Ryan Reynolds Reveals Father Died of Pneumonia, Warns Young People to Take Coronavirus Pandemic Seriously

Actor Ryan Reynolds stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, phoning in from his home, where he is self-quarantining with his three daughters, his wife, actress Blake Lively, and her mother. During the long discussion about how Reynolds and Lively's companies Aviation Gin and Mint Mobile are helping coronavirus relief, the Deadpool actor revealed his father's cause of death in a plea to young people to take this seriously. Reynolds revealed his father died in 2015 after a battle with pneumonia.

Reynolds told Colbert he was speaking with someone who was shrugging off the coronavirus because they thought it caused pneumonia. Even if it did though, Reynolds pointed out how deadly pneumonia can be. The actor described his father James Chester Reynolds as a "very, very strong guy" who was a boxer and a former police officer. But despite all these crazy things he did, even after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, it was pneumonia that killed him.

"Pneumonia is very serious," Reynolds said. "It can take out the toughest of us, and it certainly got my dad. So coronavirus is a serious thing. I keep seeing people - particularly young people - talk about it like it's not really their problem. And, my God, it's their problem."

"There are some beloved people who have compromised immune issues. There's elderly people that are beloved, not just loved in show business, but in life, too," Reynolds continued. "We've got to do all we can. So yeah, scary times. But we're going to get through this somehow."

Elsewhere in his interview with Colbert, Reynolds said his gin company Aviation Gin is raising funds for charity and helping out bartenders out of work during the crisis. Lively and Reynolds also donated $1 million to food banks in the U.S. and Reynolds' native Canada. Their Mint Mobile company has been giving back ak well.

"I'm not really in the business of telling people what to do, but I do think it's incumbent upon those who can give back to do so, particularly in a time like this," the actor said. "People are struggling to pay rent, they're struggling to buy food. And food, I think, is a national security issue. And pretty much treating people in this country with dignity and respect, that's part of the integrity of democracy."

As for how his family is getting through quarantine, he said they are home-schooling and gardening. "We're trying to make this an educational experience. But I'm mostly drinking," he added.

Reynolds did admit he missed being around men, although he has learned to life doing "the girls' stuff."


"I try not to push gender normative ideas on my kids as they're born, but each one, as soon as they came out of the chute, they wanted to make dresses, they wanted to dress in hot pink all day," Reynolds said. "That's what I've been doing. This morning we made dresses out of tissue paper, which was fun for them... This is what we're doing! We're developing the skills that will take us into the new world."

Photo credit: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images