The actor and 1970s sex symbol shares his book's cover – and tells why he's finally decided to "set the record straight"

By Liz McNeil
Updated February 25, 2015 08:20 AM
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Credit: Courtesy of G.P. Putnam's Sons/Herb Ritts/Trunk Archive

In his memoir But Enough About Me, screen legend Burt Reynolds tells about his life and and his famous loves, including Dinah Shore, Sally Field and ex-wife Loni Anderson.

“I wanted to set the record straight,” Reynolds, 79, tells PEOPLE about his book, out this fall. “Not only about my relationships with Dinah, Sally and Loni, but also about the things that people don’t know about me.”

There’s a lot more to the star of Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit and, more recently, Boogie Nights, than a ’70s sex symbol famous for his 1972 nude centerfold in Cosmopolitan.

Such as? “My art, my music, my teaching [and] my time in New York studying with the Actor’s Studio,” says Reynolds.

“Along the way,” he says, “I talk about marching for equal rights with Ossie Davis and Dr. King, going to prison with Jimmy Carter, to Europe with [British actress] Lesley-Anne Down and Clint Eastwood [and] saying ‘No!’ to Queen Elizabeth.”

Turns out back in 2008, after Reynolds starred in A Bunch of Amateurs – a movie about a washed-up actor (Reynolds) who arrives in a small British town to play King Lear – the Queen picked the movie for a special screening and invited the actor. He turned down the invitation, which caused an uproar.

“I’ve turned down queens before!” Reynolds jokes.

For more on that story, plus all the details on Reynolds’s more than 60 years in show business, fans must wait until his memoir, published by Penguin Random House, comes out in November.