Despite not being a couple for almost 40 years, Sally Field held onto something that she chose to share with the world following Reynolds’ passing in September of 2018.
Burt Reynolds grew up in Florida and seemed destined to become a superstar of American football, even gaining a scholarship to play in college. Following several injuries, he was forced to let go the big dream and focus on something else. He would go on to become one of the biggest actors in the world, but it all began for him in the ‘50s featuring in shows such as Riverboat, Flight, and The Lawless Years.\
Reynolds would go on to star in ‘60s western TV drama, Gunsmoke, which thrust him into the spotlight for good. He would later star in crime drama series, Hawk, before his breakout movie role arrived in the 1972 thriller, Deliverance. After appearing in Deliverance, Reynolds was wanted by everyone and soon he would be starring in some of Hollywood’s biggest productions. He would go on to become the number one actor at the box office for five years in a row from 1978 to 1982.
While Reynolds was climbing the Hollywood ladder fast, so was actress Sally Field. Field had starred in sitcom Gidget as the main character in 1965 and would later star in another sitcom, The Flying Nun, from 1967 to 1970. Her subtle comedy was grabbing the attention of Hollywood studios and soon she was cast to feature alongside one of Hollywood’s big name stars, Burt Reynolds. It was the casting of that movie that would change both stars’ lives forever.
Smokey and the Bandit
It wasn’t until 1977 that Reynolds and Sally Field would meet, and when they did, it became clear they had hit things off pretty quickly. Reynolds and Field were cast together in 1977 comedy adventure movie, Smokey and the Bandit, and from day one, the pair had undeniable chemistry off screen as well as on. It is one of the main reasons why the movie was considered such a huge success.
“I don’t want to get married”
When the Bandit, played by Reynolds, meets Field’s character Carrie, the first thing he says to her is that he doesn’t want to get married. That’s because as he’s driving across the country he comes across Carrie in the middle of the road, dressed in a wedding gown beside a car that’s been graffitied with the message “Just married.” It looks as though she’s not having the best of wedding days, so the Bandit gives her a ride and from that moment the pair hit things off.
It was clear that the pair were crazy about each other and they entered a relationship. The pair would go on to star in several movies together such was the impact of their relationship on the world. Fans of the stars got to witness their relationship in the public eye but also when they went to the movie theaters. It was a bond that many people were invested in. It seemed as though they had found their perfect partner in each other as the hits for the pair just kept coming.
The Longest Yard
Reynolds had worked hard on building his reputation before his purple patch of movie hits in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. One of his most recognizable roles came in 1974 sports drama, The Longest Yard. Reynolds had been unfortunate to have his football career cut short due to injury, but now he was given the chance to live out his fantasies as he played a quarterback in a game of prisoners vs. guards. The Longest Yard proved a big hit, boosting Reynolds’ stock as a leading man.
Smokey and the Bandit II
Reynolds and Field’s on-screen chemistry was so endearing that movie producers just knew they had to keep the good times rolling. Studio execs wanted a sequel to Smokey and the Bandit, and in 1980 they got their wish, recasting Reynolds and Field as the main characters the Bandit and Carrie. This time the Bandit was transporting an elephant across the USA from Florida to Texas, while being chased by Sheriff Buford T. Justice once again.
Before Field and Reynolds were reunited in Smokey and the Bandit II, they appeared alongside each other in the action comedy Hooper in 1978. In the film, Reynolds plays Sonny Hooper, the man known as the greatest stuntman alive, while Field plays his girlfriend, Gwen Doyle. Her father is a retired stuntman, so she knows the risks and encourages Hooper to retire before he’s severely injured. The film ends with Hooper doing one last stunt, gambling his life and relationship on the outcome.
There was just one more film where Reynolds and Field starred alongside each other, and it was the 1978 black comedy, The End. Reynolds loved the film, but it barely got off the ground, so he agreed to star in Hooper if he could make this film too. Reynolds’ character has been diagnosed with a terminal disease and wants to end his life on his own terms but ends up in a mental institution. The movie did well at the box office despite expectations, showing Reynolds’ flair for comedy.
A serial dater
If there was one thing Burt Reynolds was known for besides his acting ability, it was dating lots of women. He would date many of the female actresses he starred alongside. Over the years Reynolds dated actresses such as Faye Dunaway, Dinah Shore, Loni Anderson, Farrah Fawcett, and Judy Carne. He didn’t just date members of the acting community and also was in relationships with famous tennis star Chris Evert, country music star Tammy Wynette, and Miss America 1976 Tawny Little.
