For nearly 60 years, Burt Reynolds was the man everyone wanted to be, or be with. He was a great athlete, an incredible actor and a talented producer. He was successful both on the small and big screen. On the personal side of things, however, things were a bit different. Here’s everything from his biggest regrets, to the greatest love of his life.
Burt Reynolds was born to Fern and Burton Reynolds and based on his memoir, he had quite a complicated relationship with his parents, especially during his adolescence. In regards to his mom, the actor said that she was the one who made him become more in touch with his feelings, emotions, and imagination after she encouraged him to read more.
His relationship with his father was a bit more complicated. Reynolds’ dad was more judgmental and allegedly never told the actor that he loved him. He struggled with self-esteem and intimacy issues as a result which took years for him to confront and address.
When Burt was ten years old his family moved to Riviera Beach, Florida. The quiet town boasts a beautiful landscape with an ocean view and gorgeous landscapes. During his high school years he was a popular guy with tons of friends.
The future actor actually started as a football player where he played fullback. Reynolds was a very talented football player and got scholarship offers from several colleges and universities. He eventually chose Florida State University where he played the position of halfback and was part of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He describes his time at college favorably and it didn’t take long until he discovered his love for acting.
Burt’s sporty past
Reynolds ended up playing fullback for his school from 1954 to 1957. During his his junior year, he suffered quite a few injuries that forced him to quit the game.
He did, however, get to practice his football skills when he was cast in the 1974 film The Longest Yard (no, not the later film which starred Adam Sandler) where he played a professional quarterback. After he quit football, following his father’s advise, the young Reynolds became a parole officer.
Caught the acting bug
Reynolds knew in his heart that there were bigger things waiting for him out there. When he started attending different classes at Palm Beach Junior College, he took an English class that changed his life.
The class was taught by professor Watson B. Duncan III who saw the acting potential in Reynolds and talked him into auditioning for a play he was producing, Outward Bound. He was eventually cast in the leading role. The rest is pretty much history.
The infamous spread
The famous actor was never known for being shy to say the least, and he never minded taking on roles that could be considered as racy. Reynolds also didn’t mind taking his clothes off.
The man’s man that he was definitely didn’t mind showing off some skin when he posed nude for famed Cosmopolitan magazine back in 1972. The issue came out after his film, Deliverance, was released and sold over a million copies. Little-known fact: Reynolds regretted his decision to pose nude for the mag.
Turning down big roles
There are two big roles that Reynolds turned down during his career that we have a feeling he probably regretted. One was the role of Han Solo in the popular Star Wars film (which ended up going to Harrison Ford).
The second role was of 007 agent Mr. James Bond after Sean Connery, the legendary agent, stepped away from it. In fact, Reynolds turned it down because he didn’t believe an American could pull it off.
Dating a tennis star
The former heartthrob was a ladies man going back to his early acting days. Everyone wanted to date him, or at least be around him. Perhaps due to his love of sports, Burt wanted to experience what it would be like to date a woman from that part of the world.
He famously dated professional tennis player Chris Evert. The tennis star who’s been married three times in the past has dated many men in her life, but she never dated anyone like Burt Reynolds. Evert said, ‘If Burt likes you, he really takes good care of you. Successful women aren’t a threat to him, and I think that’s what attracted me to him.’
The actor didn’t hold anything back when he wrote his 2015 memoir, But Enough About Me. With a career spanning over 60 years, you can only imagine how much the former star has been through, and oh, the amount of regrets he must have.
He was once considered “the perfect actor,” especially during the ’70s. In later years, however, his career took a more subdued turn. Reynolds even admitted that he accepted roles for the silliest of reasons, such as an actress in the cast.
The love Shore
Dinah Shore was Hollywood’s golden girl back in the ’40s. Shore had a successful music career as well as an acting one. Dinah, who was 20 years Burt’s senior, met the actor in 1970 when the two were guest stars on a talk show. Burt was 35 years old at the time.
On his relationship with Dinah, Reynolds once said: “I’d never met anyone like her. I realized there was a big age gap between us but it didn’t make the slightest difference. I was already in love with her.” The two ended up breaking up after four years together because Dinah couldn’t give Burt the one thing he wanted the most: children.
A musical career
Reynolds was a man of many talents and apart from his rich acting career, his modeling and sports career, he was also an aspiring singer. In 1973, the actor released his debut album titled Ask Me What I Am.
The album did surprisingly well. As part of its promotion, a double-sized poster of the actor-turned-singer appearing in his famous jumpsuit and a cowboy hat were created for his many adoring fans.
