Back in the 1980s a rumour dogged Smokey and the Bandit star Burt Reynolds, a nasty story that the man had contracted AIDS. There were probably further insinuations through that. The National Enquirer was said to have been at the core of this falsehood.
A new article from VanityFair now highlights Burt Reynolds’ revenge. The man launched limited air strikes, literally, on the NQ HQ.
Among filmmakers, Reynolds was said to be ornery, demanding, difficult. And he slept with too many co-stars. The rumor mill turned grotesque while he filmed the 1984 cop drama City Heat. During a stunt, he accidentally suffered a broken jaw. Weeks of eating through a straw, coupled with a creeping jaw disorder, left him 40 pounds lighter (and hooked on painkillers). The tabloids attributed his weight loss to AIDS. The rumor dogged him for years. Reynolds once went so far as to fly his chopper over the National Enquirer’s Florida headquarters and shower it with horse manure.
I mean, in the history of manly actors’ actions, that takes some beating. The only thing that comes close would be Jean Claude Van Damme taking on ten men at a Bucharest nightclub in 2005, after they had assaulted a woman.