Lunch With Legend Burt Reynolds and Andy Warhol
This story is part of a collection celebrating the best—and wildest—Warhol conversations from the Interview archives.
During his cover interview with Andy Warhol for the February 1976 issue of Interview, Burt Reynolds ordered a New York strip steak (rare), seemed undisturbed about his publicist’s broken leg, and unapologetically flirted with Diana Vreeland. “I think you’re terrific,” the Vogue editor told Reynolds on their way out of lunch. “How very intelligent of you,” he replied. “Thank you.”
In celebration of the film icon, who recently died at the age of 82, read the full interview below with annotations by Reynolds, who reflected on the encounter in anticipation of his 2017 comedy The Last Movie Star. Hover over the highlighted text to see Burt Reynolds’s later remarks on the story.
Thursday, December 11, 1975, Quo Vadis, 26 East 63rd Street, 1:00PM. Andy Warhol’s interview with Burt Reynolds, whose latest movie, Lucky Lady, will open that evening, almost wasn’t. Bobby Zarem, who arranged the lunch as Lucky Lady’s publicist, broke his leg the night before and was in the hospital. Then the lunch had to be moved to Quo Vadis from La Caravelle, 33 East 55th Street, because of unspecified “labor difficulties.” The sidewalk in front of Quo Vadis and every other restaurant in town is stacked high with garbage baggies because of the ten day-old garbage strike.
(Tape #1, Side A).
BURT is preparing to leave the restaurant as AW arrives. AW is wearing the usual. BURT is wearing a blue blazer, English Leather cologne and an open-necked gingham sports shirt. BURT says he’s been told he can’t eat there without a necktie.
BURT: This is insane.
AW: It’s so funny.
BURT: Maybe we should go to the Waldorf.
AW: Is Bob (Colacello) coming?
BURT: No, Bob (Zarem) broke his leg running upstairs.
AW: No, I mean our Bob.
BURT: He’s not here. I never travel with an entourage.
AW: No, I mean…
Bob Colacello, Barbara Allen and David Gershenson, Burt’s agent, arrive. After negotiations with the captain, they are seated at a table in the back of the restaurant.
AW: This is more exciting. Can’t we sit at the bar? I guess not. Gee, you’re really good-looking in person. You look just like—a movie star.
BURT: And you’re as shy and nice as I heard you were.
AW: I brought you my philosophy book.
BC: Do you believe a strike at La Caravelle?
BA: It must be the trash. Have you been walking by the restaurants? It’s the most disgusting thing.
BURT: It’s up to my window and I’m on the 29th floor.
AW: But it’s true. I was in a lawyer’s office and I look down and every building had garbage on the roof.
BURT: Wouldn’t it make a wonderful shot, though? A helicopter shot on top of garbage. It could be my latest picture.
They talk about the garbage strike. Then AW tells BURT he missed him on Bill Boggs’ show because he tuned in too late. He got Leroy Neiman instead. Then they talk about the tie problem. BURT says he only has one tie and it’s not a very good one. AW tells about getting a table near the kitchen at Orsini’s when Valentino wasn’t wearing one. Then the waiter takes drink orders.
BURT: A lot of flowers are going to arrive at our table very soon. About up to here.
AW: And when we were in Beverly Hills at the Polo Lounge they madeRyan (O’Neal) put on a jacket. And they charged him a three dollar deposit.
BURT: In case he didn’t return it, you mean? Knowing Ryan, he would’ve walked out with it!
AW: But this was like two o’clock in the morning. Nobody was there. It was just Bianca (Jagger), Lorna (Luft) and us.
BURT: Tatum (O’Neal) is getting more like Bianca every day. I expect her to do Bianca’s life story. Next year. I’m doing a film with her next year. Ryan also happens to be in it. It’s Tatum, Orson Welles, Ryan and I. In that order.
AW: And Tatum has all three of you?
BURT: Yes, it’s a menage a trios—that is quatre. Or cinq.
BA: This must be the Bogdonovich movie. Weren’t they look for a leading lady?
BURT: They found one. I love Peter but I’m not as sure about the picture as he is. But I never am sure about pictures as Peter is. It’s about silent movie days and if anybody knows anything about motion picture history, it’s Peter.
BA: Who is the girl you’ve found? Is that a secret?
