In his new memoir, actor Burt Reynolds writes about the highs and lows of his life in the spotlight, opening up about his love life, his favorite film roles and revealing why he declined the roles of James Bond and Han Solo.
In a wide-ranging interview with Lara Spencer of “Good Morning America” in which he said actress Sally Field was the love of his life and opened up about his marriage to actress Loni Anderson, Reynolds also said he believed he could have done well as Bond.
“Except this is what I said in my stupidity,” Reynolds, 79, said. “I said, ‘An American can't play James Bond. It has to be an Englishman. Bond, James Bond. You know, I can't do it.’"
“Yeah, I was busy. But, no, I wasn't so busy I couldn't have done it,” Reynolds told Spencer.
In his memoir, “But Enough About Me,” Reynolds, who was a box office megastar in the late 1970s, also revealed how he selected the roles he accepted.
“I used to pick them by ‘Where is this being shot,’” he said, chuckling, adding that he also considered who the female lead was.
The actor, who says his favorite of all performances was his turn in “Deliverance,” said the most fun he ever had making a film was on the production of “Smokey and the Bandit.”
Sally Field Was 'Love of My Life'
It was there that he fell in love with actress Sally Field, he said.
“She was the love of my life. I mean, I really to this day, think she is the most special woman I've ever dated,” she said.
He acknowledged that he blew it with the actress.
“I listened to a bunch of people that had no right to be talking,” he said.
It was Field who convinced him to do that famous nude centerfold for Cosmopolitan magazine in 1972. Reynolds became the magazine’s first male centerfold.
Asked what he would say to Field if he had the chance, he replied: “You were the best thing that ever happened to me.”
And when Spencer asked Reynolds whether there was any chance he would reconcile with Field, he said, chuckling: “No. No. She’s too smart for that.”
Reynolds wed Anderson, his second wife, in 1988. He recalled his wedding day, telling Spencer, “As I came out from the side door and [Anderson] was walking down the aisle, I looked over and I saw my mother. And my mother was looking at me like -- and I thought , ‘I don't remember my mother ever being wrong. What should I do?’” he said with a laugh. “But it was a little too late.”
In his book, Reynolds writes that he never really liked Anderson.
“I didn’t like her in terms of how long it took her to get ready,” he said, laughing.
He offered an example. “Well, I mean, she's going to the store. I thought, ‘Well, why? You don't cook.’”
The reply would be, "’Well, I'm going to the store and get something. I'll be right back.’ And I thought, ‘OK, Now what'll I do for a day or two?’ Because that's how long she'd be gone, you know?” he said.
The couple divorced after seven years, but the financial implications of the notoriously acrimonious split haunt him to this day. He was forced to auction much of his memorabilia, but still has a great deal of material left.
“What are you going to do with it?” Spencer asked.
“Probably sell it again. But I hate to,” he replied.
The roles he rejected -- James Bond and Han Solo -- could potentially have helped ease some of his financial burdens.
Reynolds even initially turned down the role in the 1997 hit “Boogie Nights,” the film that catapulted him back into the spotlight and earned him an Academy Award nomination.
“I turned [director Paul Thomas Anderson] down about 10 times,” Reynolds said.
Despite the decisions he has made in his life, Reynolds said he has no regrets.
Reynolds said he and Loni Anderson have finally buried the hatchet, which is a relief to their son, Quinton, who works in the film industry.
Reynolds now spends his days teaching acting classes and has had parts in a couple of recent independent films.
"But Enough About Me" will be available Tuesday.