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Where Are The Last Living Cast Members Of ‘Smokey And The Bandit’ Today?

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For movie-watchers looking for an all-around fun watch in the ‘70s needed to look no further than Smokey and the Bandit. The action-comedy featured a star-studded cast led by Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Paul Williams, Mike Henry, Pat McCormick, and Jerry Reed. The film went on to establish a series and influenced several aspects of American culture. But now only three members of the hugely impactful Smokey and the Bandit cast remain.

Those individuals are Sally Field, Paul Williams, and George Reynolds. Sally was known as the lovely Carrie, nicknamed Frog. Paul was known as Enos “Little Enos” Burdette. That leaves George as Sheriff Branford. Fans of the franchise that popularized the Pontiac Trans Am and Diablo sandwiches are mourning the loss of Reynolds, Reed, Gleason, and, most recently, Mike Henry of the main cast. But what are those that remain doing these days?

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Sally Field is still very much in the limelight after life with the ‘Smokey and the Bear’ cast

Sally Field over the years / Everett Collection / ImageCollect

Sally boasted a stellar career before, during, and after Smokey and the Bear. Of biggest note was, perhaps, her compelling performance for the NBC television film Sybil (1976). It was an impressionable performance that made her shift to Smokey and the Bandit all the more stark. But Sally was used to scripted television thanks to three years on The Flying Nun. Although, it’s worth noting, many lines from Smokey and the Bandit were, in fact, improvised.

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Field stayed very busy after finishing with the cast of Smokey and the Bandit / AdMedia

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“I thought maybe I should do it because it wasn’t a script,” said Sally, reflecting on her career during a 2016 interview with Howard Stern. “I didn’t know Burt and we all just said, ‘Let’s just ad lib our way through this thing.’”

Today at 77, Sally has done just about every kind of production, from more drama in Steel Magnolias, to additional cultural touchstones like Mrs. Doubtfire and Forrest Gump. She’s continually updated her resume so there’s something for everyone; her performance in ER earned her the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2001. She also joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe by playing Peter Parker’s Aunt May in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and its 2014 sequel. Her most recent gig was in 2023’s 80 for Brady, which put her alongside Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Rita Moreno.

For her exhaustive work in film and TV, Sally also became a recipient of the 2023 SAG Life Achievement Award.

Paul Williams mostly returned to his musical roots but kept his options wide open

Paul Williams joined the cast of Smokey and a Bandit with a strong music background / Everett Collection / ImageCollect

Paul kicked off his career in the world of music and he never strayed too far from this symphonic origin story. He started off working with comedian and songwriter Biff Rose and their first big creation, “Fill Your Heart,” earned a cover from David Bowie.

Williams returned to his musical roots / AdMedia

While the ‘70s would of course be the decade that introduced the world to Paul in Smokey and the Bandit as Little Enos, it was also an early high point for Paul’s music work. He and songwriter Roger Nichols wrote hit after hit, especially for Three Dog Night, including “The Family of Man” and “Out in the Country,” and even the Carpenters, specifically “Rainy Days and Mondays.” He even collaborated with Barbra Streisand for “Evergreen.” Paul would often compose for television or film; he did so for a 2007 musical production of Happy Days.

Paul did appear on-screen in acting roles after 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit. Some of his film appearances were The Muppet Movie (1979), The Night They Saved Christmas (1984), and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004).

A man of many hats, Paul also appeared in several other television shows, including The Love Boat, Hawaii Five-O, Fantasy Island, B. J. and the Bear, Babylon 5, Walker, Texas Ranger, The Bold and the Beautiful, Community, and most recently Goliath.

Today, Paul Williams is 83 and uses his music outside of studios to inspire change. In September 2015, he and bass player Kasim Sulton collaborated to make the world’s first crowd-sourced anthem promoting recovery and uplifting those struggling with addiction. The event, held that October, was headlined by Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow, Joe Walsh, and others. 10,000 participants sang along to “Voice of Change” that day.

After the trend-setting film, George Reynolds kept a low profile

George Reynolds played Sheriff Branford as a man all about the law and very little nonsense. Like his on-screen counterpart, George played things close to the belt. His career gained traction in the early ‘70s and saw him with small but numerous roles in Barnaby Jones, Baretta, Phyllis, and Sanford and Son before ever donning the gold sheriff star in Smokey and the Bandit.

Things stayed relatively the same for George after that, with the actor maintaining a steady course that didn’t kick up massive waves but also didn’t throw him into any dangerous tempests either. He can be seen in several classics like Starsky and Hutch, Taxi, Good Times, American Dream, Quincy M.E., Fantasy Island, St. Elsewhere, and in 2016’s Heels, according to his IMDb page.

In terms of personal life, George keeps a low profile, not offering much in the way of updates to his romance or family life or plans for the future. This has, though, allowed him to enjoy playing such an integral and memorable role in a cultural touchstone while enjoying a quiet life.

Who was your favorite character from Smokey and the Bandit?

SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, 1977 / Everett Collection

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