Speaking of music, the singing actor starred in the 1982 film The Best Little W**** House in Texas, where he co-starred alongside the one and only Dolly Parton. The film was an adaptation of a 1978 musical of the same name.
Due to its controversial name, the production house had to change its name to The Best Little Cathouse in Texas in some of the print ads. Dolly herself referred to the film when she was being interviewed as The Best Little Chicken House in Texas.
Not many know this, but Burt Reynolds had one famous roommate in college when he attended Florida State University. His famous roommate was Lee Corso, legendary ESPN analyst and broadcaster who also used to coach at the University of Louisville during the early ’70s.
The two obviously chose different career paths later in their lives, but they will always have football in common. Corso was also roommate of Ron Fraser, the coach of the University of Miami baseball team.
Field of dreams
Among the many women that Burt Reynolds dated, the biggest love of his life was actress Sally Field whom he met on the set of the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit. According to the actor, the two couldn’t resist their intense chemistry and soon started dating.
Sally and Burt went on to star in four different films together. Burt even mentioned in one of his interviews that she is the most underrated actress in Hollywood and that he felt lucky to be working with such a talented woman. The two dated for five years.
The biggest regret of his life
One of his biggest regrets was the fact that he didn’t work hard enough to maintain his relationship with Field: “She was the love of my life and I screwed the relationship up. That sense of loss never goes away,” the actor was once quoted saying.
In his memoir, Reynolds revealed that to this day he still misses his long-time love and has always been proud of her work. Both Sally and Burt went on to marry other people.
Burt married WKRP in Cincinnati star Loni Anderson in 1988. The two co-starred in the 1983 comedy Stroker Ice that turned out to be a major cinematic failure. Regardless, they were seen as Hollywood’s golden couple back in the ’80s.
Sadly, their marriage didn’t last, as the couple separated in 1993. Reynolds actually regrets marrying Loni and even went as far as calling it a “dumb move” on his part in his revealing memoir. Ouch.
The truth of the matter is, sadly, that Burt didn’t even want to marry Loni. He found her gorgeous but knew in his heart that she wasn’t the one he was supposed to spend the rest of his life with.
In his candid autobiography, the actor wrote about the day of his wedding: “On the way to the ceremony, my best man, the American football player Vic Prinzi, said: ‘Do you really want to do this?’ […] ‘No, I don’t.'”
The mother of his child
When Loni and Burt were married they adopted a baby boy that they named Quinton Anderson Reynolds. Today, Quinton is in his late 20s and works in the film industry. Unlike his famous parents, he chose to be behind the camera.
He works mainly as a camera operator and a film crew assistant, and is set to work on a film called Minutes to Midnight in 2018. Growing up in the shadow of his parents’ troubled relationship must have been hard.
The longest divorce
If there was one thing Burt couldn’t get used to was his wife’s careless spending while they were married. In his book he wrote: “She bought everything in triplicate, from everyday dresses to jewelry to china and linens…I gave her a platinum American Express card with a $45,000 credit limit. She maxed it out in half an hour.”
Though the couple had split way back in 1993, it was only when Burt was 79, that he finally finished paying off the rest of the money from their divorce settlement.
Before Burt married Loni, he was married to British actress Judy Carne, who was actually quite very successful in the U.S. The couple married in 1963, but their marriage only lasted two years.
Sadly, the actress, who did not have any children and had endured quite a stormy life (including her battle with the use of illegal substances, and a horrific car accident), passed away at the age of 76 back in 2015. Apart from her brief relationship with Reynolds, the actress had a fling with another Hollywood heartthrob, Warren Beatty.
His affair with Farrah
More than twenty years passed between his first divorce from actress Judy Carne and his second marriage to blonde beauty, Loni Anderson. In between the two relationships, Burt dated some of Hollywood’s most stunning actresses.
One of his leading ladies in life was the late Farrah Fawcett. Burt and Farrah starred in the 1981 comedy film, The Cannonball Run, which is one of the most successful films at the time.
His deal with Miko Mayama
Early in his career, Burt dated and even lived with actress Miko Mayama. The two starred together in the 1969 film Impasse. However, after meeting singer Dinah Shore on a talk show, Burt immediately fell in love with her and couldn’t deny his feelings.
When he returned home from Palm Springs, where he had met Dinah, he told Miko that he was in love with someone else. Burt offered Mayama their beach house, $500 per week and his convertible Cadillac. Miko accepted and moved out that same day.
