When you think of Burt Reynolds, you often think of him as a tough guy. He developed that persona over his many decades as an actor. But sometimes, even tough guys do cry.
A few years before his death Sept. 6, 2018, the famous actor sat down for an interview with Piers Morgan. The interview took place in 2012. During their conversation, Reynolds opened up about his father’s military service during World War II. And rightly so, he became emotional about it.
In fact Burt Reynolds’ father, Burton Leon Reynolds Sr., was part of the first wave of troops to land at Normandy on D-Day in June 1944. This obviously kept him away from his young son and his family. It’s a time that the famous actor never really forgot.
As he is talking to Burt Reynolds about the actor’s father’s military service, Morgan points out that 70 percent of Burton Reynolds Sr.’s regiment died at Normandy.
“Did he ever talk to you about that?” Morgan then asked the actor.
“No. He wouldn’t talk about it,” Reynolds said. “But, I met men that served with him. Served under him. And idolized him.”
Burt Reynolds Said His Father ‘Took a Hill By Himself’ During World War II
As he talks about how those men respected his father, Burt Reynolds begins to tear up. And, rightly so. What his father – and so many soldiers like him – did all those years ago is worthy of all of our emotions.
Even as he got emotional, Reynolds continued to talk about his father and what the men who had served with Reynolds Sr. had said about the man.
“They told me some extraordinary stories,” the actor said. “He took a hill by himself. There were eight or nine Germans there shooting at him. He got them all.”
Reynolds then praised his father and his military service.
“He was quite a man,” he added.
However, Reynolds did say that his father wasn’t the most affectionate of people. This he said, had to do with the time during which his father grew up and lived.
“That was a time, you know, an era when men didn’t show affection, you know?” Reynolds added during the interview. “I would have killed for a hug from him.”
Fortunately, Reynolds and his father were able to discuss this before the elder man died at age 94.
“He lived to be 94 and the last four years of his life we talked about a lot of things like that,” the actor also said. “And, he said some things I can’t even say now without crying. Had he not lived that long, I never would have heard them.”
According to information shared by Morgan, Reynolds’ father became a police chief after his military service ended. The actor’s mother, Fern, was a nurse. The actor was born in Georgia in February 1936. His given name was Burton Leon Reynolds Jr.
You can watch Burt Reynolds be interviewed by Piers Morgan below.