Tags: burt reynolds | final days | friend | sally field

Burt Reynolds' Final Days Revealed by Close Pal

Burt Reynolds' Final Days Revealed by Close Pal
(Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

By    |   Tuesday, 18 June 2019 10:31 AM

One of Burt Reynolds’ close friends has opened up about the "Smokey and the Bandit" icon's life, his final days, and his love affair with Sally Field.

Speaking to Fox News, Gene Kennedy recalled how Reynold's death last year from a heart attack came as shock to him.

"We were just in disbelief. I mean, he had just been to the doctor and got a clean bill of health," he said. 

Kennedy first met Reynolds in 2010, when he was contracted to do some work on the Hollywood star's property. The two shared a passion for cars and hit it off immediately. Kennedy went on to become Reynolds’ manager but the two were close friends first and foremost. 

Recalling those last days, Kennedy explained that Reynolds was studying for a Quentin Tarantino movie when he died.

"He had just actually come to LA the month prior, also, to read with Brad Pitt on that movie, as well," Kennedy said. "And he was very excited about being able to do that. So it really took us all by surprise. I mean, I literally heard it on the radio and got a phone call from the family almost immediately when it happened."

The last time he saw Reynolds was a few weeks before the heart attack. Kennedy had taken his friend to the airport in preparation for an event in Tennessee in August.

"We hugged and I told him I love him. That was the last time I ever saw Burt — when he got on the plane. He passed away that September," Kennedy said.

Over the years, Reynolds had become a father figure to Kennedy, often sharing words of wisdom and advice. They also chatted about personal issues, including Reynolds’ failed relationship with Field.

Reynolds and Field met on the set of the 1977 film "Smokey and the Bandit" and dated for nearly five years before going their separate ways in 1982. Reynolds previously had admitted on "Today" that Field was the love of his life. He also admitted to Vanity Fair that he missed Field “terribly” and that their breakup was hard on him even after all the years that passed.

Kennedy told Fox News that Reynold's never had anything bad to say about Field.

"Hollywood was a tough time in the '70s. Burt had a lot of temptation, being the Hollywood sex symbol that he was," he said. "But that took a toll on their relationship. He said that was always the one he let slip away. And if he had it to do again, he would have spent more time and tried to make that work out."

Many remember Reynolds as a humble man who always made time for his friends, family and fans. Kennedy explained that it was his life philosophy to treat everyone with respect.

"When we did Comic-Cons and things, other actors had left the building but Burt would stay there until his line was done — until every last person got their signature," he recalled, "Even if his hands were hurting or carpal tunnel was kicking in, he would stay there and make sure everybody got their last autograph. He cared a lot about the fans, and that was Burt. Very caring, loved everybody. He tried to instill that in all of us."

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One of Burt Reynolds' close friends has opened up about the "Smokey and the Bandit" icon's life, his final days, and his love afair with Sally Field. Speaking to Fox News, Gene Kennedy recalled how Reynold's death last year from a heart attack came as shock to him."We were...
burt reynolds, final days, friend, sally field
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2019-31-18
Tuesday, 18 June 2019 10:31 AM
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