Burt Reynolds made a rare public appearance over the weekend attending the Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Saturday.
The Boogie Nights star, 79, wore what seems to have become his uniform in the later years of life: a black velvet jacket, rose-colored glasses, and a matching pocket square. He also had to use a cane to walk. It was the first time Reynolds had participated in Comic Con and his appearance generated a lot of buzz (more on that below).
"I think it's a good time to find out what it's all about," the legendary actor told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I always enjoy talking to fans and I'm usually very pleased with their curiosity about my career, what I'm doing, what I'm not doing, and why I'm not doing more."
According to the Daily Mail, Burt was a hit with the crowd, inciting laughter as he mocked rumors of a rivalry with late actor Marlon Brando and declared Deliverance the favorite of all his movies.
The reclusive star has certainly slowed down recently, opting for more voiceover work in video games and animated TV shows over movie roles. However, Reynolds — who has overcome health issues in the past — told the Philadelphia Inquirer that is largely due to the hard work he has been putting in on his second memoir, But Enough About Me, due out in November. The book will look back on his career and other actors he worked with.
"I got along great with 98 percent of them, and a few of them I didn't like at all," Reynolds said. "When you write a book like this, you have to tell the whole thing, and there are days when everything isn't wonderful and there were people who I thought were asses. I'm having a lot of fun, but it's beginning to look a little bit like the dictionary. I started acting in a TV series in 1959 [with the show Riverboat] and I've been working ever since, so there's an awful lot to reminisce about."
In December, Reynolds auctioned of more than 600 personal items (like his 1998 Golden Globe), but he slammed reports it was because he was in dire financial straits, despite having previously filed for bankruptcy.
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"I want everyone to know that contrary to what all the news outlets are saying, I am not broke," he told Entertainment Tonight. "I have been dealing with a business dispute for many years as well as a divorce settlement. I am simply selling some of my memorabilia that I have enjoyed for so many years but do not have use nor room for them anymore. Quite frankly, I am sick of so many pictures of myself in my own home."
Burt's appearance over the weekend fueled media concern, with many outlets calling out his frail look (one even went so far as to dub these his "sad last days"):
— Eyebalz (@Eyeballsio) May 11, 2015
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) May 11, 2015
Burt Reynolds. Certainly not the Mean Machine he once was - but he certainly still sports a nice head of hair. http://t.co/yZSOF0kzRr
— The TV News (@IngenuityMedia) May 11, 2015
However, fans are standing beside the beloved actor:
Bunch of headlines reading "What happened to Burt Reynolds!?!?" He got old, ok? Jesus Christ people, celebrities age too. #leaveburtalone
— Danielle Gillette (@d_gillette88) May 11, 2015
Why the shock at @BurtReynolds looking frail? He's 79, had bypass surgery, and has lived a long incredible life.
— Ann Brenoff (@AnnBrenoff) May 11, 2015
In this life do not mess with Burt Reynolds, Ronda Rousey, or George Zimmerman.
— Adam Berrones (@adamberrones) May 11, 2015
Reynolds has not commented on the online speculation.