Merle Haggard Was Burt Reynolds’ Choice to Play The Snowman

Merle Haggard

Reading through the new definitive biography on Merle Haggard by Marc Eliot called The Hag: The Life, Times, and Music of Merle Haggard, there are a some fresh details revealed on some of the older and well-known Merle Haggard stories and anecdotes from his legendary Hall of Fame career, and a few new stories that few if anyone knew about Merle beyond his close friends and family.


One such interesting story that seems to have gone under-reported in the Internet age is that Merle Haggard was the pick by Burt Reynolds to play his semi truck-driving sidekick “The Snowman” in the legendary Smokey and The Bandit movie series.

In 1973, Merle Haggard agreed to appear on a Burt Reynolds NBC special taped at the notorious United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. This was when prison concerts were all the rage, thanks to Johnny Cash’s successful prison albums, and Merle’s #1 songs about prisoners and convicts like “Sing Me Back Home” and “Mama Tried.”

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