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When Burt Reynolds Played a Congressman, It Was a Slippery One

The film icon had many memorable roles, but this was not one of them

Burt Reynolds as the slippery, fictional Rep. David Dilbeck in “Striptease.” (Roll Call illustration by Chris Hale)
Burt Reynolds as the slippery, fictional Rep. David Dilbeck in “Striptease.” (Roll Call illustration by Chris Hale)

The Stripped-Down Congressman

Among Burt Reynolds’ least known roles is a particularly baroque portrayal of David Dilbeck, a fictional Florida congressman, in “Striptease,” the 1996 film based on the Carl Hiaasen novel of the same name. 

Playing a corrupt creep who is head over heels for Demi Moore’s stripper with a heart of gold Erin Grant, Reynolds went over the top in oozing sleaze in the role. 

“You’ve never covered yourself with Vaseline?” he asks an aide who wants to know why he’s dressed in cowboy boots and hat, boxers and leather vest, and is inexplicably shiny. “You don’t know what you’re missing.”

Reynolds’ weird and wonderful performance may not be enough to justify watching the alleged comedy, but hey, at least there’s a congressional angle so Roll Call can get in on the tributes to the iconic actor, who died Thursday at the age of 82. 

There was also that time Reynolds’ 1974 classic “The Longest Yard” played on the television at the weekly press conference for Speaker John A. Boehner on July 21, 2011. “Boehner’s press conference centered on another game of inches — the ongoing negotiations over the debt ceiling” was how Roll Call’s “Postscript: Cutting Room Floor” photo feature described it back then.

UNITED STATES - JULY 21: The movie
The movie “The Longest Yard” plays on a television during the weekly news conference of Speaker John Boehner on July 21, 2011, in the Capitol Visitor Center where he mainly addressed the debt ceiling talks. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

This Week’s Podcast


This week’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh has indeed brought out the political theater, the kind envisioned when we came up with the name and concept of the podcast. Leah Askarinam of Inside Elections was kind enough to go through some of the political context of those senators putting Kavanaugh through his paces at the Judiciary Committee hearing room. Have a listen:

The Kicker

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