The painful (and hilariously) honest memory of Burt Reynold

When I was growing up, the most important thing in my life was to please my father. Big Burt, as he was called, was my hero, but he never recognized any of my own achievements (photographed in Smokey and the Bandit 1977)

When I was growing up, the most important thing in my life was to please my father. Big Burt, as he was called, was my hero, but he never recognized any of my achievements.

No amount of success, I felt, could turn me into a man before his eyes. Not playing on the college football team, not even Hollywood stardom.

Big Burt was a 6-foot-2-inch war hero. He obtained a chest full of medals for participating in the invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, and when he returned home, three years after the war ended, he was a colonel.

When he was 12 years old, he finally came home, looking crushing in his uniform. After hugging my mother, she kissed my sister on the cheek and then shook my hand.

When I was growing up, the most important thing in my life was to please my father. Big Burt, as he was called, was my hero, but he never recognized any of my own achievements (photographed in Smokey and the Bandit 1977)

When I was growing up, the most important thing in my life was to please my father. Big Burt, as he was called, was my hero, but he never recognized any of my own achievements (photographed in Smokey and the Bandit 1977)

"You look good, son," he said.

– Thank you, Lord. & # 39;

We did not have much emotion in our family, and he never talked about his experiences of war. Not long after, we settled in Palm Beach County, Florida, where he became the chief of police.

I was a wild child, a hell. I dived into bridges 50 feet high, got into many fights and swam in dangerous swamps. I saw little crocodile eyes and thought: this could be a problem. That's when I learned to swim very fast.

No amount of success, I felt, could turn me into a man before his eyes. Not playing on the college football team, not even in Hollywood stardom (photographed in 1950)

No amount of success, I felt, could turn me into a man before his eyes. Not playing on the college football team, not even in Hollywood stardom (photographed in 1950)

No amount of success, I felt, could turn me into a man before his eyes. Not playing on the college football team, not even in Hollywood stardom (photographed in 1950)

Every time I crossed a line, it was always the same: dad would take off his belt, bend over and hit me hard, but never scream or cry.

I'm glad that I was beaten, because it was a real obstacle: I never committed the same offense twice.

Once, I made the mistake of sassing [being cheeky to] my mother, who was a hard-working nurse, in front of Big Burt. I think I said something like: "Oh, yeah? & # 39;

Without saying a word, Dad picked me up and deposited me in the hall closet. Unfortunately, the closet door was closed at that time.

On another occasion, many of us were arrested for fighting and the police put us in a large cell. My dad came in and said to the other children, one by one: "Your father is here, you can go home."

Then he looked at me and said: & # 39; Your father did not appear. & # 39;

I was in that cell all night. And all the next day, with every drunk and vagabond in the city. I stayed in that damn cell for two days.

I know it sounds hard, but it straightened me up. I never got in trouble after that.

Eventually, I went to Florida State University, where I played on his football team; It was pretty good and I expected to make a career in sports. Those dreams ended shortly after midnight, on Christmas Eve.

Big Burt, he thought acting was for sissies. Later, whenever I mentioned the name of one of my friends, he would say: "Are you an actor or do you work?"

Big Burt, he thought acting was for sissies. Later, whenever I mentioned the name of one of my friends, he would say: "Are you an actor or do you work?"

Big Burt, he thought acting was for sissies. Later, whenever I mentioned the name of one of my friends, he would say: "Are you an actor or do you work?"

I was driving home on Dad's Buick when I suddenly hit a truck. A group of geniuses were loading stolen concrete blocks into a large platform truck that had been parked on the other side of the road. All that concrete fell on the car.

The first cop on the scene was Clark Bibler, a lieutenant in the force with dad.

"Jesus Christ, what are you doing there?" He said, looking at the wreckage.