BURT: It’s a secret but I’ll tell you.
DAVID GERSHENSON: I’ve got a feeling she could get you to tell her anything.
BURT: From what I understand the girl is a very famous model. That’s all I know about her. She’s 80% in which is what I’ve been all my life. It means nothing. You can be thrown out of there at the last second if you’re 80%. It’s the last 20% that’ll screw you.
BURT tells BA the name of the girl. Then they talk about the garbage strike and New York.
BURT: I had a place in New York but now I live in Florida.
AW: Really? But you’re making so many moves. I thought you’d live in California.
BURT: I don’t make them in California. Nobody does. Besides you get per diem when you work there if you don’t live there. I had a big house in California once and I always had the feeling that sometime, while I was walking through the house, somebody would say, “Cut!” and it would all disappear.
AW: Where do you live in Florida?
BURT: A town called Jupiter. I have a horse ranch there.
AW: Gee, do you know the Gilmans? They have horses, too.
BURT: I Know of them.
BA: How about the Masons?
BURT: You’re talking about thoroughbreds.
DAVID GERSHENSON: Burt’s got almost 70 Abalousas.
BURT: I’ve got 70 horses but nothing like that. I’m about 20 miles from Palm Beach which is where I grew up. My father was the chief of police. He used to have very dangerous calls like, “Mrs. Dodge can’t get her garage door open. Get over here right away!”
AW: You mean you knew the Mrs. Dodge that just died?
BURT: Oh, my goodness, yes.
AW: Really? Great. Gee, she had the best jewelry. I went to all the auctions of her stuff here at Parke-Bernet just to look at it.
BURT: She had a set of lungs, too. A beautiful lady.
Burt explains the difference between new money and old money in Palm Beach. He says he likes the new money people there but most people don’t, and that it’s a tough town to crash socially. AW talks about his recent trip there the day before the season began and says he liked everybody he met. Then they talk about mutual Palm Beach friends.
BURT: Did you meet Mary Alice F*******? That was my high school sweetheart.
AW: No, but we were only there one night.
BURT: Merv Griffin did a pilot for a show called Take Me Home Again that was going to be like a modern This is Your Life only without, I thought, the saccharine. They were going to go around and ask people if they really hated you. It was a wonderful idea. Well, we did it and Mary Alice was once of the people I insisted he interview. Only he couldn’t use any of the interview because she was so wonderful. She’s the kind of girl who literally had a size 38C cup at the age of 11 and had a breast operation and had a beautiful face and still had something cut off because she got bored. She looks like Edie Gorme now. Anyway Merv’s first question—my name was “Buddy Lee” in high school—was, “How long have you known Burt?” She said, “Buddy Lee got ma cherry when I was 15!” He said “Cut! You can’t say that, Mary Alice! Roll it again.” Then he said, “Mary Alice, how long have you known Burt?” She said “Buddy Lee used ta get me up a coconut tree and jets bang ma brains out…” “Cut!” The whole interview was like that. She was wonderful. They never used any of it.
AW: How did you ever met Merv?
BURT: I was doing a television show and it had been cancelled and his was the first talk show that I got a chance to go on after that and people discovered that I could talk. I did eight or nine in a row and then Johnny (Carson) saw me and I went on from there.
AW: Actually Merv is kind of great. He really discovers wonderful people. He had me on years ago when we were doing our first films. And then I saw him at the White House a few months ago.
BURT: I like Merv very much. He’s a loyal friend.
DAVID GERSHENSON: That’s actually an incredible example of how sometimes what seems to be a failure can tun your whole life around. Actually the show hadn’t been cancelled. It was in danger of being cancelled and it was going on all those talk shows to try and save the show that really led to everything.
BURT: It was during that period that I was offered the James Bond role which really took an incredible amount of courage to turn down. I just didn’t think audiences were ready for an American James Bond and I still think I’m right. And I didn’t want to get stuck with it in perpetuity just the way Sean (Connery) didn’t.
AW: And he did it first. But why did he quit doing it?
BURT: There was something about it that made him feel like a whore. But I think that’s ridiculous. I love whores. I hate pimps but I love whores.
AW: And he was so good in it.
BURT: He’s wrong. He’ll always be the only James Bond. But it was like me trying to play the Thin Man. It would have been a mistake. That was a bad example, wasn’t it?
