Did Burt Reynolds Turn Down Terms of Endearment for Stroker Ace?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Burt Reynolds turned down an Academy Award-winning acting role that was specifically written with him in mind so that he could do Stroker Ace.

Terms of Endearment was a 1975 novel by Larry McMurtry about the strained relationship of a mother and her grown daughter…

James L. Brooks made his film debut as a writer with the screenplay for the popular 1979 film, Starting Over, starring Burt Reynolds as a divorced man balancing his relationship with his new girlfriend and his ex-wife…

In 1983, Brooks made his film debut as a writer/director with the film adaptation of Terms of Endearment, starring Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger as the mother and daughter.

Brooks decided to add a new character to the film, a romantic interest for MacLaine’s character. The character, Garrettt Breedlove, was a retired astronaut who was a bit of an arrogant boozehound, but with a heart of gold.

Brooks wrote the character with Reynolds in mind, who was in his late 40s at the time.

However, Reynolds at the time had a lead role in an action-comedy called Stroker Ace, where he played a race car driver.
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Was George Reeves’ Role Reduced in From Here to Eternity Because Audiences Couldn’t Handle Seeing Superman in the Film?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: George Reeves had a number of scenes cut out of From Here to Eternity because test audiences were too jarred at seeing TV’s Superman in the film.

George Reeves was already appearing as Superman in The Adventures of Superman when he appeared in the 1953 film, From Here to Eternity, as the character of Sergeant Maylon Stark.

In the 1952 James Jones novel that the film was based on, depicting the various troubles of servicemen stationed in Pearl Harbor in the months leading up to the sneak attack by the Japanese in December of 1941, Stark had a fairly sizable supporting role (below is the famous scene on the beach with leads Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr).

In the film, however, he is a very minor character.

As many people know by now, George Reeves suffered great difficulties dealing with being typecast as Superman after the show ended, ultimately leading to his alleged suicide in 1959.

Now, a legend sprung up regarding From Here to Eternity and the relatively small role of Reeves in the picture.

In his discussion of the film on the All Movie Guide, Hal Erickson pretty concisely describes the legend…

If you’re able to take your eyes off the principals for a moment or two, keep an eye out for George Reeves; his supporting role was shaved down when, during previews, audiences yelled “There’s Superman!” and began to laugh.

Read on to learn the truth…

Continue reading “Was George Reeves’ Role Reduced in From Here to Eternity Because Audiences Couldn’t Handle Seeing Superman in the Film?”