"I love that girl," Burt Reynolds tells PEOPLE of a certain TV detective

By Michelle Tauber
November 13, 2015 03:35 PM

During his reign as a box office-topping leading man in the 1970s and ’80s, Burt Reynolds dated some of the most famous actresses in Hollywood, including Sally Field, Farrah Fawcett and Loni Anderson.

These days, he spends most of his time teaching at his Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre in Jupiter, Florida. He’s a big reader who doesn’t watch much TV, but when he does, his favorite show is Law & Order.

“I love that girl [Mariska Hargitay],” he tells PEOPLE in a new interview. “I’ve got a crush on her. I’d like to do the show just to meet her.”

Mariska Hargitay

As for his favorite contemporary actors, he singles out George Clooney and Tom Hanks.

For much more of PEOPLE’s interview with Burt Reynolds and an exclusive excerpt from his new memoir, pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday

This week's PEOPLE cover

Hanks “is a very sweet young man, and I love the way he handles himself off-camera,” says Reynolds, 79, whose new memoir But Enough About Me is excerpted exclusively in this week’s issue of PEOPLE.

As for Clooney, “He’s a good-looking guy but seems to not give a damn about that. He doesn’t stop at the mirror for an hour. He’s a really good guy.”