Film writers like to make comparisons. George Clooney? The new Cary Grant. Tom Hanks? The new Jimmy Stewart.
But Burt Reynolds wasn’t the new anyone. He was Burt Reynolds, a bandit/rogue/good ol’ boy, with his bright red shirt, jet-black moustache and geez-this-is-fun grin. It was not necessarily a persona that drew critical acclaim and he tarnished it with sloppy choices like “Stroker Ace” and “The Cannonball Run” movies.
Still, he was unique — and uniquely popular. He was the nation’s number one box office star five years in a row. And then there were years when he couldn’t get arrested. In his second autobiography, “But Enough About Me,” he wrote about the ups and downs of fame. When he was at the top, he noted, “If I’d wanted, I could’ve had three people pulling up my zipper in the john … It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be number one. It’s even harder to explain what it’s like to go from number one to number sixty-eight.”