AW: It’s so funny. In The Thin Man William Powell wasn’t really handsome but I really thought it was great when I was little. Now when I look at his movies on TV I wonder why he was my idol. It’s funny. But then Myrna Loy was great and they were funny together.
BURT: It was that combination, wasn’t it? Myrna Loy, the dog and him.
AW: That’s it. It was the dog.
BURT: There was something going on there with Asta. That was a menage a trois.
AW: I know. You know, I can’t watch the Lone Ranger and Tonto anymore. They ruined it for me. And it’s on every day now with “Superman.”
BURT: He’s a very good friend of mine—Jay Silverheels. And one of the most incredibly handsome men I think I’ve ever met in my life. He is—devastatingly handsome. He’s got that black hair that’s now turning a little silver and the women just fall over him. He does talk funny but that doesn’t matter—“You want drink water?”
AW: Really? You mean he still talks that way?
BURT: I love him. No, he just does it for a joke. We’re ready to order.
The waiter takes orders. AW has broiled sole. BURT has a New York steak, rare.
BA: Is it true that you do all your stunts by yourself?
BURT: Any that I can do without being killed. I work very hard.
BA: All the movies that you’re in are so active. You have to do so many things.
BURT: I like doing them. I don’t do them out of a kind of macho need. I just really enjoy it. And I kind of feel that the stunt men are the Lafayette Espadrille of the movies. They’re envied. They just walk on the set, do what they do, everyone applauds and they leave. And I’m still there. What the thing in your ear?
BA explains that the staple in her ear is acupuncture therapy to stop spoking. She’s on her third day and it’s worked so far. BURT says it looks great. AW says she should have a diamond on it. BA says it was very painful at first, like a “real office supply staple,” but she can’t feel anything now.
BURT: I like it very much. There’s only one problem. If a guy started working on that ear now, you wouldn’t know it.
BA: All it does s help you withdraw.
BURT: I press there when I start to hyperventilate. Have you ever hyperventilated? That’s when you feel like you can’t breathe.
AW: Is that nerves? You mean, it’s like if you’re stuck in an elevator you should hold your breath?
BURT: No, it doesn’t happen to me in elevators. Or crowds. It happens to me when I’m with somebody who really gets to me. It’s the same feeling as being stuck in an elevator—you’re stuck with them. And I press here. That, or I tell them to leave. Or I leave. I started hyperventilating actually when I didn’t have a tie.
BA: You know what the most interesting thing about it is? The acupuncturist had a drawing of an ear with all the points of what relates to what in your body and then he had a drawing of a fetus upside-down and that’s what you ear looks like, if you think about it.
BURT: You’re absolutely right. Did you notice mine is very little? You’ve got tiny little eats like me. We have little mouse ears.
BA: Are yours pierced, too?
BURT: No, but if it’ll help, I’ll do it. I’ll do anything. Are your ears sensitive? Because mine are. I can’t handle it at all if anybody monkeys around with my ears. I hate to trade secrets with you but it’s absolutely true.
AW: That’s funny. I would think you would wear an earring— you know, one of those little gold ones.
BURT: You would think I would? Well, I’ve been very successful without it. I’ll go to that next if things start dropping.
AW: All the farmers in Appensell, Switzerland wear them.
BURT: The farmers in Applesauce, Switzerland? You equate me with that?
AW: No, no, but all the kids we know in England do, too.
BURT: The only man I know who wears an earring is a dear friend of mine—Jim Kimberly from Kimberly Park. He’s Peck’s Bad Boy of Palm Beach.
AW: His divorce was on page one of the Palm Beach paper.
BURT: Which divorce? As soon as they get over age 19 they’re overage for him. I really, really like him. I’ve known three of his wives. They were all about 11 years old. He wears his earring with great style. He said if you sailed around the world in a sailboat, you then belong to this club and get a gold earring for your ear. Or if your box-office drops from seven to four.
AW: I can’t wait to see the picture tonight because Lorna (Luft) and Liza (Minnelli) made it sound so exciting.
BURT: Lorna loves you, by the way.
AW: She hasn’t called. She’s in town?
BURT: She’s very busy. She has a new boyfriend.
BA: I met him. He’s very nice. But I thought it was the same one as before.