Over the years, the actor was rumored to have undergone plastic surgeries. The actor admitted to having had undergone cosmetic eye surgery and explained his general change in appearance as the result of his problematic use of pain killers.
He also said that his good skin is from his father. Anyways, we think he was always handsome.
He didn’t like Anderson
It was no secret that Burt Reynolds and director Paul Thomas Anderson didn’t really get along. The director who has received critical acclaim for his film Boogie Nights, and the Oscar-nominee had a few clashes on set much due to their different personalities.
In one interview the actor said this about his former director: “I think mostly because he was young and full of himself.” Reynolds also said that he wasn’t very fond of the film.
The big star and the young director
In fact, Reynolds and Anderson were so different and disliked each other so much that their clashes almost got physical. Reynolds was known for his bad temper and everyone knew that on set: “Burt got so frustrated he pulled Paul outside into the backyard and started yelling at him, like a father, you know?” said one source.
“All of a sudden we saw fists flying. We saw some fists flying from Burt Reynolds.” Maybe this is just what happens when a young director and a big Hollywood star try to work together.
Deliverance couldn’t be re-made today
The 1972 thriller tells the story of four friends who find themselves fighting for their survival in the wilderness, after being attacked by deranged locals. Burt remarked that the film, which starred himself, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox, could not have been made today.
“They keep talking about a remake, but I don’t think you could find four actors crazy enough to do it… Not by any stretch of the imagination were we white water experts. We’d quit for the day and come back and practice… I have to admit that, in spite of the danger, or maybe because of the danger, it was the most fun I ever had.”
Evening Shade cancelled
During the early 90’s, Reynolds was the star of a show called Evening Shade, which ran from 1990 to 1994. The show offered the actor a chance to practice his past football skills as he played a former professional football player.
When he found out over the phone that the show was being canceled, he tried to not get sad and said that he wanted to end it in a classy manner. “I am not by any means depressed… I had four great years, which I’m very, very proud of. Hopefully, the people that have offered me major movies to direct, I can get one of those or… I can play Tom Cruise’s father,” he said.
The unbelievable net worth
With such an impressive career, we have to admit that learning about Burt’s net worth in his final years was surprising. The actor, who had tons of films under his belt and several television appearances, was worth “only“ $5 million.
The actor rose to fame in the ’70s and appeared in some of the biggest movies in history, including “Smokey and the Bandit” and “The Longest Yard.” Burt’s career was, however, filled with personal and professional setbacks.
Is that Marlon Brando?
Never in a million years would anyone have thought that looking like Marlon Brando would be a negative thing. Well, for the talented Reynolds it wasn’t a plus as he was rejected for the leading role in Sayonara because of how similar he looked to Brando.
When Reynolds quit college he took his talent to the stage and success was followed by more success until he went in to audition for Sayonara. By the looks of this photo, we can totally understand how people could mix these two actors up.
Brando was no fan of Reynolds
Reynolds was a big fan of the Streetcar Named Desire actor. Brando, However, wasn’t a big fan of Reynolds. When Burt was considered to be part of the 1972 movie, The Godfather, Brando stated that if Reynolds would be given the part, Brando would quit the project.
“He is the epitome of something that makes me want to throw up […] He is the epitome of everything that is disgusting about the thespian […] He worships at the temple of his own narcissism.” Tell us how you really feel, Marlon!
It makes sense that Burt Reynolds would dabble in the nightclub scene, as he was a big ladies man who loved to party. His foray into the busy nightclub business back in the ’70s might have been a short-lived episode, but still, he was the owner of a place called Burt’s Place, which was located in downtown Atlanta by the Omni International Hotel.
The business closed its doors after just one year, but we bet it was one big party inside when it was active.
Jon vs. Burt
Deliverance was one of the highest-grossing films of 1972 and a was huge box-office success. The film starred two of Hollywood’s leading men – Jon Voight who played the role of Ed Gentry, and Burt Reynolds who played Lewis Medlock.
One of the actors on set, Charley Boorman, once explained the different working style of the two actors: “Voight is method. So if he had a scene where he was supposed to be out of breath, he’d say, ‘I need a three minute warning so I can get out of breath’ […] Burt would say, ‘I need twenty seconds’ and he’d squirt a spritzer on himself and breathe hard.”
The Ryan Reynolds connection
Many people assumed that Ryan Reynolds was related to Ryan Reynolds, and you can probably guess why. Well, the truth is that these two were not related at all.
