Burt Reynolds has died at age 82.
When Reynolds spoke to The Saturday Evening Post in 1978, he was in the midst of releasing his second film as a director. The End was a black comedy with Sally Field and Dom DeLuise, and the movie received mixed reviews, partly because, critics said, Reynolds was playing fast and loose with the difficult genre. Reynolds opined, “It’s a subject that’s been in the closet too long. I remember Steve Martin walked out on the ‘Tonight” show one night and the audience clapped. He said, ‘Why are you applauding? You’re all going to die.’ There was total silence. Like somebody had just told them something they didn’t know.”
“It’s amazing to me that people don’t talk about it,” Reynolds said. “Realizing the inevitability of death makes life more worth living. It makes me want to make this day more important and not waste it.” At the time, the actor was at the height of his career, rounding out a decade of blockbuster hits and serious dramas as a national heartthrob and even posing nude in a Cosmopolitan centerfold. From movie stunts to publicity stunts, Reynolds seemed to have a firm grasp on his career and his life and what he wanted out of each.