Reynolds’ ex-wife Lonnie Anderson attends the unveiling at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles
A bronze statue of Burt Reynolds was unveiled at his graveyard on Monday, sporting a mustache and his “Smoky and the Bandit” cowboy hat.
“Anyone else want to touch her?” Reynolds’ wife from 1988 to 1994, Lonnie Anderson, asked the small crowd gathered around the sculpture after its unveiling at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.
“Yeah, he’s made to touch!” It was created by artist Carolyn PM Jones.
Anderson and their son, along with Reynolds, Quinton, chose the location where Reynolds’ funeral remains were placed in February, because it was next to a palm tree and the water that engulfed his native Florida. A simple plaque with his name marked the occasion.
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But Tyler Cassity, co-owner of Hollywood Forever, told him that many who visit his grave would appreciate a monument more, something to see, to touch, to take photos of. So the bust was commissioned.
“It’s absolutely beautiful, it’s just what we both imagined,” Quinton Reynolds told the Associated Press after a brief private ceremony.
Guests included actors Stephanie Powers and Ruta Lee.
Most of the people gathered around the bust and took pictures before leaving for the screening of a new documentary, “I’m Burt Reynolds,” on the lawn of a nearby cemetery.
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While the bust’s cowboy hat suggests 1970s Reynolds, it’s designed to look like a more edgy version.
“She was one of those things we talked about, do we do Baby Burts, do we do middle-aged Burts, do we do ‘Smoky’ Burts?” Anderson told the AP. “They’ve worked every decade, so what decade do we do?”
What he said was “more than every decade’s interpretation”, she said.
Jones’ workspace during the process will make him look like the biggest Reynolds fan in the world.
“On one side of my studio I had pictures of Burt from all ages,” said the sculptor.
There were many discussions about things like the exact length of his mustache. Jones admitted that she had really fallen for him while working.
“He is such a handsome man, indeed, what a handsome man,” she said.
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Anderson definitely wanted to fix one thing.
“She needs those great lips,” she said, “because I think everyone wants to kiss her.”
A college soccer standout at Florida State, Reynolds became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and the world’s biggest sex symbols in the 1970s and ’80s, known for his mustache, his cocky laugh, and his temperamental 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 on September 6, 2018 at the age of 82 at a hospital in Jupiter, Florida. He was cremated a few days later. It’s unclear why it took his ashes to reach a Hollywood cemetery earlier this year, with his family choosing to keep details private, but the pandemic contributed to the delay.
Anderson and Quinton Reynolds spoke jointly at Monday night’s ceremony.
She opened by admitting that she, in the eyes of many, was not the most likely person to offer fond memories of Reynolds, given the sometimes rocky relationship that constantly played out in the tabloids.
“There’s no one here, unless you’re from another planet, who doesn’t realize that we had 12 years together,” Anderson said, speaking with her son. “But I just want to remember the good times. And there were so many of them.”
Hollywood Forever, founded in 1899 and located near the Paramount Pictures lot, has become a historic landmark in recent years, with the graves of major stars including Judy Garland and Douglas Fairbanks, and a cultural center, concerts and film screenings. ‘s home.
Cassity revealed to Reynolds’ family and friends at the ceremony that his grave is near the heartbeats of two earlier eras of cinema, Tyrone Power and Rudolph Valentino.
“Please know he is in good company,” said Cassity.