The only time there was a link between the two actors was when the younger Reynolds spoofed the older Reynolds while posing in full superhero regalia for the film Deadpool, in what was a hilarious tribute to Burt’s nude pose for Cosmopolitan in 1972.
A big Fuzz
Reynolds and the stunning Raquel Welch actually starred together in a couple of films. They co-starred in the police comedy film Fuzz in 1972, but the truth is that they didn’t get along.
Welch notified the producer of the film that she didn’t want to work with the actor so they had to shoot each scene twice, once with Raquel’s double and once with the actress herself but without Reynolds in the area. Moreover, Welch would wait for the guard to phone her and tell her that Reynolds was leaving the set before returning herself.
Divorcees don’t drink orange juice
The fact that Reynolds was a Florida native had the Florida Citrus Commission want to hire the actor to advertise their orange Juice. Reynolds, who was raised on Florida orange juice was supposed to star in the company’s ads and signed a long-term contract.
He appealed to people and they loved him. That was until he got divorced from Loni Anderson. It was at that time that his endorsement deals were cut off. The actor once said in an interview: “I don’t know why they think divorced people don’t drink orange juice.”
Walk of Fame
Burt Reynold’s road to fame was without a doubt a long one but one that was worth the wait. He started fresh out of college after his English and drama teacher encouraged him to go and try and pursue an acting career.
From Broadway to the small screen and then to the big screen, Reynolds was on the top of his game and for decades. In 1978 the actor was honored with the famous star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, like a big star deserves.
Florida honored him as well
Before he was a big movie star, Burt Reynolds, who was also nicknamed ‘Buddy’, played football for Florida State University, his now-alma mater. However, despite the fact that he was a great player and had a promising future, his football career was cut short due to some injuries.
While playing at Florida State, the actor ran for 146 yards and to this very day is the most famous alum that the university has known. In 1977, Reynolds was inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame.
City Heat wasn’t a hit
Can you imagine the hype that must have been around when two of Hollywood’s biggest stars were cast in the same film? City Heat was a promising box-office crime hit when two of the greatest star in history joined the cast: Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds.
The film, which was released in the U.S. in 1984 was directed by Richard Benjamin, was thought to have the potential to become a big hit. However, in reality, the film only made $38.3 million in earnings at the box office while the budget was around $25 million.
A painful stunt
Not only was the film a big miss and didn’t do well in the box office, Reynolds was actually injured on set when a metal chair struck his face causing him to shatter his jaw. The 80’s were definitely not kind to the actor, who had developed TMJ as a result of the injury.
Reynolds ended up losing over 40 pounds because hew as unable to eat any solid foods. As you will learn later on, this extreme weight loss sparked rumors that he wished never existed.
Burt Reynolds Park
Some celebrities have streets named after them and some have entire parks in their honor. The Burt Reynolds Park in Florida is a 35 acres park that includes a couple of ramps for those who are enthusiastic about boats, picnic spots and places to go saltwater fishing.
If you feel like having a nice day at the park playing sand volleyball or doing some BBQing and spending a day with your family, The Burt Reynolds Park is a great option. If you feel like getting a little more educated, you can always check out the River Center Exhibitions.
The Longest Yard Sale
As a way to deal with his financial problems, as well as his wish to get rid of much of his belongings, the actor, who was involved in a one million dollar legal dispute over his never-ending divorce, put some of his most famous and personal memorabilia up for auction.
More than 600 items were up for auction including the legendary Trans Am car from Reynold’s film Smokey and the Bandit. Another surprising item was the actor’s 1998 Golden Globe Award, the award he received for Boogie Nights.
It was time
One of the most personal things that Burt Reynolds put up for auction in his big memorabilia event, was an 18 karat gold watch that he received as a gift from his great love, actress Sally Field.
There’s no doubt that this was s a surprising item among the things that were up for sale, as he has admitted more than once that Field was the biggest love of his life and that he should have never let her go.
The ugly truth
Speaking of Sally Field, the actress decided to take on the part of Carrie/”Frog” for an unusual, if calculated reason. Apparently, Sally was perceived as ugly from the previous role she portrayed in the 1976 film Sybil.
In one interview she explained why she decided to take on the role in Smokey and the Bandit: “If I play this character that Burt is supposed to think is attractive, maybe the world will think I’m attractive, and somebody else will hire me” […] So I did it. And it was a great fun romp, journey, and certainly a good experience.”
Needham needed a place to stay
The famous stuntman and director, Hal Needham, who passed away around four years ago, was Reynolds’ long-time friend and later the director of the hit film Smokey and the Bandit. Needham has been living in the actor’s pool house for 12 years, though they rarely ran into each other.