Lasting five years
Sally Field and Burt Reynolds dated for five years, before ending their relationship in 1982. Reynolds was the number one box office name those years too, showing that the relationship was doing wonders for his career, but sadly for the happy couple, it had to come to an end.
Reynolds would later question his actions, asking why he was so stupid, perhaps taking blame for the break down in their relationship. It was one of the biggest regrets of his life according to a 2015 interview with Vanity Fair magazine.
Mourning a favorite leading man
Reynolds had a huge impact on those who worked with him and when news broke of his passing on September 6, 2018, Hollywood stars began paying tribute to the man. One of his former co-stars, country music megastar Dolly Parton, believed the world would be mourning one of Hollywood’s favorite leading men. She said she’d always remember his sparkling eyes and mischievous laugh, and quirky sense of humor, believing that a part of her will always love him.
Dolly Parton wasn’t the only Hollywood legend to deliver kind words upon hearing of Reynolds’ passing. Action movie icon and former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, paid his respect for the late Reynolds, calling him one of his heroes. Schwarzenegger thought the way Reynolds transitioned from athlete to the highest-paid actor was inspirational. The Austrian star added he enjoyed Reynolds’ sense of humor and that his thoughts were with the late star’s family.
The love of his life
One thing Reynolds did confess to Vanity Fair magazine in 2015 about Sally Field was that she was the love of his life. The pair’s five-year relationship had a huge impact on Reynolds, and following the break up of their partnership, his acting career was never the same again.
Reynolds struggled to hit the heights of the popularity he enjoyed while working alongside Field and his career was never the same again. He continued to work, but it was not on the same level as it was during the ‘70s.
Missing her terribly
In his 2015 interview with Vanity Fair Reynolds also admitted to missing Field terribly in the 40 years since they first began dating. He thought the breakup was hard on him, believing he had found the perfect person but managed to mess things up between them. Although Reynolds clearly had plenty of regret about the whole situation, Field always had a soft spot for her former lover, and when she heard of his passing she released a heartfelt statement.
What Field Has To Say
“By the time we met, the weight of his stardom had become a way for Burt to control everyone around him, and from the moment I walked through the door, it was a way to control me. We were a perfect match of flaws,” she wrote. “Blindly I fell into a rut that had long ago formed in my road, a pre-programmed behavior as if in some past I had pledged a soul-binding commitment to this man.”
High profile relationships
Reynolds had a series of high profile relationships during his time, but perhaps one of his most notable was one of his earliest. Reynolds entered into a relationship with Hollywood golden girl of the ‘40s, Dinah Shore, during the ‘70s. Despite Shore being Reynolds’ senior by 20 years, the pair hit things off and dated for four years until they broke up because Shore wasn’t able to give Reynolds the one thing he really wanted; children. Reynolds said he knew he was in love with Shore from the moment they met.
One of the women to have the biggest impact on Reynolds’ life was actress Loni Anderson. The pair met and married during the ‘80s but things turned sour for them, and a brutal divorce battle began. The divorce would contribute to Reynolds filing for bankruptcy, and even though they separated over 20 years ago, Reynolds only managed to pay off all he owed on that divorce in 2015. It was considered one of the longest divorces in history, taking 22 years to finally be done and dusted.
Sally Field’s awards
Although Reynolds had the most successful time of his career during the years he and Field were dating, Field’s career took a different path. She won her first Oscar in 1980 when she and Reynolds were dating, but she won her second in 1985, several years after the breakup. She has continued to star in some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, including Lincoln and Forest Gump, while being recognized at awards ceremonies. Field won a nomination for an Oscar in 2013 and a host of nominations for Golden Globes over the years.
She told The New York Times that her time with Reynolds was “confusing and complicated, and not without loving and caring, but really complicated and hurtful to me.” Field has previously said she’s “glad” her former partner isn’t alive to read her memoir.
Never fading away
Field released her statement following the news of Reynolds’ passing, commenting that there are times in your life that never fade away, and her time with Burt was still vivid in her mind. She said that even 40 years after they first met, her memories of Reynolds will live on in her memory and her heart for as long as she lives. She concluded her emotional and honest message with the simple but touching “Rest, Buddy.”
Sally and Burt
Sally Field was the love of Burt Reynolds’ life and he said as much in 2015 to Vanity Fair, and he deeply regretted the ending of their relationship. With her comments following his passing, it’s clear that Field still has a large place in her heart for her former lover and costar. The five years the pair spent together were some of the most successful and happiest in their careers, and although Reynolds regretting the ending, he could always remember the good times.