Burt Reynolds and the Stunt He Regretted
Legendary actor Burt Reynolds passed away on September 6th at the age of 82 after unexpectedly going into cardiac arrest. His passing has prompted many to look back over the star’s long career – including the stunt Reynolds later said he regretted attempting.
Business Insider spoke to Reynolds in 2016 about the stunt, filmed on the set of 1972’s Deliverance. Describing the stunt, in which his character goes over a waterfall during a river-rafting trip, Reynolds described how he insisted upon doing the stunt himself, rather than his longtime stunt double Hal Needham. “It was a dumb macho thing to do,” he said. “I tell everyone I was a 31-year-old guy in great shape before I went over the falls. And once I got in they couldn’t find me. I remembered one of the stunt guys said to me before the stunt, ‘If you get caught in the hydrofoil and you can’t get out, go to the bottom and it will shoot you right out,’ but he didn’t tell me it was like being shot out of a torpedo. I came out of the river about a mile away it seemed like, and I came out with no clothes. I had no shoes, socks — the falls tore them off. It was a pretty hairy stunt.”
“When it’s cold and I’m limping around I think, ‘Why didn’t I let Hal make some money and I just sit down?'” Reynolds added. “But you can’t go back.”
Deliverance went on to be nominated for three Oscars and five Golden Globes, and was Reynolds’ breakout role.
In a statement released hours after Reynolds passed, his ex-wife Loni Anderson released a statement thanking fans around the world for “the tremendous outpouring of love and support”.