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Singer-actor Jerry Reed dies at the age of 71

Singer-actor Jerry Reed dies at the age of 71

Posted: Wednesday, September 3, 2008 10:17 pm
By: AP

NASHVILLE (AP) — Jerry Reed, a singer who became a good ol’ boy actor in car chase movies like “Smokey and the Bandit,” has died of complications from emphysema at 71. His longtime booking agent, Carrie Moore-Reed, no relation to the star, said Reed died early Monday. “He’s one of the greatest entertainers in the world. That’s the way I feel about him,” Moore-Reed said. Sony BMG Nashville Chairman Joe Galante called Reed a larger-than-life personality. “Everything about Jerry was distinctive: his guitar playing, writing, voice and especially his sense of humor,” Galante said. “I was honored to have worked with him.” Reed’s catalog of country chart hits, from 1967 through 1983, were released under the label group’s RCA imprint. As a singer in the 1970s and early 1980s, Reed had a string of hits that included “Amos Moses,” “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” “East Bound and Down,” “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)” and “The Bird.” In the mid-1970s, he began acting in movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit” with Burt Reynolds, usually as a good ol’ boy. But he was an ornery heavy in “Gator,” directed by Reynolds, and a hateful coach in 1998’s “The Waterboy,” starring Adam Sandler. Reynolds gave him a shiny black 1980 Trans Am like the one they used in “Smokey and the Bandit.” Reed and Kris Kristofferson paved the way for Nashville music personalities to make inroads into films. Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers (TV movies) followed their lead. “I went around the corner to motion pictures,” he said in a 1992 AP interview. Reed had quadruple bypass surgery in June 1999. Born in Atlanta, Reed learned to play guitar at age 8 when his mother bought him a $2 guitar and showed him how to play a G-chord. He dropped out of high school to tour with Ernest Tubb and Faron Young. At 17, he signed his first recording contract, with Capitol Records. He moved to Nashville in the mid-1960s where he caught the eye of Chet Atkins. Published in The Messenger 9.3.08

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