If there had been Internet back in 1972, he would have broken it.
Burt Reynolds became the first man to pose naked for a magazine when he shot a centerfold for girls mag Cosmopolitan, but it’s something he now says he wishes he hadn’t done.
‘It was really stupid. I don’t know what I was thinking,’ he said during an interview with AOL’s What To Watch at SXSW in Austin,Texas. ‘I really wish I hadn’t done that.’
‘Stupid idea: Burt Reynolds posed nude for Cosmopolitan magazine in 1972 with just a strategically placed forearm protecting his modesty. He was the first male centerfold but now says he regrets doing the shoot
The picture cemented him as a Hollywood heartthrob and ladies man, following a string of TV leads and as his starring role in the John Boorman film Deliverance was about to hit theatres.
He recalled he probably said yes to doing the nude shoot because he didn’t want to appear chicken.
He said: ‘As long as it was only a certain amount of pubic hair showing, I was all for it, you know.’
Candid: Burt, 80, revealed his misgivings during an appearance at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, where he was promoting a new documentary about the making of his famous 1977 film Smokey And The Bandit
Still, Burt revealed he needed a fair amount of Dutch courage before shedding his clothes and posing on the bearskin rug.
‘The only rules I had… I wanted a lot of drinks before,’ he said. ‘I have to be truthful, I was totally zonkered when I did the picture. That stupid smile, that’s what it is you know.’
The centerfold proved a game-changer for Cosmopolitan with all 1.5 million copies of the issue selling out in a flash.
Game changer: 1972 was the year that changed everything for the actor who had had TV roles and was about to make it big in movies with the release of the film Deliverance. He’s pictured that year relaxing with a cigar
Hit: The dramatic thriller about a water-rafting trip in America’s back country was nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards in 1973
The star was at the film festival to promote the documentary The Bandit, about the making of his iconic 1977 movie Smokey And The Bandit with his friend and director Hal Needham.
Now somewhat frail, Burt needs the aid of a cane to walk after years of doing his own stunts damaged his legs.
‘At certain times in the morning I regret it, trying to get out of bed. I can point to certain places and know it’s from certain pictures,’ he told British TV host Jonathan Ross in December.
Iconic role: Burt really hit the big time with Smokey And The Bandit and a new documentary recalls the making of the 1977 movie and Brut’s friendship with its director Hal Needham
But despite his physical ailments, he’s enjoying getting out and about for TV appearances and film festivals.
‘It’s wonderful. It’s been the best time of my life,’ Reynolds told myPalmBeachPost.com during an appearance at the Palm Beach Film Festival earlier this month.
‘Number one, I’m getting around with my cane, and there’s so many people I’ve gotten to know.’
Old friend: The star posed with a replica of the 1977 Trans Am from Smokey And The Bandit at the premiere of the documentary The Bandit at SXSW in Austin, Texas, on March 12