For nearly 60 years, Burt Reynolds was the man everyone wanted to be and every woman wanted to be with. He was a great athlete, an incredible actor and a producer. He was successful both on the small and on the big screen with smashing box office hits. On the personal side, however, things were a little different. Reynolds had lost not one but two great loves, was married and divorced twice and had some of the worst behind-the-scenes experiences.
These are the things you never knew about the 81-year old actor who was once Hollywood’s leading man.
When the 81-year-old Boogie Nights actor published his memoir in 2015, the entertainment industry was shocked by the how much he had revealed. Some would argue that it was even too honest at times. Reynolds talked about everything from his biggest regrets, to the biggest love of his life, which didn’t involve neither of his wives and fighting all kinds of rumors including ones referring to the actor carrying AIDS. Burt Reynolds has had quite a life. He went from a big football to becoming one of the greatest stars in Hollywood with numerous box-office hits under his belt. Growing up in the shade of his demanding parents wasn’t always easy and may have had a big effect on the many things he had done later in his career.
There’s no doubt that one of the most interesting aspects of Burt Reynolds’ life was the many women that he dated. He was a real man’s man and there’s no wonder how some of the most stunning starlets wanted to be around him. However, there was one woman he wished he had never let go, and no, it wasn’t one of his two wives. When Burt married famous actress, Loni Anderson back in 1988, he wasn’t sure whether he was making the right choice or not. He was infatuated by so many things but how well did he really know his leading lady? These two were one of the strongest couples in Hollywood, supposedly, but too many things went wrong.
The living-legend has secured his iconic status many years ago already, however, there is so much more than meets the eye with the Smokey and the Bandit actor. In fact, he has more regrets than most actors probably and he has more surprising traits than people assume. The Heartthrob from the 70’s is all grown up, and he holds more secrets and controversies than most actors his age. Here are the things you probably never knew about Burt Reynolds.
The 81-year-old was born to Fern and Burton Reynolds and based on his famous memoir that he had recently published, he had quite a complicated relationship with his parents. 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. With his father it was a bit more complicated and admitted that he was judgmental and never really told the actor that he loves him. Before ‘Big Burt’, his father, passed away, it was the first time he told his son he was proud of him.
When Burt was ten years old, his family moved to Riviera Beach. The future actor actually started as a football player where he played fullback. Also nicknamed ‘Buddy’ by his friends, when he was just in tenth grade he was already named All Southern and First Team All State and was offered many football scholarships. He eventually chose Florida State University where he played halfback and was part of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Burt’s sporty past
Reynolds ended up playing fullback for his school from 1954 to 1957. During his college football career in his sophomore year, he suffered quite a few injuries which made him quit the game. He did, however, get to practice his football skills when he was cast to 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 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 after h quit the biggest love of his life then, which was football. When he started attending different classes at Palm Beach Junior College, he took an English class which pretty much changed his life. The class was taught by professor Watson B. Duncan III who saw the potential in Reynolds and talked him into auditioning for a play he was producing, Outward Bound, and he was eventually cast in the lead role and the rest is history.
The infamous spread
The famous actor was never known for his shyness, to say the least and he never minded taking on roles that could be misinterpreted as racy, and he 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 the famous Cosmopolitan magazine back in 1972. The issue cam out after his famous film, Deliverance, was released and it sold over a million copies. By the way, Reynolds regrets his decision to pose nude in retrospect.
Turning down big roles
There are two big roles that Reynolds turned down during his career, that we have a feeling he probably regrets. One was the role of Han Solo in the popular film, Star Wars which ended up going to Harrison Ford. The second role was of the 007 agent, Mr. James Bond after Sean Connery, the legendary agent, stepped away from it. Im fact, Reynolds turned it down because he didn’t believe an American could pull it off.
Dating a tennis star
The former heartthrob was the ladies’ man back in the days. Everyone wanted to date him, or at least be around him. Perhaps following his love for sports, Burt wanted to experience what it would be like to date a woman from that kind of 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, however she never dated anyone like Burt Reynolds: ‘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 81-year-old 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. After he was once considered ‘the perfect actor’, especially during the 70’s, his career took a different turn and he even admitted to accepting roles based on superficial reasons like if there was a beautiful actress on the cast.