All I could say was: "Do not tell my dad! & # 39;

I had to pass the Kevin Kline part in front of my ex-girlfriend Sally Field (pictured) in Soapdish (1991) because my second wife, Loni Anderson, would have poisoned me

I had to pass the Kevin Kline part in front of my ex-girlfriend Sally Field (pictured) in Soapdish (1991) because my second wife, Loni Anderson, would have poisoned me

I had to pass the Kevin Kline part in front of my ex-girlfriend Sally Field (pictured) in Soapdish (1991) because my second wife, Loni Anderson, would have poisoned me

"I have the feeling that he will know," Clark said.

Dad's big Buick was now the size of a Mini Cooper. Somehow, they pulled me out in one piece, but as soon as I got up I spat blood and fainted.

After the doctor at the local hospital checked my blood pressure, he turned to a nurse and said, "Prepare it, this guy is dying."

That night, he performed emergency surgery to remove my spleen. During the operation, I heard the nurse say, "We're losing it!", And I did it, in fact, outright.

I remember clearly having gone down a tunnel in the direction of a white light and hearing me say: "Gosh! I'm coming back! & # 39;

The doctor climbed on top of me and started giving me CPR. It was not a common practice in those days, but it saved my life.

I woke up on Christmas Day with 59 stitches in my stomach, fortunate to have lost only my spleen and my incipient football career.

Once I got back on my feet, I transferred to Palm Beach Junior College, with the intention of becoming a probation officer. It was there that I met a teacher who changed my life.

Watson B. Duncan III, an English teacher, did not recite the words of Milton and Shakespeare; He breathed life into them with his voice booming. Each class was a performance.

Actress Loni Anderson (pictured) was the most striking woman I had ever seen in my life. She approached me one night at an awards gala, asked me to dance and whispered in my ear: "I want to have your baby.

Actress Loni Anderson (pictured) was the most striking woman I had ever seen in my life. She approached me one night at an awards gala, asked me to dance and whispered in my ear: "I want to have your baby.

Actress Loni Anderson (pictured) was the most striking woman I had ever seen in my life. She approached me one night at an awards gala, asked me to dance and whispered in my ear: "I want to have your baby.

One day, he told me: "Buddy, you're going to be an actor."

"Professor Duncan," I said, "you are an intelligent man, but I have no talent or interest in being an actor."

"Tomorrow we are reading for a play," he replied. & # 39; Be in my office at three o'clock & # 39;

In short, I ended up as the leader. Then I won a theater scholarship to perform at the Hyde Park Playhouse in New York. It was not much: I participated in the program and participated in the program as an apprentice. But there were two older women in the company, probably in their thirties, who took an interest in me.

For a 19 year old, they seemed impossibly sophisticated, and yet they took me out every night after the show. Holy cow, I thought: if this is a show, tell me!

Big Burt, however, thought that acting was for queers. Later, whenever I mentioned the name of one of my friends, he would say: "Are you an actor or do you work?"

Even after doing a television series, all he could say was: "When are you going to get a real job? & # 39;

He never acknowledged that I was good, however, all the officers under him were proud of me. Once I asked them: "Did you ever talk about me?" "Do not".

He never told me he loved me either. But just before Big Burt died, at the age of 95, he finally said he was proud of me. And that was enough.

It took me a while to get somewhere. He had the usual jobs: waiting tables, serving bars, unloading cargo ships, and when he was really ruined, he prepared "tomato soup" with hot water and ketchup.

My first wife was the actress Judy Carne. We divorced after only three years, although it was a long time before

My first wife was the actress Judy Carne. We divorced after only three years, although it was a long time before

My first wife was the actress Judy Carne. We divorced after only three years, although it was a long time before

In 1957, after I landed a role in a Broadway revival of Mister Roberts, the playwright William Inge came one night backstage and invited me to a party.

There were only two people there: Mr. Inge and an absolutely dazzling lady. He introduced us, but I did not understand his name.

She wore a silk blouse with nothing underneath, something unusual for the fifties. And when she caught me looking at her beautiful breasts, she just smiled and said: "I have my eyes here." "Yes, ma'am," I said.

She was a mature woman, with a low whiskey-like voice, but she had a youthful energy about her. And she was funny, not only laughed at my jokes but also made me laugh.

