Sarah Larson at The New Yorker:
For pop-culture enthusiasts of the seventies and eighties, reports of the death of Burt Reynolds, at age eighty-two, of a heart attack, in Jupiter, Florida, may have come as an unexpected shock. Some of us imagined him as eternally youthful, wisecracking, knowingly amused. Reynolds was a genial presence who seemed to have it all—in his heyday, he was the country’s top box-office star for five years; later, he lived in a sprawling estate called Valhalla—and remain a good sport. (His memoir, from 2015, is called “But Enough About Me.”) He was an amiable king of machismo, hairy chests, and highway-focussed buddy comedies, and his friendly sexiness—onscreen and on the covers of tabloids and glossy magazines—was for many years a constant. His groundbreaking centerfold in Cosmopolitan, from 1972, in which he stretched out, naked, on a bearskin rug, embodied his affable sensuality. “He was handsome, humorous, wonderful body, frisky,” Helen Gurley Brown later said, of choosing him for the shoot.