Jerry Reed, the country singer and songwriter turned actor has passed away at age 71, yesterday morning according to his long time booking agent Carrie Moore-Reed.
Reed is probably best remembered for being Burt Reynold’s sixteen wheeler driving sidekick in two Smokey And The Bandit movies, before taking the lead in the third film. Thanks to the popularity of the first film, his song “East Bound and Down,” which was featured on the soundtrack, became a number 2 selling single.
Reed had previously appeared with Reynolds in the 1975 film W. W. And The Dixie Dancekings and 1976’s Gator. Never straying far from his Southern good old boy image, Reed also appeared in such films as High Ballin’ (1978), Hot Stuff (1979) and What Comes Around (1986).
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Reed picked up the guitar while still a child and was signed to write and record for Capital Records at age 18. One of his first hits was “Crazy Legs” as recorded by rockabilly legend Gene Vincent. He moved to Mashville in 1961, where he became a much sought after sessions player, playing on a handful of Elvis Presley tracks.
His final film appearance was in the 1998 comedy The Waterboy.