I was speechless. Other guests arrived and tried to engage with her, but she was not interested: every time I walked away, she followed me.

After the others had left, she asked me to tell her my life story. I started to prattle. I heard myself saying nonsense, as if I were out of my body, watching this idiot make a complete mess of things.

Eventually, I jumped and said I was leaving. But when I started walking towards the door, she touched my arm and said: "Why do not you come home with me?" Surprisingly, I started laughing. Then, I let go: "I'm in the street of the hotel and I'll only go home alone." But thanks, however.

I did not know until the next day that I had said no to Greta Garbo, who was 31 years older than me.

People used to follow me on the street, thinking it was Marlon Brando. At first, it got on my nerves, and then it just crushed me.

She touched my arm and said: "Why do not you come home with me? & # 39; Surprisingly, I started laughing. I did not know until the next day that I had said no to Greta Garbo, who was 31 years older than me (Greta photo in 1990)

She touched my arm and said: "Why do not you come home with me? & # 39; Surprisingly, I started laughing. I did not know until the next day that I had said no to Greta Garbo, who was 31 years older than me (Greta photo in 1990)

She touched my arm and said: "Why do not you come home with me? & # 39; Surprisingly, I started laughing. I did not know until the next day that I had said no to Greta Garbo, who was 31 years older than me (Greta photo in 1990)

Even his sister, Jocelyn, with whom I worked in a television program, told me how much I looked like him, and I said: "Thank you, I suppose." The main reason I grew a mustache was to stop them. type of comments.

As for Marlon himself, I found out he had a problem with me. For an episode of The Twilight Zone, he had once played an annoying method actor who had been a huge hit in A Streetcar Named Desire [like Brando]. And Marlon did not like it.

But I was curious about myself, according to actress Rita Moreno, a great woman who worked with me on the television series B.L. Stryker. When I was still new to Hollywood, she was dating Brando, and she convinced me to go to a party at her house.

When I finally met the great man, he was rude. He did not even get up from his chair; He just looked away and muttered something. After about two minutes of talk, he accused me of trying to take advantage of my resemblance to him.

"I'll tell you right now: I'm not going to operate because you do not like my appearance," I said. "But I promise not to get fat."

That ended the conversation and we never spoke again.

If I had to put only one of my films in a time capsule, it would be Deliverance (1972). It's the best movie I've ever done and it showed that I could act.

I was at the height of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972), but someone told me that Marlon Brando threatened to leave him if he got on board (Brando in the photo of the godfather)

I was at the height of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972), but someone told me that Marlon Brando threatened to leave him if he got on board (Brando in the photo of the godfather)

I was at the height of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972), but someone told me that Marlon Brando threatened to leave him if he got on board (Brando in the photo of the godfather)

But I will match my record of missed opportunities with anyone in the business.

I walked away from the original Batman television series (1966-68), for example, because I did not think it was a part of creating stars. It would not have been as good as Adam West, although, as it happened, Batman did not do much for his career. Then I was prepared for the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972), but someone told me that Marlon Brando threatened to quit if I got on board.

There were worse. When Sean Connery resisted for more money to play James Bond, producer Cubby Broccoli came to me and said: "We want you to play Bond."

In my infinite wisdom, I said: & # 39; An American can not play with him. The public will not accept it. "For a long time afterwards, I woke up sweating every morning, muttering:" Bond, James Bond! & # 39;

I was the first choice for the role of John McClane in Die Hard (1988), but I did too. It's okay. I do not regret rejecting something that Bruce Willis took

I was the first choice for the role of John McClane in Die Hard (1988), but I did too. It's okay. I do not regret rejecting something that Bruce Willis took

I was the first choice for the role of John McClane in Die Hard (1988), but I did too. It's okay. I do not regret rejecting something that Bruce Willis took

I was the first choice for the role of John McClane in Die Hard (1988), but I did too. It's okay. I do not regret rejecting something that Bruce Willis took.

