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The Real Reason Burt Reynolds Died Broke

It’s been said by those that have a lot of it that money isn’t really that important. They say that It’s just a way of keeping score. Just a set of imaginary numbers if you will.

Granted, that’s a pretty privileged perspective. For the rest of us, it’s a pretty important ‘score’ to keep on top of – especially if you want to have little things like food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and medical care.

Of course, there are wealthy people out there for whom these numbers really don’t matter. Some folks are lucky enough to be born with a silver spoon in their mouths. It’s almost like they have some kind of magical golden fountain that dispenses Benjamin’s whenever they’re needed or wanted. It must be nice, right?

But what happens when that magical money spout dries up? What then? 

Well, that brings us to Burt Reynolds. How, you might ask? Well, keep watching and find out.

There was a time back in the 70s when it was almost impossible to avoid seeing him, but he didn’t get to that level overnight. 

Burt toiled away as a working actor for years, landing supportive roles on TV shows like Gunsmoke and Flipper in the mid-1960s before getting his own series, Hawk, In 1966. He then scored the lead role on another series, Dan August, in 1970. 

In 1972, his movie career erupted after Deliverance hit theaters. And after posing nude for Cosmopolitan, his public image was given another boost. After that, it was one film after another, and one star-studded romance after another as well. He also frequently guest-hosted The Tonight Show whenever Johnny Carson was out of town.

He eventually turned into a stereotype of sorts. He was this well-spoken southern boy with a love for flashy cars and beautiful women. That’s what people thought of whenever you mentioned his name, and he certainly didn’t hate that reputation. If anything, it was pretty spot-on.

Reynold’s Marriage To Loni Anderson

The 70s and 80s were very good to Reynolds. The film roles and the money just kept on flooding in. He opened up a dinner theater in Jupiter, Florida where he lived, and started producing plays starring some of his closest Hollywood allies. This theater was a tremendous gift to the community even though it only made money for two out of the 10 years it was open.

At the height of his career, Reynolds was banking $10 million or more a year. And back then $10 million was huge. To put it into perspective, $10 million back in 1980 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $33 million today.

Reynolds told Vanity Fair back in 2015 that he had lost more money in his lifetime than what should be possible just because he wasn’t paying attention. He lost roughly $20 million on investments that he made in a couple of different restaurant chains that ended up tanking, but his marriage to Loni Anderson also proved to be disastrous to his finances.

Not only could she max out a credit card with a $45,000 limit in just about 30 minutes, but their divorce was pretty harsh on his bank account as well.

After the divorce and settlement was finalized, Burt was left with just $5 million. He must have been kicking himself for signing that prenup, don’t you think? 

He had to sell most of his real estate, his theater, and even auctioned off a bunch of his personal items and memorabilia just to stay afloat. The waterfront home that he once owned was purchased by a friend of his when his assets were being liquidated. Fortunately, that friend let him continue to live there while paying very little in rent until he got back on his feet.

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And don’t go anywhere just yet. Stick around to see what Burt Reynolds said his biggest regret was in life.

Reynolds Never Expected To Be An Actor

When Reynolds was in college at Florida State University he played football and had aspirations of becoming a police officer. But after performing Shakespeare for his English class, he discovered that he had a penchant for acting.

So he started performing as a theater actor and then in the late 1950s he landed some of his first television roles. Reynolds appeared in his first film role in the low-budget 1965 film Operation CIA. But his first major role came 7 years later for 1972s Deliverance.

Throughout his life, Reynolds’s romantic life was always intimately connected to his acting career. He married his first wife, actor Judy Carne in 1963 although they divorced just two years later. Burt also dated singers Dinah Shore and Tammy Wynette, but his relationship with actor Sally Field, with whom he starred in multiple films, is particularly noteworthy.

But even though they enjoyed a relatively good relationship with each other, Reynolds never married her. Instead, he tied the knot with another one of his co-stars Loni Anderson.

Who Were Loni Anderson And Sally Field? 

Both Anderson and Field were both relatively prestigious actors. Just like Reynolds, Field got her start acting on television in the early 1960s, while Anderson didn’t find success in the industry until the 1970s.

Field and Reynolds met and started dating in 1976. They starred in four films together, including both Smokey and the Bandit and its sequel as well as The End and Hooper. They called things off in 1980 but kept an on-again-off-again relationship going until 1982.