AW: We saw the coming attractions of the film at Liza’s house on videotape.
BURT: I’m in the minority, mind you, but I think the old ending was better. We don’t die now—Gene and I. It’s sort of a fade out, fade in to 40 years later and Liza’s married to a guy with an awful lot of money who doesn’t know she could have ever been a rum runner. And she goes out on a sailing excursion with a lot of wealthy people and she grasp the steering wheel and says, “Drop the mainsail! I’m going into the wind!” And everybody goes bananas and she turns it into the wind there’re all these violins.
AW: This is the one they’re not using?
BURT: It was wonderful. The new ending is we’re 75 years old in bed together. Gene (Hackman) and I look 75. She looks 23. Actually Gene and I look like Santa Claus. We don’t really look 75.
AW: The “Daily News” had this great list that they gave out to Santa Clauses on the “Does and Don’t of Santa Clauses.” One of them was: “Don’t play up the ho-ho0ho bit.” Another was: “Don’t be too friendly with the other Santas.”
BURT: Two Santas talking together isn’t good for the image, right? But Lucky Lady has got some wonderful moments. God, I’m so bad at plugging movies. The three of us really, really love each other and I think that show on film. We’re so different in personality. I mean, if you spend four and a half months on a boat together, you’d have to be really different to really like each other. I hope it makes a lot of money.
AW: Which of your movies made the most money?
BURT: The most successful was The Longest Yard. It’s made 70 million dollars so far. I loved making it. It’s closer to me than anything I’ve ever done. It’s the only script I’ve ever done that was written for me—the whole self-deprecating, egomaniac humor. He fluctuates between thinking he’s wonderful to—there’s a line I ad-libbed in the picture which sums up my whole life: “I’ve always felt that I always had my shit together. I just couldn’t carry it.” That’s kind of true. And it was the only script I ever received that didn’t have Redford’s fingerprints all over it, or McQueen’s or Newman’s. I think that Deliverance is probably a better movie and will live longer but The Longest Yard was more fun. And made more money.
DAVID GERSHENSON: It made a lot more money.
BURT: Lot’s more. God, did it make money! And it’s sill making money. And that’s what really counts—how much money they make and not whether Pauline Kael liked them or John Simon. I have to say that. But I really think Deliverance was the best picture I’ve ever made. It was a wonderful movie. Of that kind of a picture—The Wages of Fear is another—I think it was really a wonderful picture. But the cameraman wasn’t even nominated for an Academy Award because he was an immigrant and because of all the politics and bullshit of Hollywood. He’s not been nominated twice since then—Vilmos Zsigmond. But I think the camerawork in Deliverance was not only good but it was almost incredible. The way he got into Guild was that he and Laszlo Kovacs escaped from Hungary together and photographed their escape.
AW: Really? Great.
DAVID GERSHENSON: Oh, c’mon.
BURT: They actually photographed guys shooting at them and made a documentary out of it and got into the Guild. And then they made a couple of pictures and then Deliverance but they didn’t get nominated. But it’s such a pack of shit anyway. If I had a tracheotomy this year I’d be nominated.
DAVID GERSHENSON: Didn’t he also do Cabaret?
BA: Couldn’t we arrange that?
BURT: We could fake a tracheotomy. Right here. Very chic. In Quo Vadis. Or if the word got out that I was dying of syphillis I could get a nomination. It’s too close to the truth, actually. We should work on another disease. I’m allergic to penicillin. Maybe I could get nominated for that.
BURT speculates seriously about this year’s Academy Award nominations. AW describes his trachotomy. BURT apologizes for making a joke about them. AW says he doesn’t mind.
(End of SIDE A.)
(Tape #1, Side B.)
AW talks about The Driver’s Seat, the Elizabeth Taylor movie he has a walk-on in. He wonders if it will ever be released and if he’ll get a nomination if it is.
AW: You should work with Liz. She’s great.