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 seven times to play the role of Jack Horner by producer, Jack Horner. The actor said no seven times, but there was something about the eight time that made the actor say yes. And thankfully, he accepted the role because he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor alongside Robin Williams and other leading me.
The love Shore
Dinah Shore was Hollywood’s golden girl back in the 40’s, she 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 Burt was 35 years old when the two were guest stars on a talk show. On his relationship with Dinah, Reynolds once said: ‘Id 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, apparently. In 1973, the actor released his debut album called Ask Me What I Am and did surprisingly well. There was even a double-sized poster of the actor-turn-singer where he appeared in his famous jumpsuit and a cowboy hat. If you want to listen to his work, you can purchase the album on Amazon.
Speaking of music, the singing actor starred in the 1982 film The Best Little *****house in Texas where he co-starred alongside the one and only Dolly Parton. The film was an adaptation of a 1978 musical that shared 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 went to Florida State University. The man is Lee Corso, legendary ESPN analyst and broadcaster who also used to coach at University of Louisville during the early 70’s. 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 University of Miami baseball team.
It was his Field
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 on four different films together and he 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 actress. 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 till this day he still misses his long-time love and has always been proud of her work. While both Sally and Burt went on to marry other people eventually, today they are both single.
Burt married the WKRP in Cincinnati star, Loni Anderson in 1988. The two co-starred in the past in the 1983 comedy, Stroker Ice which turned out to be a big blockbuster failure. They were Hollywood’s golden couple back in the 80’s, however their marriage didn’t last too long 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.
The truth of the matter was, 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 honest 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 their son, Quinton Anderson Reynolds. Quinton is 28 years old today and works in the film industry, but unlike his famous parents, he chose to be behind the camera. He worked mainly as a camera operator and an assistance to the filming crew 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 ex-wife’s careless spending while they were married. In his book he wrote: ‘She bought everything in triplicate, from every day 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.’ When the couple split in 1993, they didn’t think their divorce would be such a long saga. Just two years ago, when the actor was 79, he finished paying off the rest of the money from their divorce settlement.
Before Burt married the famous Loni Anderson, he as married to British actress, Judy Carne who was very successful in the U.S. The couple married in 1963, however their marriage only lasted two years. Sadly, the actress, who did not have any children and has had quite a stormy life which included a brutal drug addiction and a car accident, passed away at the age of 76 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 and in the meantime Burt dated some of Hollywood’s most stunning starlets. 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 was one of the most successful films at the time.
His deal with Miko Mayama
Before Reynolds met one of the loves of his life, Dinah Shore, he dated and even shacked with actress Miko Mayama. The two starred together in the 1969 film called Impasse. When Burt met Dinah h immediately fell in love with her and so when he returned home from Palm Springs where he met the actress, he told Miko that he was in love with someone else. Burt offered Mayama the beach house they were living in, $500 per week and his convertible Cadillac. Miko accepted and moved out that same day.
Throughout the years, the actor was rumored to have undergone plastic surgeries. Well, it does make one wonder if the 81-year-old actor did anything to his face. The actor who was known for his rugged appearance and for just being a hunky Hollywood man admitted once that he had eye surgery but ‘blames’ his looks to his addiction to pain killers. He also said that his good skin is in his genes as he inherited it from his father.
He didn’t like Anderson
It was no secret that Burt Reynolds and 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 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 either.
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?..All of a sudden we saw fists flying. We saw some fists flying from Burt Reynolds.’ This is what happens when a young director and a big Hollywood star try working together.
Deliverance couldn’t be re-made today
On his 1972 thriller film where Reynolds starred alongside Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox, the actor said once in the media that he doesn’t believe the successful movie could have a remake 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 cancelled, he really tried not to go into deep depression and he 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.’
The unbelievable net worth
With such an impressive career, we have to admit that learning about Burt’s net worth, surprising net worth. The actor who has tons of films under his belt and several television appearances is worth ‘only’ $5 million. The actor rose to fame in the 70’s and has appeared in some of the biggest classics in film 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 think that looking like Marlon Brando could be a negative thing. Well, for the talented Reynolds it wasn’t a plus as he was rejected the lead 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 look at this photo, we can totally understand how people could mix these two actors up.
Brando didn’t love Reynolds
Reynolds who was a big fan of the Last Tango in Paris actor, however Brando himself wasn’t a big fan of Reynolds. It goes even further that when Burt was considered to be part of the 1972 movie, The Godfather, Brando admitted that if he was given the part, he 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.’
