Burt Reynolds credited with helping put Georgia's film industry in the spotlight

Legendary actor Burt Reynolds had deep ties to the city of Atlanta. Reynolds called Georgia home for many years and was a pioneer in the state's film industry.

Reynolds' manager, Erik Kritzer, told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor died Thursday morning at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida.

During his career, he often claimed to be born in Waycross, Georgia but grew up in Florida.

Reynolds' affinity for Georgia was well-known. He was the Grand Marshall of WSB-TV's Salute to America parade back in the 1960s. Scrolling through our halls at our station in Midtown is this photo of that memorable day.

How many of you remember this? Burt Reynolds was the Grand Marshal of our Salute to America parade back in the 1960s. May he rest in peace.

Posted by WSB-TV on Thursday, September 6, 2018

Reynolds is credited with putting Georgia's film industry on the map in the '70s. He filmed "Smokey and the Bandit" in McDonough, Jonesboro and Lithonia. The 1972 thriller "Deliverance" was shot in several locations throughout Georgia including Clayton, Rabun Gap and Lake Tallulah Falls. "The Longest Yard" was shot on location at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia.

Below is video of Reynolds and crew filming the classic sports comedy.

Last year, Reynolds was in town to celebrate the 40th anniversary of "Smokey and the Bandit" taking part in a parade and signing autographs.

We went into our archives and found this video of Reynolds being interviewed in 1972.

Georgia leaders took to social media to remember him and his contributions to the Peachtree State.


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