Burt Reynolds died a happy man according to Quentin Tarantino, who had given the acclaimed actor’s last big role to him shortly before his passing. In 2018, Tarantino had cast Reynolds to play Southern California ranch owner, George Spahn, in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Sadly, Reynolds died during production before he was able to film his scenes, and the role later went to Bruce Dern.
In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Quentin Tarantino spoke about how Reynolds was the first pick for the part. Though Reynolds didn’t get to film his scenes, the veteran actor appeared to be rather thrilled about his involvement in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which would have been his first time appearing in a Tarantino movie. In fact, as Tarantino explains, Reynolds was even going through his lines for the movie on the night of his passing, and all indications were that the actor was very happy with his life at the time.
“The night he died, what he was doing before he passed on was he was running lines with his assistant. That’s like, sad and beautiful at the same time. He was so happy. I can honestly say he died happy. I am not saying he died happy because of me, but he was happy, he definitely happy when he passed on.”
While Burt Reynolds doesn’t appear in the movie, he did attend a rehearsal with Tarantino in preparation for the role. It may not have been filmed, but his final acting performance was technically for a script reading for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Prior to then, he did wrap filming for other projects he was working on and was posthumously seen in the movies An Innocent Kiss and Defining Moments. It was the culmination of a 60-year career in the movie business.
Reynolds died of a heart attack in the fall of 2018 at the age of 82, and a private memorial service was held shortly thereafter. His body was cremated and later interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on February 11th, 2021, in honor of the actor’s would-be 85th birthday. Fans are still getting over the actor’s death, as he was still very active before his passing and hadn’t shown any signs of slowing down, even as he entered his 80s.
Written and directed by Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the penultimate movie for the esteemed director. He has confirmed his plans to retire with his next movie, which will be his tenth feature. Tarantino hasn’t yet decided what his final movie will be, though he has nixed the idea of remaking Reservoir Dogs after briefly giving that idea some consideration. Many fans don’t want to see him retire as some consider Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to be among his best work, feeling Tarantino is still at the top of his game.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is currently streaming on Starz. For more of the story that didn’t make its way into the theatrical version, you can read the new novelization recently released by Tarantino. This news comes to us from CBS Sunday Morning.