© 2020
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Burt Reynolds Looks Back On His Life And Career In New Memoir

In his 55 years in the film industry, Burt Reynolds has made dozens of films, including 1972’s “Deliverance” and his Oscar-nominated turn in 1997’s “Boogie Nights.”

Now, in a new memoir, the 79-year-old actor looks back on his life and his career. As the title implies, “ But Enough About Me” also contains many of Reynolds’s memories about the people he’s met along the way, including loves Dinah Shore and Sally Field.

Burt Reynolds talks with Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson about his book and those people who influenced his life.

Interview Highlights: Burt Reynolds

On the car crash he had sophomore year of college in which he almost died

“That was a horrible accident. It was – some guys were stealing cement blocks, and they had this truck out across the road and I couldn’t see it. And I was driving my usual, over the limit, and drove right underneath it and it fell on me, on top of the car. They didn’t have the bars – whatever they’re called – to get you out with…the Jaws of Life. So they were digging me out, and of course I knew all of the policemen because my dad [Riviera Beach Police Chief Burton Reynolds]. And I heard this voice I knew was a guy named Clark Bibler, and I said ‘Clark!’ And he said ‘Is that you, buddy?’ And I said ‘Listen, don’t tell my dad.’ The car looked like a peanut, I mean it was so crushed up, I think my dad would have known, but it took them about an hour and a half to get me out. And when I stood up, I coughed and blood went everywhere. And I had busted my spleen and a lot of other things.”

On almost dying and ‘seeing the light’

“I kept saying ‘You’ve had a fantastic life, you’ve had a fantastic life.’ And then somewhere a voice said ‘Well, it wasn’t that fantastic. You don’t have to cash in.”

On posing nude for Cosmopolitan around the time “Deliverance” was in theaters

“I think it hurt the film in general. As far as me, it was a stupid thing. Helen Gurley Brown was an amazing woman and could talk you into anything – talked me into it. I didn’t want to do it. I said no about 20 times, but there you are.”

On saying no about 20 times to doing the film “Boogie Nights”

“I did that, yes, because I’m stupid. I really, I had so much trepidation about that film. I thought it was a very daring film. And that wouldn’t hold me back, but I thought it was really stepping into territory that hadn’t been touched on film and the character I was playing was really a seedy kind of guy. And a lot of those guys came around and they were seedier than I ever had any thought of playing, and I thought it was a good performance. I had no idea that anyone would think it was as good as it was, but it got fantastic reviews and did very well.”

On Dinah Shore

“Kindest, most honest, most wonderful woman I ever knew. And if I have any class at all, it’s because of her.”

What about Sally Field?

“Well, I was in love with her and it wasn’t reciprocated. She liked me, but she didn’t love me the way I loved her. It was one of those experiences that men should have so they get a better appreciation of how we treat women.”

Hilary Clinton comes up in this book

“I had a lot of fun with her. I knew her husband really well. I thought he was terrific and fun. And she asked me to go to a couple of football games with her – her high school. So I did and we had a good time together.”

What about Donald Trump?

“Well, I liked Donald. I mean, I don’t want to burst people’s bubbles, but I like him. He was kind to me. I’m not sure about the presidency, but I’m pretty sure about him as a friend.”

Why did you want to write this book right now?

“I thought it was time. I’m getting up there in age and nobody else was going to do it, and not do it right and not get all the people in there. And nobody really knew the people that had been so kind to me over the years.”

What would you say to the young actors out there?

“Do everything possible to be on the stage or onscreen. You learn more from doing a bad film sometimes than you do a good one, and I think I should know an awful lot by now.”

Book Excerpt: ‘But Enough About Me’

By Burt Reynolds with Jon Winokur

 

Excerpted from the book BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME by Burt Reynolds and Jon Winokur. Copyright © 2015 by Burt Reynolds and Jon Winokur. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Used by permission of the publisher.

Guest

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

/