The Real Reason Burt Reynolds Lost All Of His Money

More than one captain of industry has suggested that money is just a way of keeping score. Not that important, really. Just numbers. For the rest of us, it's a pretty important score to keep track of, involving food and shelter and clothing and transportation and medical care and — you know. Those scores. No doubt there are those individuals for whom the numbers don't really matter anymore — their lives are somehow connected to a magical golden spigot that gushes greenbacks whenever they're needed. Or even just wanted. Which brings us to Burt Reynolds.

There was a time there in the 1970s when it was hard to avoid him. He labored as a working actor for years, landing supporting parts on TV series like Gunsmoke in the 1960s before getting his own starring vehicles — Dan August, Hawk, according to Biography. In 1972 his movie career caught fire with Deliverance, and his public image burst into flames as well when he was featured as the first nude male centerfold in Cosmopolitan. It was one film after another, one high-profile romance after another (he'd been briefly married to an English comedienne, Judy Carne), frequent appearances as guest host for The Tonight Show, and more. He became a stereotype — the well-spoken Southerner with a penchant for fast cars and beautiful women.

His marriage to Loni Anderson cost him dearly

And the roles, and the money, just kept coming. He built and funded a dinner theater in Jupiter, Florida, where he lived — producing plays starring some of his Hollywood colleagues. A great gift to the community that only made money for two of its more than 10 years of operation.

According to Insider, during his prime, Reynolds was pulling down $10 million a year — and yes, back then, $10 million was not chump change. In 2015 he told Vanity Fair, "I've lost more money than is possible because I just haven't watched it." Investment in a couple of restaurant chains resulted in huge losses — as much as $20 million. His marriage to Loni Anderson opened another wide drain on the finances — just as a for-instance, he said it took her 30 minutes to max out a new credit card with a $45,000 limit. Their divorce was also extremely costly.

He always denied he was broke. But he sold his real estate, his theater, and auctioned his personal memorabilia from a lifetime in show business. He was left with about $5 million, living in a waterfront house he'd once owned that he rented (reportedly extremely cheaply) from the friend who'd purchased it during the liquidation. "I trusted the wrong people with my money," he told Vanity Fair. But he also paid off his creditors, a point of honor for the actor whose father had been a police chief. Reynolds died, age 82, of cardiac arrest.