Reynolds gets Lifetime Achievement Award in Palm Beach Friday night

By Linda Marx
April 24, 2010 09:00 PM
Credit: Paul Emmans/Startraks

To put it bluntly: “I was a heart attack waiting to happen,” Burt Reynolds told PEOPLE Friday night.

The 74-year-old Evening Shade and Smokey and the Bandit actor looks great, “feels fabulous” and wants to” live to be 199″ after undergoing quintuple bypass surgery in March, he said before receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for 50 years of film, TV and theatrical work by the Palm Beach International Film Festival.

“My doctor said I needed to undergo bypass surgery immediately,” Reynolds, who lives in south Florida, explained, admitting that he had no idea that his arteries were closed when he went to his doctor for a physical. “I went home and shaved then had the operation the next day.”

RELATED: Burt Reynolds Recovers from Heart Surgery
Five days later he was out of the hospital and exercising. But he had to miss the opening of A Bunch of Amateurs, a comedy he made two years ago in England where he plays a sleazy Hollywood agent.

“I was in the hospital when it opened over there,” he says. “I was sorry to have missed that, but I am happy that I am still alive to talk about it!”