Friday, September 7, 2018
BURT REYNOLDS IS FINALLY AT PEACE
This is how I choose to remember him.
I met Burt the week that the COSMO centerfold came out. I was as dazzled as everyone when I saw that hairy hunk with the twinkle in his eye. I received a call from his press agent at the time asking me if I wanted to meet him. Are you kidding?
An interview over cocktails was set for the following day at the now-defunct Frascati's restaurant on the Sunset Strip. Frascati's was a darkly-lit Italian restaurant in a former house or beamed lodge where Sunset and San Vicente met. I had done many interviews there.
I walked in and couldn't find him. I kept searching, and then I spotted him in a semi-hidden nook seated at a table with two chairs. I remember, because I'd wanted a booth to be more comfortable.
He stood up as I approached.
"Hi there," he said, extending his hand and doing that cute thing with his mouth...you know...the smirk/twitch.
I was gone.
I remember he had on jeans and boots. I know there was some sort of shirt, because I couldn't see all the hair. Darn.
The interview lasted for about an hour, and then we went into deeper conversation. I was mesmerized because he was introspective, serious, and thoughtful. He never lost his sense of humor, but he ceased being the eye candy and became a complicated soul. Our conversation went on for four more hours. I walked away not only reeling from his magic, but so impressed by him as a human being.
For years we ran into each other. I even had lunch at his house. He was on a high ride and it seemed as if he was enjoying all of it.
And then it crashed. He had turned into an egotistical, unreliable, over-spending, disturbed person. As it began happening, many people tried to help him. He lost friends, he lost some of the best women in the world, and he eventually had to leave Hollywood.
I was angry at him for changing, but now I understand that demons, a sense of not deserving success, whatever you want to say, overtook him and he couldn't come back. It's a very sad story, but after I lost my anger toward him, my heart came back, full of bitter-sweet compassion.
Rest well, Burt. No more pain.