Burt Reynolds turned down several big roles

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Burt Reynolds died September 6, 2018 following heart trouble for years. He died at a Jupiter, Florida hospital. He was 82.

His ex-wife Loni Anderson released a statement that she and their son Quinton would miss him and "his great laugh."

Reynolds became a household name while starring on the television series Gunsmoke (1962-1965). He also appeared in Hawk (1966) and Dan August (1970-1971).

His big breakout film role was Lewis Medlock in Deliverance (1972). The American thriller film is about four Atlanta men who canoe down a river into remote northern Georgia expecting to have a boys trip, but instead run into a series of unfortunate circumstances. Reynolds is also known for his acting in The Longest Yard (1974), Smokey and the Bandit (1977), and The Best Little Whorsehouse in Texas (1982).

He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Boogie Nights (1997). Reynolds acted in almost 100 films. He worked on movies until his death. His last television role was in 2012 in Archer as himself.

The Roles He Turned Down

Burt Reynolds also painfully passed on a number of huge roles over his 60-year-long career. What was the role he regrets the most on skipping out? James Bond.

At the time his excuse was that the public wouldn't accept an American playing a popular British spy. He was offered the role after Sean Connery retired from it.

“It was a stupid thing to say,” Reynolds told USA Today in 2015. “I could’ve done it, and I could’ve done it well.”

Instead David Niven took the helm in 1967 and George Lazenby in 1969. Both played Bond for a single film. Then Roger Moore stepped into the role from 1972-1985. Followed by Timothy Dalton (1986-1994), Pierce Brosnan (1994-2004), and Daniel Craig (2005-present).

While Reynolds refused to take martinis shaken but not stirred, he also turned down an offer many couldn't refuse: The Godfather's Michael Corleone. But Reynolds said he didn't regret passing on this role. During an interview with Andy Cohen, the actor acknowledged a rumor that Marlon Brando threatened to quit if Reynolds was part of the cast.

One of the biggest heartthrob roles of the '70s and '80s was looked over -- Reynolds didn't want to fly into space as Han Solo. Perhaps if he took it Harrison Ford would be an unknown name -- and the Indiana Jones series could have ended up with a different actor altogether.

Later in 1990, Richard Gere got the role in Pretty Woman. Reynolds turned down the role and told Cohen, "Because I'm an idiot."

He also passed on Jack Nicholson's role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Reynolds said he wanted to play it, but, "You can't out drink Jack. And you can't out smoke him either."

Still, there’s one near-miss that could have prevented Reynolds from his biggest achievement. The actor admitted to turning down his role as Jack Horner in Boogie Nights not once, but seven times before finally accepting the part. He told Conan O’Brien this in an interview earlier this year. Despite earning him critical acclaim and his first and only Oscar nomination... Reynolds never watched Boogie Nights.

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