15 Celebrities Who Became Famous Accidentally

Burt Reynolds


Photo by Alan Light

3. Burt Reynolds

Another college football athlete turned Hollywood star, Reynolds had several football scholarships to choose from and accepted one from Florida State University. His aspirations to play professional football were interrupted when he injured his knee during his first collegiate game. Later that year, he was in a car accident that exacerbated the injury and his hopes for a future in football ended. Reynolds considered becoming a police officer like his father, Burt Reynolds, Sr. but in part due to his father’s recommendation, stayed in college to pursue a career as a parole officer. Reynolds was now attending Palm Beach Junior College where he took a theater class. The teacher was producing a play and encouraged Reynolds to try out. Reynolds got the lead and won the Florida State Drama Award in 1956 for his performance. Although this role didn’t catapult him to fame, he had been bitten by the acting bug and by 1959 he had landed a role on the television series, “Riverboat.”

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