Anderson and Reynolds met in 1983 while on the set of the film Stroker Ace. They didn’t officially start a relationship, however, until 1988. They only briefly dated before getting married later that year.

Their relationship was difficult at best and Reynolds was rumored to be quite abusive to her. Reynolds eventually ended that marriage as well after he cheated on her with a cocktail waitress. The details of that divorce as you might expect ended up getting quite messy.

Burt Was Left With Strong Regrets 

Reynolds has stated on multiple occasions that one of his biggest regrets in life was not marrying Sally Field when he had the chance. Towards the end of his life, he was quoted as saying that Field was the love of his life. Breaking things off with her like he did continued to weigh heavy on his heart for decades after they parted ways – even after he had several other relationships and even fathered children with other women.

He told People magazine a couple of years before he died that he missed her terribly. Even years after their relationship ended, it was still something very difficult for him to come to terms with. He felt like he had made a foolish, stupid decision by not cultivating a lasting relationship with her.

Field went on to marry a man by the name of Alan Greisman. They ended up having a child together before filing for divorce in 1994, which happened to be the same year that Reynolds and Anderson ended their marriage.

Who knows how things would have been different for either of those stars if Reynolds hadn’t sabotaged his relationship with Field, but we do know that he would have done things differently if he had the chance.

From The Biggest Star In Hollywood To Practically Destitute 

For that golden period of his career in the 70s and 80s, Reynolds was without question one of the biggest stars in show business. It was almost as if everything that he touched turned to gold and for five years in a row films that he starred in were number one at the box office. That’s something that no other star has ever been able to accomplish since.

While he was on top of the world for quite some time, it wouldn’t be long until things started going downhill for Reynolds. After the whirlwind of success that he experienced in the 70s and 80s, Burt was never quite able to find the same level of stardom again. 

It’s got to be quite the shock to go from being one of the biggest movie stars in the world to not being able to find even halfway decent supporting roles. During the peak of his career, Reynolds spent money faster than he was making it. It was like water for him. It just kept flowing and he never expected it to eventually dry up.

And sure, even if he started to run a bit low on funds, he was always used to just signing another contract, starring in another film, and suddenly voila his bank account was replenished, but once he became less of an in-demand actor, it wasn’t quite as easy to keep his lavish, free-wheeling lifestyle going.

At one point Reynolds jet-setted around on his private jet. He even bought himself his own helicopter to take him to his jet. And then there was all that money that he invested in his properties. Reynolds owned several mansions, a ranch, and quite a bit of land. And for the most part, properties can indeed be a legitimately good way to invest, but when Reynolds ran out of cash and found himself owing a lot of people money, he had to liquidate most of those assets to avoid going bankrupt. One by one, Reynolds was forced to sell off all of fancy, nice things.

Reynolds Owed Everyone Money 

When Reynolds and Anderson got divorced in 1994, he was forced by the court to disclose his debts as well as what his assets amounted to. At that time, Reynolds had over $11 million in debt and his assets would only cover $6 million of that.

It came out that he owed more money than he even realized at the time. The IRS demanded money from him, and so did his bank, his former manager, and the Creative Artists Agency. During that investigation, it was even revealed that Reynolds owed his toupee manufacturer more than $100,000.

After the divorce was finalized, Reynolds went on to stage a bit of a career comeback starring in films like Striptease in 1996 and Boogie Nights in 1997. The latter even earned him an Oscar nod. Unfortunately, that comeback was relatively short-lived and his career soon stagnated once again.

Reynolds continued to have financial troubles for the rest of his life. He lost one of his estates after missing several payments and was labeled a California tax delinquent.

Although he wasn’t completely broke for the last decade of his life, he didn’t have nearly as much money as he should have had considering his former A-list status. He lived out his remaining years on an estate in Palm Beach County.

Reynolds died of a heart attack at The Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida on September 6, 2018. He was 82 years old.

Well, we’ve reached the end of this video but may it serve as a reminder to all of us as to what is most important in life. You can accumulate all the fame and fortune under the sun, but all of that can be gone in the blink of an eye.

Burt Reynolds was once on top of the world but in the end, he was nearly broke, alone, and filled with regret. Nobody wants to go out like that.

But what do you think? Did Burt bring on all his troubles by his own doing or was he a victim of unfortunate circumstances? Let us know in the comments section below.

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We’ll catch you next time for another facts-packed video!

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