Bob Thornton. Before long he'd be back on the big screen and Oscar-nominated for his work in "Boogie Nights." (He lost to Robin Williams" for his work in "Good Will Hunting.") Reynolds was currently filming the Quentin Tarantino film "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood."