I had the opportunity to meet Burt Reynolds face-to-face once, last year at an auto auction in West Palm Beach. Burt was auctioning off some vehicles from his movies, including a replica of his Trans Am from "Smokey and the Bandit."
My telephone interview with Burt was conducted a day or so before the event in April 2017. Burt was 81 years old at the time and had a few film projects still in the works. I asked him why he felt like he still needed to be "out there working."
Burt's answer: "It's not a question of needing to, it's wanting to. I love it. It's something that I've always enjoyed. The movie people that I've known for 50 years. And I really love the people that I've worked with over the years." He also makes a joke that there are obviously "one or two that you wish would step on a coal." I assume he meant a hot coal, but I didn't want to pry. I figured "This is a legend, don't pester a legend!"
Burt mentions a movie that was set to be released this year entitled "Dog Years." Note the title was changed to "The Last Movie Star," and is available to watch now on Amazon.
In the audio player below is an excerpt from my original April-2017 interview that was cut out before I posted it . I told Burt that my father had acted as an "extra" in a 2000 movie titled "The Crew," which was filmed in South Florida. I was attempting to tell a humorous anecdote about the only body part of my dad's which you can see in the movie. I decided to share this now, because it sheds light into how much of a nice guy Burt really was. When he found out that my father worked with him, Reynolds said "I hope I was a gentlemen." Of course, I jokingly told him that I remembered hearing that Burt punched Dad. He laughed.
Reynolds was a really nice guy and still had a great sense of humor to the end. That's how I'll always remember Burt. Well that and he'll always be "The Bandit!"
Rest in Peace, Burt. I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you.