I rejected the role of Richard Gere in Pretty Woman (1990). Then I saw him the other night and I thought: Damn, Julia Roberts! What the hell was I thinking? & # 39;

Milos Forman wanted me as his first choice to play R.P. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Jack Nicholson won the Oscar for that.

But by far, the stupidest thing I did was to reject the role of the former astronaut dissipated in Terms Of Endearment (1983). Jack got another Oscar for that.

He was so good in both roles, I can not imagine anyone else in them, including me.

Why did I reject the Han Solo part in one of the sequels to Star Wars? I suppose it would have been good to be part of the history of cinema, but I do not regret it.

Then I had to pass the Kevin Kline part in front of my ex-girlfriend Sally Field in Soapdish (1991) because my second wife, Loni Anderson, would have poisoned me.

My first wife was the actress Judy Carne. We divorced after only three years, although it was a long time before that.

We got married in 1963, after leaving for only six months, and it soon became clear that we had very little in common.

I could not get into his lifestyle – the party without stopping, the hard drugs, the perverted sex – and I was not thrilled by my tendency to resort to punching arguments with other men.

After one of my many fights, she said: "God, you're bored."

To this day, I give Judy credit for helping me discover that a man does not need his fists to make a point.

In 1968, the year of our divorce, it suddenly became a sensation on a television show called Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Later, Judy's career began to wane; her substance abuse got worse, and she made a lot of money talking about me in the tabloids. She said I hit her, which was not true. That broke my heart.

In the seventies, I met the woman I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with: Dinah Shore. (pictured) She was 20 years older than me and we met on her day program, Dinah & # 39; s Place

In the seventies, I met the woman I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with: Dinah Shore. (pictured) She was 20 years older than me and we met on her day program, Dinah & # 39; s Place

In the seventies, I met the woman I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with: Dinah Shore. (pictured) She was 20 years older than me and we met on her day program, Dinah & # 39; s Place

In the seventies, I met the woman I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with: Dinah Shore. She was 20 years older than me and we met on her day program, Dinah & # 39; s Place.

Making love became a new experience: for the first time, I shared intimacy with my heart full of genuine and unconditional love. I have never felt this way with a woman before.

She taught me about music, art, food and wine; She taught me which fork to use; how to dress. We were soulmates, but marriage was not in the cards.

My career was burning and my ego was out of control. I wanted to enjoy the fruits of my popularity and I did not want to do it secretly.

The film would be a milestone in the sexual revolution, said cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown, and I was the only man who could carry it out. Do I promise to become your first nude centrefold man?

The film would be a milestone in the sexual revolution, said cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown, and I was the only man who could carry it out. Do I promise to become your first nude centrefold man?

The film would be a milestone in the sexual revolution, said cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown, and I was the only man who could carry it out. Do I promise to become your first nude centrefold man?

And there was something else: finally I admitted that the difference in age mattered in one important aspect: I wanted to have a child.

Breaking up with Dinah was the hardest thing I had ever done. She sat on the sofa, holding a handkerchief. And he kept his composure, but I lost mine.

I missed her the moment I walked out the door. It could hardly work for weeks. She is the most wonderful person I have ever met.

And then Sally Field came. When I told Universal that I wanted her for my co-star in Smokey And The Bandit, they told me: "Why would you want the damn Flying Nun?"

& # 39; Because she has talent & # 39; I said.

They came back with: & # 39; She is not sexy & # 39;

"You do not understand," I said. "The talent is sexy."

When I finally won the battle, I called Sally to ask her to be in the picture, I was not excited. "I know your movies are commercial, but it's not the kind of thing I want to do," he said. "On the other hand, my agents tell me that I need a commercial movie ….

I was not overjoyed by his reaction, but I was immediately taken to the first rehearsal. She was strong and funny and spectacularly good.

One of the things that people say about Smokey is that it's like seeing two people fall in love genuinely, and it's true. I mean, the sexual tension bounced off the walls.

Sally and I proposed more than once, but every time I wanted to get married, she did not; and every time she wanted to get married, I did not.

