Burt Reynolds, Floridian to the Core, Dies at 82


TAMPA and LOS ANGELES (970 WFLA) -- An actor and icon with deep Florida roots is gone. 

Burt Reynolds was raised in Riviera Beach, played football for Florida State, then went on to fame and fortune as an actor. Us magazine reports that he went into cardiac arrest at a Florida hospital today and died with his family by his side. 

Reynolds was the most popular actor in the nation for much of the 70s... appearing in movies such as Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Cannonball Run and Smokey and the Bandit, not to mention Boogie Nights later in his career, after several TV roles in the 1960s. 

Reynolds' Florida State connections led to several interviews and collaborations with FSU and Buccaneers play by play voice Gene Deckerhoff. Reynolds' lifelong friend and fellow Seminole, Vic Prinzi, worked with Deckerhoff for years on the FSU broadcasts. Deckerhoff worked with Reynolds on a video of great moments in FSU football, and did play by play for the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits, which were partially owned by Reynolds. 

Deckerhoff recalled when Reynolds came up to the play by play booth as FSU was playing in Arizona. He recalls the crowd turning its attention from the field to the booth to watch Reynolds. 

Deckerhoff visited Reynolds' California home during his heyday and recalled seeing several trophies stacked on the piano... for the five years in a row that Reynolds was number one at the box office, 

Longtime former FSU football coach Bobby Bowden was a confidante of Reynolds and appeared with the actor as himself in one of Reynolds TV series, "Evening Shade." Deckerhoff said Reynolds called Bowden one day a few years back and said he wanted to know Jesus." That led Bowden to travel to Jupiter and pray with Reynolds, according to Deckerhoff. 

Reynolds had lived in Jupiter in his later years and suffered from heart problems. He was 82 years old.

A few surprising facts about Reynolds in this video: 


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