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Why Did Burt Reynolds Leave Gunsmoke?

Jame Arness and Burt Reynolds in Gunsmoke
Jame Arness and Burt Reynolds in Gunsmoke cridit CBS via Getty image

Burt Reynolds Jr. is a 70s Icon and a sex symbol in American Pop culture. He rose to fame through his television shows Like Gunsmoke, Hawk, and Dan August. His endearing but rogue roles earned him the symbol of masculinity. He has won the most coveted Golden Globe Awards two times, one for Evening Shades and one for Boogie Nights, the same movie Boogie Night gave him an Academy Award nomination.  

Born in Lansing, Michigan, Burton Leon Reynolds spends his teenagehood in Palm Beach, Florida. Reynold’s father was the Chief of the Police of Riviera Beach. He did his high school from Palm Beach High School. After he finished high school, he attended Florida State University. A trivia that many don’t know about him is that he was a football player and attended the university on a football scholarship. During his sophomore year, he was met with a car accident that injured his spleen. He couldn’t return to play, so to keep up with his studies, he enrolled In Palm Beach Junior College.

Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds

At PBJC, Reynolds was a part of an English class. The Professor of this class, Watson B Duncan III, soon identified his talent in acting. This class Changed his life forever as it was Duncan who pushed him to try acting by casting him in a play he was producing. Because of this, he considered Duncan as his mentor, and it was he who found the hidden talent in him.

During that summer vacation, he worked at The Florida State Drama Award. It was from this experience he met people in the Theatre who realized his potential and started to cast him in their Plays. This was how he began his acting career. 

Why Did Burt Reynolds Leave Gunsmoke?

Reynolds’ big break came from starring in the TV series Riverboat. He played the role of Ben Frazer. Though the show went on to have two seasons, he left after twenty episodes. He did not get along with his producers or castmates. After Riverboat, he went on doing guest appearances before he landed the job at Gunsmoke. 

Gunsmoke was one of the top-rated shows in the country during the 60s. When Dennis Weaver, one of the cast, wanted to leave the show, the producers decided to create a new character to replace him. They created the character Quint Asper, who was a blacksmith of mixed parentage and an acting deputy.

James Arness, Ken Curtis and Burty Reynolds

James Arness, Ken Curtis, and Burt Reynolds

Quint Asper builds a friendship with Matt Dillon, which allows him to integrate more with the community, and that is how he became a part of this community. In the end, Quint just disappears from the community without saying any words. This Iconic Western series, with its cowboy culture, was what brought him more fame. 

He decided to leave the show after three seasons and 50 episodes. He was a part of the show from 1962 and 1965. It was not his own wish but was the advice given to him by his co-stars James Arness and Milburn Stone. Milburn particularly believed that he had more movie potential. He did not have any problems with his castmate or production team; in fact, he loved to work with the castmate. He considered it as an opportunity to learn, a stepping stone to his Movie career.

Burt Reynolds In smokey and the Bandit Credit Getty images

Burt Reynolds In smokey and the Bandit Credit Getty images

He recalled what his co-star Melburn Stone said to him in an interview with the Cowboy and Indians, “Your movies are taking off” Stone famously said, “it is time to think about your movie career.” Reynolds decides to take this advice and leave the show to focus on his growing movie career. This proved to be the right move, as his movie career took off after his departure from this hit TV series.

Despite his absence, the show continued to run for another 20 seasons.  

Burt Reynolds’s Career After Leaving Gunsmokes

Just after leaving Gunsmoke, he was cast in the tv series The Hawk. His name in this role is John Hawk, and he plays the main character. He is a Native American detective in this series. He was also famously known for turning down the role of James Bond from Sean Conney by arguing that Americans can’t play the role of James Bond. 

He was cast in other Tv series and movies and did talk shows before he landed on his breakthrough role in Deliverance. It is the movie that made him “the movie star.” His biggest success was in a car chase film, Smokey, and the Bandit. From there, it was a journey of ups and downs, but his status of him as an Icon of American Masculinity still continues. 

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