Burt Reynolds: Little Known Stories Finally Told


Since appearing in the public eye, Burt Reynolds has been the envy of many men and the desire of many women. The talented actor and athlete has certainly had his ups and downs. But, with the release of his memoir, he has been able to put to rest all of the scandalous rumors found in the tabloids.

Moved Multiple Times As A Child

For many years, people believed that Burt Reynolds was born in Georgia. However, it was discovered that he was actually born in Lansing, Michigan. After his father was drafted into the Army, Burt, his mother and his sister moved to his Fort Leonard Wood with their father, until he was deployed to Europe. Upon his deployment, Burt and his family moved to his mother’s hometown, Lake City, Michigan. In 1946, the family moved to Florida.


Football Star

Upon his move to Florida, Burt was able to really excel in football. In high school, he was named First Team All State and All Southern as a fullback. He received multiple scholarship options but ultimately chose to stay close to home and attended Florida State University. Burt hoped to one day play professional. However, he was injured on his first game sophomore year. A car accident later in the year worsened the injury and ultimately led to his retirement from the sport.

burt reynolds

English Class Leads To Acting

After his football career ended, Reynolds became a police officer. But, his father suggested he return to college so he could become a parole officer. Burt attended Palm Beach Junior College. In his English class, his teacher, Watson B. Duncan III, was impressed by Burt’s Shakespeare reading. Duncan eventually convinced Reynolds to to appear in a play he was producing. It led to Reynolds winning the 1956 Florida State Drama Award.


Stage To TV

As part of the drama award, Burt was given a scholarship to Hyde Park Playhouse in New York. While in New York, he was casted in the stage production “Mister Roberts”. He was spotted but TV executives and was given a TV contract. He was given reoccurring roles on Riverboat, Gunsmoke, Hawk and Dan August. He was quickly gaining popularity with Hollywood (and the women).


Burt Becomes A Heartthrob

Reynolds got his breakthrough role in the 1972 film “Deliverance”. After the film was released, his reputation as a star grew in Hollywood. Soon, Cosmopolitan magazine came knocking on his door. He became the first male centerfold in Cosmopolitan. With his modeling debut, along with all his recent roles, Burt’s name became synonymous with not only great acting but great looks.


Roles Refused

At the height of his career, But was offered numerous roles, many of which he later regretted. The first big role he turned down was as Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. The role was given to Harrison Ford. He turned down the role of John McClane in 1988’s Die Hard. The role was given to Bruce Willis. However, one of his biggest regret was turning down the role of Garrett Breedlove in Terms of Endearment. The role was played by Jack Nicholson, who was given an Oscar for his performance.


The One That Got Away

Burt Reynolds has been seen in Hollywood with many successful, beautiful woman. However, one relationship everyone hoped would last was with Sally Fields. The pair began dating in the late 70s. After several turned down proposals, the couple split after 5 years of dating. During those 5 years, they stared in 4 movies together: Smokey and the Bandit, Smokey and the Bandit II, The End and Hooper

burt and sally

Did His Own Stunts

In many films, Burt was known to perform his own stunts. He later regretted that decision. In 2016, during an interview with Business Insider, Burt was asked if there were any stunts in particular he really regretted. Burt replied “Yeah, there’s a couple. When it’s cold and I’m limping around I think, ‘Why didn’t I let Hal [stuntman] make some money and I just sit down?’ But you can’t go back. It was a dumb macho thing.”


One Stunt Regret

In an interview with Business Insider, Burt recalled one particular stunt he really regretted .”I went over the falls in ‘Deliverance’ and I hit a rock and cracked my tailbone. I tell everyone I was a 31-year-old guy in great shape before I went over the falls. And once I got in they couldn’t find me,” Burt said. “I came out of the river about a mile away it seemed like, and I came out with no clothes. I had no shoes, socks — the falls tore them off. It was a pretty hairy stunt.”


Friends With Marilyn Monroe

In an interview with the 11th Hour, Burt was asked about his relationship with Marilyn Monroe. He described their friendship. “Well, 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,” Burt said. “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.”


Clint & Burt Got Fired Together

Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood have a long history together. They both worked at Universal studios and got fired the same day. In an interview with 11th Hour, Burt said “They told Clint that he talked too slow, and that his Adam’s apple stuck out too far, so they were going to let him go. They told me I couldn’t act, and they were going to let me go.  So we walked out of the studio together and started walking down the street outside.  I looked over and said ‘Clint, you are in some big trouble, buddy.’  He asked me why and I said, ‘Well, I can learn how to act, but that Adam’s apple isn’t going anywhere.'”


Published Memoir

In 2015, Bury Reynolds published his memoir. Throughout the book, he calls out those who wronged him as well as apologized to those he wronged. It goes into juicy details about his numerous relationships as well as his behind-the-scene secrets of various films.  The “tell all” book should certainly be read by any Burt Reynolds fan.

burt reynolds

Had Lots Of Money & He Liked To Spend It

At the peak of his career, Burt Reynolds certainly enjoyed spending his money. According to Vanity Fair, “At his peak he was earning about $10 million a year. His real-estate portfolio included, in addition to Valhalla, a 153-acre ranch in Jupiter, Florida; a spread in Arkansas; mansions in Beverly Hills and Malibu; a Tara-like estate in Georgia; and a mountaintop retreat in the Smokies of North Carolina. He owned a private jet, a helicopter, and numerous custom-made sports cars…Plus 150 horses. Plus well over $100,000 worth of toupees fashioned by Edward Katz, “the Armani of hair replacement.”


Made Bad Investments

Unfortunately, Burt made some bad investment choices that led to him losing lots of money. He invested in a restaurant chain, called Po’ Folks, which ultimately failed. He also bought stake in the United States Football League team, the Tampa Bay Bandits, which fell apart three years after he bought into it. He also opened a night club as well as a Dinner Theatre that both did not turn over profits.


He Is A Warrior

In his most recent public appearances, many people have began to say Burt is looking frail. However, Burt, now 81-years-old, is a warrior and has been pushing through any struggles he has had. A close friend of Burt’s told Closer Weekly, “As long as his body is willing, he wants to continue acting until the day he dies. Burt believes, despite his aches and pains, he still has a lot of living left to do.”