BURT: I’d love to. I don’t know if it would help her but I think she’s really special. I met her on an airplane. This is really funny. There was a girl called Liza Todd—not Liz’s daughter—who does “Hee Haw.” She named herself “Liza Todd” because she thinks she looks like Elizabeth Taylor. You got the picture? She really should be married to that guy that does all those movies who married to that guy that does all those movies who married that girl that exposes herself at football games. What’s his name? Russ Meyer. Anyway, I was on a show with her years ago and I didn’t even make an overt pass at her. I just said, “You’ve got wonderful lungs” or something. And she called me up at 3:30 and said, “I don’t think you’re masculine and I’m really not attracted to you” and hung up on me. I laid awake all night. Anyway, I got on the plane and she was there and she said, “Elizabeth Taylor and Burton are getting on this plane and nobody will ever know that you’re on it.” I went to the back and sat down and on got Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and about ten other people and nobody knew that I was on the plane. Anyway, she had just won the Photoplay award and I had just won the Photoplay award and Roddy McDowall accepted for her. So I send her this note that said: “I met you last night and you looked exactly like Roddy McDowall. Tonight you look much better.” Anyway, she laughed and got up and ran to the back of the plane screaming! Everybody was looking and when she got about three feet from me I said, “I told you to stay away from me!” And then I looked over at Liza Todd and went…
BURT sticks his finger in his mouth, and makes a “pop” noise.
BURT: It was the greatest joy of my life. I heard another wonderful story about her. I’ve been in love with her ever since I heard it. She did a movie called GIANT with a friend of mine named Earl Holliman who’s a very shy, wonderful guy. And he was kind of in awe of her as everybody is and he was riding in this train and they said, “Elizabeth Taylor’s club car is up there” and he said, “Well, I’m going to go introduce myself.” He knocked on the door and she opened it and said, “Sit down.” They’re on their way across this terrible desert. And he looked out the window and said “Look at those flowers! Aren’t they pretty?” They were cactus flowers. And she said, “Do you want one?” and went…
BURT imitates the sound of Elizabeth Taylor pulling the emergency brake, then the sound of the train screeching to a halt.
BURT: And she jumped up, run out, picked the flower while all the engineers ran around trying to figure out what was wrong, came back and said, “Here.”
Everyone agrees both Liz Taylor stories are great. AW is intrigued by what BURT said about a girl who exposes herself. He says Paul Anka told him that girls do it to him in nightclubs. He thinks it must happen all the time and owners if it happens to BURT. BURT says it only happened once, on a boat. A girl with the biggest breasts he’s ever seen, reading a book, upside down and wearing no panties, did it without taking her eyes off the book. He says he tells the story in all his interviews because he wants the girl to surface again.
Then BURT interviews AW. He asks after “that Dallesandro guy” and “Miss Mils.” AW says they’re both doing well. BURT asks him what exactly he does in his movies. He says he doesn’t know. BURT asks him what he does best. He says getting people to talk about themselves.
BURT: Then it comes down to having good taste. If you get the right people, you just have to say, “Roll” and then know what you like and what you don’t like. That’s all directing is but you’d be surprised how many people don’t know this.
AW: But do you improvise a lot? You said you ad-libbed lines.
BURT: That’s what I do best. They didn’t let me do it but I forced them into it. I have to give the audience what they want me to do be but they don’t always write that character in the picture. So then I make it up.
AW: But sometimes the story’s really good, like the Jack Nicholson one.
BURT: I wanted to do CUCKOO’S NEST desperately. I wanted to do that more than anything I’ve ever read in my life.
AW: He’s the whole movie.
BURT: I can’t see the picture I wanted to do that so bad. When I saw that play off-Broadway a long time ago, I said, “That’s the part I want to play.”
AW: You should have bought it.
BURT: It’s too late now. I could still play it in Toledo.
AW: But I love Hollywood now. Now it’s really like Hollywood. This year I was out there and it was so exciting. It was like what I imagined Hollywood used to be like in the 30s.
BURT: It has something to do with the times, I think. It’s a sad comment but unfortunately it’s true, that in a Depression we all make more money than anybody else. Our business is booming now more than ever.
AW: But movies really are good now. Every movie is worth seeing.
BURT: Television is awful. God, it’s awful! Just dreadful—that family hour, whenever it is, when you watch an ocelot give birth to a baby ocelot and…
AW: No, but the Monday night comedy hours on CBS is so great. It has “Maude” and “All in the Family” and “Rhoda” and that other one—all in one night.
BURT: Mary Tyler Moore and Normal Lear—they’re the only people trying to survive in that wasteland. They are wonderful.
