Burt Reynolds top top the collection of global Studiosí stage 27 wherein he is directing martin Sheen in NBCís ìAlfred Hitchcock Presentsî in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 23, 1985. Reynolds directed most of the episodic reflects he walk for television such as ìDan Augustî and also ìGunsmoke.î (AP Photo/Red McLendon)

Before the movies Smokey and the Bandit and The Cannonball Run or the fight sitcom Evening Shade, a young Burt Reynolds wowed television audiences as a recurring character on Gunsmoke.

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Dennis Weaver"s 1962 exit from Gunsmoke opened up the door for a new character, the half-Comanche blacksmith Quint Asper. Reynolds, a former football player at Florida State University, edged out over 300 other actors. Reynolds wasn"t brand-new to tv at the time, having actually starred in Riverboat and also appeared in such standard TVseries together Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone.

Suddenly, Gunsmoke had actually a young heart-throb v a Hollywood future to complement the popularity of Rawhide regular Clint Eastwood.

We very first meet Quint in the illustration "Quint Asper comes Home" as he"s avenging his father"s death. Still, Marshall Matt Dillon (James Arness) look at the good in the angry young man, opening the door for the character to show up in the collection until Reynolds left the show in 1965. If three periods is barely a blip top top the radar because that a TV present that aired CBS because that 20 years, Reynolds" reasonably short operation on the television collection remains popular among fans of classic Westerns.

Reynolds later on told the New York Times that being top top Gunsmoke to be "the happiest duration of mine life. I hated come leave that show but I feel I had actually served mine apprenticeship and also there wasn"t room for 2 leading men."

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After leaving Gunsmoke, Reynolds starred in the short-lived detective series Hawk (ABC) and also Dan August (CBS). The latter finished in time because that Reynolds come audition because that Lewis Medlock because that his an initial showing of crate office dominance, 1972"s Deliverance.

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So, before he ended up being a soccer player (Semi-Tough, The Longest Yard (the original and the Adam Sandler remake)) and also an adult film director (his Oscar-nominated duty as Jack Horner in Boogie Nights) on the large screen, Reynolds won America over on possibly the biggest Western film collection of every time.