John Schneider says he hopes fans remember Burt Reynolds "by his ability to make people feel instantly welcome"

By Aurelie Corinthios
September 13, 2018 04:05 PM
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty; Noam Galai/Getty

John Schneider is remembering his good friend Burt Reynolds, who died on Sept. 6 at 82.

Speaking to PeopleTV at the Dancing with the Stars press junket this week, Schneider, 58, opened up about the icon’s legacy.

“I hope that they remember Burt by his ability to make people feel instantly welcome,” he said. “Whether he was coming up or whether he was the biggest star on the planet or whether he wasn’t, he was an amazing friend to have. He was a wonderful force of nature and truly the independent filmmaker’s best friend.”

Gabe Ginsberg/Getty; Noam Galai/Getty

Schneider played Beauregard “Bo” Duke in the comedy series The Dukes of Hazzard; Reynolds starred in the 2005 movie remake.

“I don’t know that that many people know what he did for the state of Georgia, as far as all the movies that he brought to Georgia — he was a lover of film,” said Schneider. “Not just a movie star, but a true lover of the art of filmmaking.”

As for how he thinks Reynolds would react to him joining the season 27 cast of Dancing with the Stars alongside pro Emma Slater?

“He’d love it,” he said with a laugh. “And I tell you what, he did a lot of his own stunts and things — Burt would have done Dancing with the Stars, if he could.”

Craig Sjodin/ABC

And according to Schneider, the ABC dance competition is coming at the perfect time for him — despite some recent turmoil in his personal life. (He was sentenced to three days behind bars in the Los Angeles County Jail in June for failure to pay more than $150,000 in owed alimony payments to his ex-wife, Elvira “Elly” Schneider.)

“The timing could not possibly be better,” he said. “Especially in light of personal things that have kind of been deteriorating over the past four years one one side, and never better on the other side.”