BC: This new Norman Lear soap opera that’s going to be on sounds really funny. It’s like a parody of every soap opera you’ve ever seen. In one half-hour they’re like three abortions, ten car accidents…
DAVID GERSHENSON: Tongue-in-cheek or straight?
BURT: You’ve have to do it straight. I did The Rainmaker all across the country about three years ago—Toledo and Cleveland and Chicago—and there’re more orgies going on in Ohio than Hollywood ever thought about because of the soap operas. Women come up and say, “I watched The Days of Our Lives yesterday and the leading lady had three abortions, six marriages, two affairs, humped the mailman, put oleomargarine all over her husband, and I’ve never done any of those things. I must be dull. Can we have a Hollywood party?” I don’t know what a “Hollywood party” is but that’s where they’re going on—in Toledo, because of the soap operas. I’d really like to go on the john but I don’t have a tie on. I’m afraid I’d be attacked on the way. You’re going to the picture tonight?
AW: Yes, I am. I was in Rome when Liza was doing her interview with her father and Ingrid Bergman. It was really exciting.
BURT: She’s terrific, isn’t she? She was standing at the foot of the bed while we were doing a scene and I couldn’t talk, I went. “A-a-a—a…”
BC: We went to pick her up one night and we ended up staying there for three hours because she was reading the whole script for her next movie.
AW: Burt was talking about Ingrid.
BURT: Liza can thread a sewing machine in a storm. She’s incredible. But I thought Ingrid when I met her would be very subdued. I thought I could hum a couple of songs and say, “Play it again, Sam.” You see, I’ve seen Casablanca 11 times. But she talks a lot. She never stops and right in the middle of the conversation, she’ll say, “You’re very amusing and don’t worry about saying the same thing twice because I can never remember what you said the first time, anyway.” And she looks wonderful.
They talk about Ingrid Bergman’s children, Roman discotheques and Ursula Andress. Then AW asks BURT about Bobby Zarem’s broken leg. BURT says he’ll be in the hospital for two weeks. BURT says he loves hospitals more than anything, along with room service. Then they talk about the Ritz, the Dorchester and the bombings in London. Then the waiter takes desert orders. BURT passes.
BURT: Can I borrow your staple?
BA: They do have one for dieters.
BURT: You’re probably one of those people who can eat anything without getting fat.
BA: I’ve lost five pounds since I’ve had this staple on.
AW: And you don’t drink as much coffee, either.
BA: I’m altogether more healthy.
BURT: And it’s only been what—three days? It’s terrific.
DAVID GERSHENSON: She’s got incredible eyes. I mean, the rest is chopped liver but the eyes.
AW: You and Burt have the same kind of eyes.
BURT: If I don’t have the light down here I look like Sessue Hayakawa. I was big in Japan—really big.
BA: I was always called “Jap” when I was little.
BURT: It’s so nice when you can see them.
BURT talks to BA about her photography. “I’m a Pentax man, myself,” he says. BA offers him a bite of her desert. “That’s the best offer I’ve had all day,” he says, winking.
Then BURT says he went to El Morocco the week before and it looked exactly like 1946. He asks everyone where the new clubs are. BC says Regine is opening on Park Avenue in March. AW says the new thing is bars where dancers pick up your glass between their legs and give it to you. He says there’re both “boy versions” and “girl versions” of these bars. They talk about the girl versions. BURT asks which version is more decadent. Everyone says the boy versions are. BURT laughs and asks them to tell him about them.
(End of Side B.)
(Tape #2, Side A.)They talk about the boy versions. Then they talk about Ursula Andress and Roman discotheques. BURT says when he’s in Roman discotheques he runs into all the contract players he knew when he was starting out in Hollywood—Brett Halsey, Gordon Scott, Wade Preston and Steve Reeves. He’s says they all have enormous villas and seven servants now. Then they talk about the big Italian stars—Terrance Hill, Franco Nero, Bud Spencer and Guiliano Giami.
BURT: He’s really gorgeous. Have you met him? He was the guy that did a couple of Westerns and knew that he wouldn’t make it as “Guiliano Giami” so he changed his name to “Montgomery Wood.” Then Montgomery Wood came out and made about three Westerns and became a big Italian star and then it said, “Montgomery Wood (Guiliano Giami).” Then as he got more successful it said, “Guiliano Giami (Montgomery Wood).” And now he’s just “Guiliano Giami.”
