Burt Reynolds: ''I was getting sick of hitting people in the mouth'' on Gunsmoke

Westerns were fine, but Reynolds longed to do another genre.

It's hard to picture a time when Burt Reynolds wasn't an A-list star. For decades, Reynolds was the face of jagged cool. He had an entire career as a leading man, and then a second, equally long career as an older man reminding you that he used to be a leading man. He was the action hero, the wisecracker, and the rugged sage, all in one lifetime.

But, if one were to rewind back to 1963, there was a time when the classic Western TV show Gunsmoke featured a Reynolds ascendant. 

"They put me on one show last year to test for public reaction. They got a few letters and put me on 8 more; then 17 more," Burt told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"I'm getting away from the kick that everybody hates me this season," said Reynolds. By 1963, he'd done enough episodes to cement his character in viewers' minds.

"I was getting sick of punching people in the mouth [...] I'm not so much the 'angry young man.' Of course, it is always there, but there are ways to throttle it down."

While the steady work was satisfying, Reynolds longed to escape the Western world.

"I want to be in comedy. Nobody puts me in comedy because I don't have the kisser for it. I do comedy best, and someday, I'm gonna do it."

Even that early in his career, Reynolds could see his future.

"I'm about three years from people wanting me," said Reynolds.

"First, they say 'Who is Burt Reynolds?'

"Then it's 'Get me Burt Reynolds.'

"And then, in about three years, it will be 'Get me a Burt Reynolds type.'"



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19 Comments

slim115W 19 days ago
So you got married and starting hitting your wives in the mouth! I really never cared for this guy at all.
LynCarrigan 3 months ago
I liked Butt as the Indian blacksmith. Can’t think of his name. Wonder how an Indian learned the trade; their ponies were not shod. Oh , I guess he was half Indian so maybe he learned as a white man.
daDoctah 4 months ago
According to IMDb, Burt was in 50 episodes of Gunsmoke which isn't bad, although not a record for him. He was in 99 episodes of Evening Shade, and in second place, 95 episodes of Out of This World, although he didn't appear on-screen on that one (he was the voice of Evie's father, projected from somewhere out in space to the crystal communication device she kept in her room).
CharlesRocksClone 4 months ago
I could have envision him as a small town high school football coach surrounded by wacky characters and maybe even have Nardo (Marilou Henner) from Taxi to play his wife.
How about as "Chubby", the owner of several businesses on "My Name Is Earl"?
Cougar90 4 months ago
On "The Merv Griffin Show" he was asked when he was the happiest as an actor. Without hesitation he said, "The three years I was on Gunsmoke." He also said his favorite episode was the one with George Kennedy and Katherine Ross. It's good to know he had some nice memories of those three years.
IndianaRockz Cougar90 4 months ago
I enjoy seeing him as a guest on Johnny Carson re-runs...always makes for a great episode since he seemed to have had a great sense of humor.
daDoctah 4 months ago
A few years later in 1971, at the age of 35, Burt started dating Dinah Shore, who was hosting a daytime talk show at the time. And strangely, nobody in those days ever made much of their 20ish-year age difference.

Dinah had yet to experience her 14th birthday, which took place on February 29th, 1972.
cperrynaples daDoctah 4 months ago
Clearly you made a mistake as Dinah was on television in 1958! What you meant was as a leap year baby she only had a true birthday every 4 years!
FlashbackTV 4 months ago
I have a screen shot of festus getting knocked out while sitting in a chair 🪑 ( ON THE BOTTOM OF THE CHAIR ) ( GUNSMOKE PROP ) BIG LETTERS 😂😆 Guess they had a problem with props walking off for other shows 🤠
FlashbackTV 4 months ago
STILL a huge GS fan, can't ever change the channel, when it's on and I'm surfing 😂😆...
Runeshaper 4 months ago
Burt Reynolds was so cool (-:
MrsPhilHarris 4 months ago
I ypused to find him rather charming. Then he went a little weird.
And one more thing to add: His next series after Gunsmoke was Hawk, a show in which he played a half-breed cop in contemporary New York! I'm almost certain he was still hitting people in the mouth...LOL! To be fair, around the time of this interview, he did a Twilight Zone in which he did a hilarious takeoff on Marlon Brando!
cperrynaples 4 months ago
That's a variation on an old Milton Berle joke! The last 2 lines are "Get me a young Burt Reynolds!" and "Who's Burt Reynolds?" He went through all 5 stages multiple times!
Irish 4 months ago
I loved Milburn Stone. I miss him. Rest in peace Doc. 🙏
Irish 4 months ago
The only time I enjoyed watching Burt Reynolds, was when he had Dom Delouise as a co-star. The outakes from any of their films are absolutely hilarious! Other than that, wasn't a huge fan.
Suzies1952 4 months ago
I was glad Burt Reynolds’s wasn’t on gun smoke very long! Do not, never liked him and the picture he did in play girl years ago!, was a laughable sight, I still remember my friend bought the magazine to see his picture, we couldn’t stop laughing at it never watch any of his movies, will have to put up with him on gun smoke, when he’s on it!
cperrynaples Suzies1952 4 months ago
Actually It was in Cosmo which predated Playgirl! My sister bought a copy of that issue!
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