If we had married, I think it would have been a dangerous mixture, like fire and gasoline, but there would also have been wonderful moments. And I would have been determined to make it work.

I wish I could turn back the clock. I'm sorry, I never told him I loved her, and I'm sorry we can not make it work. It is the greatest repentance of my life.

Actress Loni Anderson was the most striking woman I had ever seen. She came up to me one night at an awards gala, asked me to dance and whispered in my ear: & # 39; I want to have your baby & # 39;

I told her I was flattered, but did not I think we should find out if we loved each other first?

The truth is that I never liked her. She was beautiful (although I always thought she was wearing too much makeup) and being with her was nice. But I would be thinking: This is not the person for me. What the hell am I doing with her?

I do not remember asking him to really marry me, but he put me under constant pressure. I could stop it for four years, then, why did I give up?

In addition to physical attraction, it was the strength of his personality. His determination Marriage was something she wanted, and they would not deny it.

On the way to the ceremony in 1988, my godfather, the football player Vic Prinzi, said: "Do you really want to do this? & # 39;

"No, I do not," I said. "Then let's get out of here," he said.

"But my mom and dad are sitting there waiting for me, my mom loves Loni, she'll kill her.

"I hate to tell you this," Vic said, "but your mother can not stand Loni."

I stopped at the entrance to the chapel. While I was there looking at the assembled guests, Mom caught my attention. She was shaking her head: NO. But I did not have the guts to disconnect.

Loni bought everything in triplicate, from day dresses to jewelry, porcelain and sheets. He bought dresses for $ 10,000 each and used them only once.

I gave him an Amex platinum card with a credit limit of $ 45,000. He reached it to the maximum in half an hour.

We call it resignation after five years of marriage. The worst part of the divorce was the loss of custody of our son, Quinton. I fell in love the moment I saw him and adopted him when he was three days old.

One of the most difficult things I had to do was to tell him when I was six years old that Loni and I were separating. He thought for a moment. "Everything will be fine, dad," he said. & # 39; You're a man. & # 39;

The film would be a milestone in the sexual revolution, said cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown, and I was the only man who could carry it out. Do I promise to become your first nude centrefold man?

I discovered later that she had asked Paul Newman first, but he had rejected her.

I wish I could say that I agreed because I wanted to show my support for women's rights, but I thought it would be fun. I was flattered and intrigued.

Everyone I respected told me not to do it. I had just done Deliverance and my agent warned that posing nude could cancel what the film could do to establish me as a serious actor.

Even my Deliverance co-star, Ned Beatty, could not believe it: "Are you going to see your tallywacker? What the hell are you trying to prove?

On the way to the photo shoot, I stopped for two liters of vodka and finished one before arriving at the studio, which was frozen, which was bad for the self-esteem of a naked man.

The photographer took hundreds of pictures of me on a bear skin rug: with a hat in front of my tallywacker, with a dog in front of him, with my hand in front. (If I tried to try something, why would I cover it with my hand? I have very small hands.)

The magazine reached the stands three months before Deliverance opened, and quickly sold 1.5 million copies.

Suddenly, my life was a carnival. I could not go anywhere without the women asking me to sign their copies, each a painful reminder of my stupidity.

I have some of the most filthy letters I've seen, many attached Polaroids. The Catholic Church condemned me. And I understood: & # 39; Hey! I did not recognize you with your clothes on – 50 times a day.

My central crease appeared in panties, shirts, key rings, coasters, rugs. The lowest point was when I entered a hotel and found myself printed on the sheets.

It was a total fiasco. I'm still embarrassed: making that shoot was one of the biggest mistakes I've made, and I'm convinced it cost Deliverance the recognition it deserved.

Adapted by Corinna Honan from But Enough About Me by Burt Reynolds, published by Blink at £ 8.99. © Burt Reynolds 2015.

To request a copy of £ 7.19 (offer valid until September 15, 2018), visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640. P & P is free on orders over £ 15.

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