AW: There’’re all the best names. But what language do they speak? I thought they were all German.
BURT: Terrance Hill is. He has an accent that sounds exactly like Otto Preminger. He makes a million dollars a picture. Everyone asks him why he doesn’t come to America to work. He says, “Vy should I?! To play a Nazi? For cheese und crackers?!”
DAVID GERSHENSON: Do they dub a great voice in for him?
BURT: Up until six years ago they did. The biggest stars in Italy never did their own voices. They had a voice for them. Then about six years ago they made a rule that you couldn’t win the Italian equivalent of the Academy Award unless you did your own voice.
BC: That’s why you didn’t get the award, Andy.
BURT: That’s why I didn’t get the award. I have a voice a little above Yma Sumac’s. The lead gets the lowest voice and from there they go down. Or up. As your part gets smaller your voice gets higher. It’s the same in Japan. When you become a really big star in Japan, you get one man who does your voice and can’t do anybody else’s because the voice becomes so recognizable. So when you go there you meet the man who always does you. Kirk Douglas yes there and the guy says, “Hi! I’m Kirk Douglas. Why aren’t we working?” It’s always a terribly high voice, too. They should be Bambi’s voice.
BURT says the big thing in Japan now is for American male stars to do Honda commercials which take 11 days to shoot, even thought they use dubbed voices. He says when he was asked to do one he said he wanted to be paid what Steve McQueen was. It turns out he was paid 1000 Hondas. BURT says that Catherine Deneuve, his co-star in his latest film, The Hustle, is the biggest female star in Japan. They talk about her Chanel commercials. Then they talk about various theories about the death of Pasolini, Communism and neo-Fascism in Italy, spaghetti Westerns and Silvana Mangano’s children.
BURT: One of Silvana’s daughters is so beautiful it’s scary. Clint Eastwood and I were invited to dinner there one night—to the castle in Rome. It’s no longer there but it was unbelievable. There was a long table and Silvana was there in a black dress and then halfway down the table was one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen, the daughter, who was then about 14, and way down at the other end of the table was Dino (de Laurentiis), staring, and Joe Mankiewicz and Tony Quinn and Ponti and Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale. And somewhere, sandwiched between all these people, were Clint Eastwood and I, staring. I was fascinated by two people there. I was fascinated with a friend of Silvana’s—I think she was a princess or something—who was very dark and sexy looking, and the oldest daughter, who looked like the young Gene Tierney and who knew everything.
AW: I think Barbara looks like Gene Tierney.
BURT: I know that. I was trying to think who Barbara looked like. I was going to say Ida Lupino but it’s not her.
AW: Silvana’s so beautiful.
BURT: When you see her walk, you feel like you have a broken back. Ricardo Montaban had that look, too.
DAVID GERSHENSON: So did Bambi’s father.
BURT: And Bambi’s father.
They talk about the garbage strike and then get up to leave. On the way out they run into Diana Vreeland and Francoise de la Renta. Everyone busses.
DIANA VREELAND: Hello! Are are ya?
AW: The show was just great.
DIANA VREELAND: That’s so sweet of you to say.
AW: Diana, this is Burt Reynolds.
DIANA VREELAND: Oh, how are you? I’m so glad to meet you. I’m a big fan of yours. I think you’re terrific.
BURT: How very intelligent of you. Thank you.
DIANA VREELAND: Mmm!
AW: There’s one more than of yours—Francoise de la Renta.
FRANCOISE DE LA RENTA: How are you? Nice to meet you.
AW: That show was so ecviting.
DIANA VREELAND:Really, Andy?
DIANA VREELAND: You really liked it? I don’t mean the party, but the show.
AW: No, it was really great. I thought you looked the best.
DIANA VREELAND: Thank you. That’s sweet. Put that ton the tape, mmm?
They say goodbye to everyone and go outside where BURT poses for photographs sitting on a garbage baggie.
(End of Side A)
(Tape #2, Side B.)
DAVID GERSHENSON: How about picking that up for prop?
AW: Why don’t we just do a face. The lighting’s good her. Ooo, it smells. Isn’t it exciting? We should have sat in front.
BURT: You’re all coming tonight? And you’ll be at 21? Save me a seat, Barbara. I’ll see you tonight.
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