Burt Reynolds Biography

Burt Reynolds ‘having difficulty breathing,’ according to 911 call, was rushed to hospital

According to a 911 call released by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Reynolds was “having difficulty breathing and chest pains” when a caretaker at his Tequesta home called for help.

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Update: 6:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 6: A caretaker at Burt Reynolds Florida estate called 911 just before 1 p.m. Thursday to report the actor was in distress, according to the Palm Beach Post.

“I have an 82-year-old male. He is experiencing difficulty breathing and chest pains,” the caretaker said.

The operator asked if Reynolds was breathing normally and the caretaker answered, “No.”

When asked if Reynolds had ever had a heart attack, the caller answered, "He had a bypass a few years ago."

Emergency responders transported the actor to the Jupiter Medical Center where he later died, according to news reports

Update 5:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 6: Burt Reynolds’ family issued a statement, with his niece calling his death a surprise, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“He has had health issues, however, this was totally unexpected. He was tough. Anyone who breaks their tailbone on a river and finishes the movie is tough. And that’s who he was,” Nancy Lee Hess said.

Hess called Reynolds a loyal family man and friend.

"My uncle was not just a movie icon; he was a generous, passionate and sensitive man who was dedicated to his family, friends, fans and acting students," Hess said.

She also said he was preparing for his next film role.

“My uncle was looking forward to working with Quentin Tarantino (In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and the amazing cast that was assembled."

Reynolds’ co-star in several movies and the woman he called his one true love has issued a statement on his passing.

Actress Sally Field, in a statement to The Associated Press, said she’ll always remember Reynolds.

“There are times in your life that are so indelible, they never fade away. They stay alive, even forty years later. My years with Burt never leave my mind. He will be in my history and my heart, for as long as I live. Rest, Buddy.”

Another Reynold’s co-star, Dolly Parton, called him a “favorite leading man” in a Twitter post on his death.

Parton said she’ll always remember his “funny laugh,” “the mischievous sparkle in his eyes” and “his quirky sense of humor.”

Reynolds’ manager, Erik Kritzer, told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor died Thursday morning at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida. An unidentified source told US Weekly that family members were by his side.

>> Video: Burt Reynolds’ 10 greatest films

Reynolds was born in Lansing, Michigan, on Feb. 11, 1936, although for years fans believed he had been born in Waycross, Georgia, according to the Detroit-Free Press. His family moved to Riviera Beach, Florida, in 1946.

"If there's any confusion about my birthplace, it's my fault," Reynolds wrote in “But Enough About Me,” an autobiography released in 2015. "I was born in Lansing, Michigan. We moved to Florida when I was five. I grew up a Southern boy who didn't want to be a Yankee."

>> Photos: Burt Reynolds through the years

He began his career in TV in the late 1950s. By the 1970s he had grown into a Hollywood sex symbol and one of the silver screen’s top talents.

“He became one of the top movie actors of the 1970s, showing his dramatic and comedic range in movies from ‘Deliverance’ to ‘The Longest yard’ to ‘Sharky’s Machine’ to perhaps his most beloved film, ‘Smokey and the Bandit,’” the Palm Beach Post reported.

Reynolds appeared in nearly 200 film and television roles over the course of his career, earning Golden Globes in 1992 and 1998 for his performances in "Evening Shade" and "Boogie Nights" respectively. He inspired a wide range of responses over his long, erratic career: critical acclaim and critical scorn, commercial success and box office bombs. Through it all he presented a genial persona, often the first to make fun of his own conflicted image.

"My career is not like a regular chart, mine looks like a heart attack," he told The Associated Press in 2001. "I've done over 100 films, and I'm the only actor who has been canned by all three networks. I epitomize longevity."

Celebrities, friends and fans took to social media to mourn the prolific actor.

 
 
 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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