1. Burton Leon “Burt” Reynolds is an American actor, director and producer.
2. He starred in many television series and feature films, such as Deliverance, The Longest Yard as well as its 2005 remake, Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run.
3. He also won two Golden Globe Awards, one for Best Actor in a Television Series Musical or Comedy for Evening Shade and one for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for Boogie Nights.
4. His father became Chief of Police of Riviera Beach, which is adjacent to the north of West Palm Beach, Florida.
5. During 10th grade at Palm Beach High School, Reynolds was named First Team All State and All Southern as a fullback, and received multiple scholarship offers. While at Florida State, Reynolds became roommates with now notable college football broadcaster and analyst Lee Corso.
6. Reynolds hoped to be named to All-American teams and to have a career in professional football, but he was injured in the first game of his sophomore season, and a car accident later that year worsened the injury. With his university football career over, Reynolds considered becoming a police officer, but his father suggested that he finish university and become a parole officer.
7. To keep up with his studies, he began taking classes at Palm Beach Junior College in neighboring Lake Worth.
8. In his first term at PBJC, Reynolds was in an English class taught by Watson B. Duncan III.
9. Duncan pushed Reynolds into trying out for a play he was producing, Outward Bound.
10. He cast Reynolds in the lead role based on having heard Reynolds read Shakespeare in class.
11. Reynolds won the 1956 Florida State Drama Award for his performance in Outward Bound.
12. Reynolds calls Duncan his mentor and the most influential person in his life.
13. The Florida State Drama Award included a scholarship to the Hyde Park Playhouse, a summer stock theater, in Hyde Park, New York.
14. Reynolds saw the opportunity as an agreeable alternative to more physically-demanding summer jobs, but did not yet see acting as a possible career.
15. While working there, Reynolds met Joanne Woodward, who helped him find an agent and was cast in Tea and Sympathy at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.
16. His classmates included Frank Gifford, Carol Lawrence, Red Buttons, and Jan Murray.
17. After a botched improvisation in acting class, Reynolds briefly considered returning to Florida, but he soon got a part in a revival of Mister Roberts, in which Charlton Heston played the starring role.
18. After the play closed, the director, John Forsythe, arranged a film audition with Joshua Logan for Reynolds.
19. The film was Sayonara; Reynolds was told that he could not be in the film because he looked too much like Marlon Brando.