A mega-star of the 1970’s and 80’s Burt Reynolds was best known for appearing in hit movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Deliverance,” “The Longest Yard” and “Cannonball Run.” But all of his success and fame collided with a string of financial crises, bad investments and an expensive divorce from actress Loni Anderson which left him seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1996 with over $10 million in debt. But Burt Reynolds’ tango with bankruptcy didn’t begin in 1996, it began months or even years before he eventually decided to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In 1994 Burt Reynolds revealed that he had $11 million in debt and that he had to make payments of $1 million a year just to remain current. But unfortunately for Reynolds, his earnings from acting had decreased from millions of dollars to just hundreds of thousands of dollars for appearing in a major film. Because of this, the actor became 9 months delinquent one of his California homes and failed to pay the taxes on another home for two years. When encouraged by others to file bankruptcy, Burt Reynolds refused, insisting that he was going to pay every last penny of his debts. Fortunately for Burt Reynolds, he did not persist in this type of thinking and eventually filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy emerging from bankruptcy in 1998 and going on to garner much success in his career, evening earning an Oscar nomination in 1997 after appearing in the hit film “Boogie Nights.” The bankruptcy filing allowed Reynolds to focus his energy back on his acting career instead of wasting it on battling with a horde of creditors. It is no coincidence that Reynolds’ career began to falter as he struggled financially and then improved after he reorganized his debts in bankruptcy. This is the power of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy allows the debtor to put their finances in order and get on with living their life.