While doing my usual browsing around Barnes & Noble recently, I came across a real bargain – Burt Reynolds‘ 2015 memoir BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME, for the low, low price of just $6.98! Naturally, being a long time Reynolds fan, I eagerly snapped it up and bought it (and no, Mr. Salesperson, for the umpteenth time, I do not want to join your book club!). Cowritten with Jon Winokur, who also coauthored a 2011 memoir with James Garner, the book is unlike your typical star ‘autobiography’, as Burt looks back on his life and, most importantly, the people who influenced him most, for better or worse.
Burt (who died last September at age 82) was Hollywood’s #1 box office draw from 1978-82, and ranked in the top ten for 12 years, but the man certainly paid his dues to get there. A horrific accident rang down the curtain on a promising football career, but another curtain rose when he discovered a love for acting thanks in large part to his mentor, college professor Watson B. Duncan. In the book, Reynolds acknowledges not only Duncan, but others who helped him along the way, from the famous (names like Spencer Tracy , Bette Davis, and Johnny Carson), to the people in his home of Palm Beach County, Florida, where he made many lifelong friendships.
Through it all, you’ll hear Burt’s distinctive, warm-as-honey voice sounding in your head, and his trademark self-deprecating good humor as he relates his story:
On his football career as Florida State: “(M)y run against Auburn gets longer at every reunion. It was 54 yards, but the last time I told the story it was 98 yards and I got tackled in the parking lot next to the hot dog stand.”
On making his one and only Spaghetti Western: “Sergio Corbucci was all about body count. He thought that making a great Western involved killing a lot of people. He figured if I killed more people than Clint Eastwood, NAVAJO JOE would make more money than A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.”
On DELIVERANCE author James Dickey: “…he was a man who, after he’d had a few martinis, made you want to drop a grenade down his throat.”
On SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT: “Lots of movies ridiculed Southerners, and I resented them. I wanted to play a Southern hero, a guy who was proud of being from the South. SMOKEY gave me the chance to do that. And to make a movie for people in ‘flyover country’… They believe in God, they work hard, and they love their country. They’re the people I grew up with, and I like them.”
On Sally Field: “I wish I could turn back the clock. I’m sorry I never told her I loved her, and I’m sorry we couldn’t make it work. It’s the biggest regret of my life.”
On Donald Trump: “Donald was born on third and thought he’d hit a triple… Now don’t get me wrong, I like Donald. I hold onto my wallet when we shake hands, but I like him.”
BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME has tons more stories and insights as Burt looks back on his life, his family, his loves, and his work. It’s a fast read at just 293 pages (along with a forward by Burt’s close friend Jon Voigt) that’ll leave you wanting more. And it was a steal at seven bucks! I couldn’t ask for a better bargain! But enough about me, go buy the book. Somewhere up there, Burt Reynolds is telling stories, and laughing as only Burt could: