Bronze bust unveiled at Burt Reynolds’ Hollywood gravesite

Sep 21, 2021, 12:01 AM | Updated: 12:04 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A plaque and a palm tree weren’t enough to mark the swagger and star power of Burt Reynolds.

That’s why a bronze bust, mustachioed of course, and sporting his “Smokey and the Bandit” cowboy hat, were unveiled on Monday, three years after his death.

“Anybody else want to touch him?” Loni Anderson, Reynolds’ wife from 1988 to 1994, asked the small crowd that gathered around the sculpture after the unveiling at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

“Yes, he’s made to be touched!” said Caroline P.M. Jones, the artist who made it.

Anderson and her son with Reynolds, Quinton, chose the spot where Reynolds’ cremated remains were laid to rest in February, because it was next to a palm tree and water, which evoked his native Florida. A simple plaque with his name marked the spot.

But Hollywood Forever co-owner Tyler Cassity told them that the many visitors to his grave would appreciate more of a monument, something to look at, to touch, to take photos with. So the bust was commissioned.

“It’s absolutely beautiful, it’s exactly what we both envisioned,” Quinton Reynolds told The Associated Press after a brief private ceremony where a crowd of several dozen people who were close to Reynolds gathered to mark the occasion.

Guests included actors Stefanie Powers and Ruta Lee.

Most gathered around the bust to get a close look and take pictures before heading to a screening of a new documentary, “I Am Burt Reynolds,” for a far bigger audience on a nearby cemetery lawn.

While the bust’s cowboy hat suggests a 1970s Reynolds, it’s designed to look like a more ageless version.

“That was one of the things we talked about, do we do baby Burt, do we do middle-aged Burt, do we do ‘Smokey’ Burt?'” Anderson told The AP. “He’s worked in every decade, so which decade do we do?”

What they ended up with was “more of an interpretation of every decade,” she said.

Jones’ workspace during the process would make her look like the world’s biggest Reynolds fan.

“On one side of my studio I had photos of Burt from all eras,” the sculptor said.

There were many detailed discussions about things like the precise length of his mustache. Jones conceded that she really fell for him as she worked.

“He’s such a handsome chap, really, what a handsome man,” she said.

Anderson definitely wanted to get one thing right.

“He needs those great lips,” she said, “because I think everybody wants to kiss him.”

A college football standout at Florida State, Reynolds became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and biggest sex symbols in the world in the 1970s and ’80s, known for his mustache, his cocky laugh and his maverick swagger. He starred in two “Smokey and the Bandit” films along with “Deliverance,” “Gator” and “Boogie Nights,” for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

He died at age 82 on Sept. 6, 2018, at a hospital in Jupiter, Florida. He was cremated a few days later. It is not clear why it took until earlier this year for his ashes to reach the Hollywood gravesite, his family has chosen to keep the details private, but the pandemic contributed to the delays.

Anderson and Quinton Reynolds spoke jointly at Monday night’s ceremony.

She opened by acknowledging that she wasn’t, in the eyes of many, the most likely person to be offering fond remembrances of Reynolds, given the sometimes rocky relationship that played out constantly in the tabloids.

“There’s nobody here that, unless you’re from another planet who doesn’t realize that we had a tumultuous 12 years together,” Anderson said, speaking with her son at her side. “But I just want to remember the good times. And there were a lot of them.”

Hollywood Forever, founded in 1899 and located near the Paramount Pictures lot, has in recent years become both a historical landmark, home to the graves of major stars including Judy Garland and Douglas Fairbanks, and a cultural hub, home to concerts and movie screenings.

Cassity told Reynolds’ family and friends at the ceremony that his grave is near those of the heartthrobs of two earlier eras of cinema, Tyrone Power and Rudolph Valentino.

“Please know that he’s in good company,” Cassity said.

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Palestinian soccer fans wave Qatari and Palestinian flags as they watch a live broadcast of ...
Associated Press

Flashes of Arab unity at World Cup after years of discontent

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — For a brief moment after Saudi Arabia’s Salem Aldawsari fired a ball from just inside the penalty box into the back of the net to seal a World Cup win against Argentina, Arabs across the divided Middle East found something to celebrate. Such Arab unity is hard to come by and […]
3 hours ago
FILE - MGM Grand Macau casino resort is closed in Macao on July 11, 2022. Macao has tentatively ren...
Associated Press

Macao awards casino licenses to MGM, Sands, Wynn, 3 others

BEIJING (AP) — Macao has tentatively renewed the casino licenses of MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and three Chinese rivals after they promised to help diversify its economy by investing in non-gambling attractions, the government said Saturday. The announcement is positive news for owners who have invested billions of dollars to build the […]
3 hours ago
FILE - Local authorities inaugurate the Christmas lighting in the streets of Vigo, Spain, Nov. 19, ...
Associated Press

Sober or bright? Europe faces holidays during energy crunch

VERONA, Italy (AP) — Early season merrymakers sipping mulled wine and shopping for holiday decorations packed the Verona Christmas market for its inaugural weekend. But beyond the wooden market stalls, the Italian city still has not decked out its granite-clad pedestrian streets with twinkling holiday lights as officials debate how bright to make the season […]
3 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: November 26, the NHL is founded

Today in History Today is Saturday, Nov. 26, the 330th day of 2022. There are 35 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Nov. 26, 1950, China entered the Korean War, launching a counteroffensive against soldiers from the United Nations, the U.S. and South Korea. On this date: In 1825, the first […]
1 day ago
FILE - A hippo floats in the lagoon at Hacienda Napoles Park, once the private estate of drug kingp...
Associated Press

Wildlife conference boosts protection for sharks, turtles

PANAMA CITY (AP) — An international wildlife conference moved to enact some of the most significant protection for shark species targeted in the fin trade and scores of turtles, lizards and frogs whose numbers are being decimated by the pet trade. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours. The 28-year-old man was reported missing at noon Thursday while the vessel, the Carnival Valor, was heading to Cozumel, Mexico. […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Bronze bust unveiled at Burt Reynolds’ Hollywood gravesite