Known equally for his iconic movie roles as well as his signature mustache, Burt Reynolds' impressive-as-it-is filmography could have been even more extensive. The actor, who died Thursday at the age of 82 of a reported heart attack, famously turned down popular parts in movies that went on to be insanely successful, like Han Solo in Star Wars and Michael Corleone in The Godfather.
Continue scrolling to see what movie roles Reynolds turned down throughout the course of his long career.
Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
Before Harrison Ford claimed his career-defining role as scoundrel Han Solo in the first Star Wars film, George Lucas offered the part to Reynolds, who happened to be a hot name around movie studios at the time. After all, it had only been a few years since Deliverance and The Longest Yard.
But Reynolds wasn't interested.
"I just didn't want to play that kind of role at the time," he told Business Insider. "Now I regret it. I wish I would have done it."prevnext
Instead of jumping at the chance to play the first American James Bond, Reynolds turned it down because he thought the public wouldn't accept an American playing 007 — something he told producer Cubby Broccoli, who offered him the role after Sean Connery retired.
“It was a stupid thing to say,” Reynolds told USA Today in 2015. “I could’ve done it and I could’ve done it well.”
Of course, other motives play a role in his regret not to accept the role.
"I would've liked to have had a shot at James Bond, if for no other reason, I'd be very rich now, and I could've had a good time with him," he told Deadline in 2015. "I would've at least smiled once in a while, whereas the new guy doesn't even chuckle."
"I just felt that, at the time, I thought there might be a resistance from the public. I don’t know. What the hell was the matter with me? I should've done it," he said.prevnext
Jack Nicholson's role in 'Terms of Endearment'
Reynolds reportedly turned down the role of retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove in 1983's Terms of Endearment, which James L. Brooks specifically wrote for him — which meant the womanizing role went to Jack Nicholson, who took home a best supporting actor Oscar for the role.
"I regret that one most of all because it was a real acting part," Reynolds said, according to Business Insider. "I wish I would have done it, and thinking back now, it was really a stupid decision, but I made a lot of stupid decisions in that period. It must have been my stupid period."prevnext
Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather'
If you couldn't possibly replace Al Pacino with Burt Reynolds as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, you're not alone. Reynolds told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live that Michael Brando threatened to quit the iconic film is Reynolds came on board.
“I was flattered that he was upset,” Reynolds said.prevnext
Richard Gere's role in 'Pretty Woman'
After Reynolds turned down the role of businessman Edward Lewis, who falls in love with Julia Roberts' character in Pretty Woman, the part went to Richard Gere. When Business Insider admitted to Reynolds that it would have been a "weird choice" to see him opposite Roberts, he replied, "I agree."
So why didn't he take the role? "Because I'm an idiot," he told Cohen.prevnext
Jack Nicholson's role in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'
Though he "desperately wanted to play it," Reynolds told Cohen he still turned down the role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest which eventually went to Nicholson, who won an Oscar for it.
"You can't out drink Jack. And you can't out smoke him either," Reynolds said.prevnext
Bruce Willis' role in 'Die Hard'
Reynolds is long rumored to have turned down the role of Die Hard, although he told Cohen doesn't remember doing so.
"You can't go back," he told The Sydney Morning Herald of the regret that comes with turning down an important role. “You can’t relive that moment when you should have said, ‘I’ll take it, I’ll do it.'”prevnext
His own role in 'Boogie Nights'
Some things are simply left to fate to decide. That was proved when Reynolds turned down his own role of Jack Horner in Boogie Nights seven times before finally accepting the part.
He told Conan O'Brien in an interview his year that despite the critical acclaim and only Oscar nomination the role earned him, he never watched the movie because "it just wasn't' my kind of film."
In fact, he was so unhappy with the film that he fired his agent, according to The Washington Post.0comments
By the way, he lost the Oscar that year to Robin Williams for his role in Good Will Hunting.
"I once said that I'd rather have a Heisman Trophy than an Oscar," Reynolds wrote in his 2015 memoir But Enough About Me. "I lied."prev