It only makes sense that Burt Reynolds would also 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 70’s 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 ay 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 back in 1972 and it 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 between 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 assume that the 81-year-old long-time Hollywood actor is related to the 40-year-old Ryan Reynolds, and you can probably guess why. Well, the truth is that these two are nor related at all. The only time there was a link between the two actors was when the young Reynolds spoofed Burt Reynolds when he posted his first social media photo from his famous movie, Deadpool where he revealed his costume for the first with a little 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 from 1972, Fuzz, but the truth is that they didn’t get along. Welch notified the producer of the film that she doesn’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 het that Reynolds was leaving the set so she could return.
Divorcees don’t drink orange juice
The fact that Reynolds was a Florida native made the Florida Citrus Commission want to hire the actor to advertise their orange Juice. Reynolds, who was raised on the 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. 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 walk to fame was without a doubt a long one but one that was worth the wait. He started when he just got out of college after his English and drama teacher encouraged him to go and try and pursue a career in acting. 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 his Florida State university. However, although he was a great player and had a promising career, his football career was cut due to some injuries. While playing at Florida State, the actor ran for 146 yards and till this very day he’s probably the most famous alum that the university has known. In 1977, Reynolds was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame.
City Heat wasn’t a hit
Can you imagine the hype that must have been when two of Hollywood’s greatest stars were cast to 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. When the two actors were paired to play in the movie, the film 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 also literally injured on set when a metal chair was struck in his face causing him to shatter his jaw. The 80’s were definitely not kind to the actor who has developed a TMJ disorder as a result of the injury and he ended up losing more that 40 pounds as he couldn’t eat solids. As you will lear later on, this extreme weight loss sparked rumors that he wishes 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 just doing some BBQ and just spending a day with your family, The Burt Reynolds Park is a great option. If you feel like getting a little more educational, 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 mortgage, put some of his most famous and most personal memorabilia at auction. More than 600 items were up for auction including the legendary Trans Am car from Reynold’s famous 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 auction which he threw was an 18 karat gold watch which he received as a gift from his long-time love, actress Sally Field. There’s no doubt that this is a surprising item among the things that were up for sale, as he has admitted more than once in the past 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 probably the weirdest reasons. 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 Reynold’s 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 although they barely 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. For some reason, the director begged him not to do the film.
The wild wild Burt
Among his many honors, Jupiter’s favorite celebrity 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 is 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 has been on.
His walk with Marilyn
The actor once told in an interview 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 who met in Nashville and their friendship soon turned into something special. They also later starred together in the Smokey and the Bandit film franchise and Reynolds. Reed passed away in 2008.
The 81-year-old actor who had to deal with HIV rumors in his past, 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 when 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
It’s no secret that Burt was unhappy about his second wife, Loni Anderson and the way she handled herself and their money during the time they were married. Thankfully for the actor, the two signed a prenup which indicated that in the event of divorce, they would each retain their own respective fortunes and assets. At the time he was worth round $15 million and Anderson was worth around $1 million, you could say it worked in his favor.
The divorce settlement certainly took its toll on the actor and Burt’s financial problems have been mentioned much in the media, also in recent years, as he supposedly filed for bankruptcy. The actor has tried to sell in Jupiter Florida home back in 2006 and when he put it on the market he asked $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, 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 on 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, however he ended up selling the venue in the 90’s. Reynolds also has over 50 films and television shows under his belt.
A Win Win set
Win, Lose or Draw was a television game show which ran from 1987 to 1990 and it was co-produced by the actor and producer himself, Burt Reynolds. The show which was taped at the CBS Television City studios 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 one was when he guest-starred on the popular 90’s 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 hype of Reynold’s television show which he starred in, 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 which caused him to lose millions of dollars in no time. By the end of the 80’s, Reynolds had lost around $20 million, which may have marked the beginning of the actor’s financial problems.
Ever since the 80’s the actor has been fighting rumors that he had HIV and was dying of AIDS. People suspected that about him because there was not much data about the horrible virus and because it was a time when he lost a lot of weight. His weight loss was due to his addiction to prescribed drugs and pain killers following a bad injury. The way he got through that difficult time was by simply working. He thought that way he would make the rumors go away.