When the movie was just an idea, Needham presented the script to his close friend and Reynolds told him that if he would raise the money, he would star in it.
The wild wild Burt
Among his many accolades, Reynolds was honored at the 2015 Wild West Fest in Kansas when he was inducted into the Wild West Walk of Fame (yes there’s such a thing as the Wild West Walk of Fame).
The actor, who played in the long-running series between 1962 and 1965, was very proud of his role as Quint Asper, as well as of the fact that it has been running on television for longer than any other show he was on.
His walk with Marilyn
The actor once talked about his brief encounter with the one and only Marilyn Monroe: “I walked to a class with her for the studio for a while. We’d walk down the street together, and I was in my early twenties then…
…But I noticed that no one recognized her. So I mentioned that to her. She looked at me and said, ‘Oh, do you want to see her?’ […] I of course told her I would love to. All she did was change her posture, change the way we were walking, and within five minutes, we couldn’t move, so many people were around us. It was pretty amazing.”
Reed and Reynolds
Reynolds and the late country singer and actor Jerry Reed, were closer than anyone knew. The two played together in several films during the 70’s, including W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings and High-Ballin’ among others.
The two met in Nashville and their friendship soon turned into something special. They later starred together in the Smokey and the Bandit film franchise. Reed passed away in 2008.
The actor caused outrage when he was a guest on a British talk show. The actor made some controversial comments when asked about Charlie Sheen’s confession to carrying the virus related to the autoimmune deficiency syndrome.
He said that “He deserves it. He misbehaved very badly… His father is a very, very decent man and a dear friend of mine. I feel bad for him, But Charlie, I don’t feel bad for him.” Needless to say that both the audience and the hosts were shocked by his comments.
The divorce settlement certainly took its toll on the actor. His financial problems were mentioned a lot in the media in recent years, as he supposedly filed for bankruptcy. The actor tried to sell his Jupiter Florida home back in 2006 for an asking price of $15 million for his property.
However, within just four years, the price dropped by nearly $10 million and in 2010 he asked around $5 million for his precious house. The house boasts a movie theatre, a two-bedroom guesthouse and other top-notch amenities.
The talented actor has been nominated over 25 times during his extensive career, and even won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Boogie Nights. In 1978, Reynolds earned himself a star on the famous Walk of Fame.
Among his many projects, the actor used to own the Reynolds Celebrity Dinner Theater franchise, but ended up selling the venue in the ’90s. Reynolds also had over 50 films and television shows under his belt.
A Win Win set
Win, Lose or Draw was a television game show that ran from 1987 to 1990 and was co-produced by Reynolds. The show was taped at the CBS Television City studios and took a little bit more than expected from Burt’s personal life.
In fact, the the set of the show was modeled and designed after Reynold’s private living room. Burt and his co-producer, Bert Convot also had their own production company, Burt & Bert Productions.
The veteran actor had many guest roles during his career, and one of his most famous ones was when he guest-starred on the popular ’90s teen show Beverly Hills 90210. In the episode from 1993, the gang goes searching for the famous actor, who had a meet-and-greet at the Peach Pit.
The episode is called She Came in Through the Bathroom Window and it was shot during the height of the hype of Reynolds’ television show, Evening Shade.
Among his line of bad decisions, Reynolds decided to invest together with his long-time friend and country singer, Buddy Killen, in a local restaurant chain called Daisy’s Diner. Burt, who was making tons of money at the time and spent it carelessly, failed to make the business work, causing him to lose millions of dollars in very little time.
By the end of the ’80s, Reynolds had lost around $20 million, which may have marked the beginning of the actor’s financial problems.
He almost ‘Blamed it on the Boogie’
Life could have been a whole lot different for the actor had he not played in the 1997 hit film Boogie Nights. Well, that almost didn’t happen, as Burt was asked no less than eight times to play the role of Jack Horner by producer, Paul Thomas Anderson.
Lucky for him that he finally accepted the role, since he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor alongside Robin Williams and other leading men.
Reynolds and Chase
Reynolds had his share of actors that he appreciated from afar. Late in his career, he had the opportunity to co-star alongside Chevy Chase, someone he’d admired for a long time. “I’m in love with Chevy Chase. I hate to admit it on national television,” he said.
On the red carpet for the movie “The Last Movie Star,” they even shared a playful kiss, which shocked some folks, although others didn’t think too much of it. Director Adam Rifkin said that the chemistry between them was “immediate and obvious.”