Mem­o­ries of Reynolds won’t fade

Palm Beach Daily News - - OPINION -

Like many ac­tors, Burt Reynolds was a chameleon. Whether he was chas­ing bad guys as Palm Beach de­tec­tive B.L. Stryker, por­tray­ing a foot­ball player in “Semi-Tough” and “The Long­est Yard,” or was be­hind the wheel in a “Smokey and the Ban­dit” car chase, he ex­uded the South­ern charm that made him a star. And that South­ern charm came from grow­ing up in Palm Beach County.

The Sept. 6 death of Mr. Reynolds prompted for­mer Manala­pan res­i­dent Kim­berly Strauss, of New York and Boca Ra­ton, to send a re­mem­brance.

“I thought you might en­joy this quick anec­dote from years past con­cern­ing the late Burt Reynolds. He re­ally was a fan­tas­tic guy, and when I learned of his pass­ing, I im­me­di­ately and fondly re­mem­bered his visit to Manala­pan in the 1980s when and where he was shoot­ing the “B.L. Stryker” TV se­ries at our house.

“He was a lot of fun to be around, quite the same off cam­era as on, but quiet and re­served, as well; sin­cerely sweet and gen­tle.

“For what­ever, (it’s) worth, I thought I’d share a photo from those days of Mr. Reynolds and my late mother, Mrs. Eugenia P. Strauss (also for­merly from Hol­ly­wood). This was taken at the for­mer home, Mia En­can­tada (1000 S. Ocean Blvd.) . ... Rita Moreno, Ossie Davis, Abe Vigoda and Ted McGin­ley were on lo­ca­tion, as well.”

Even though there is a Palm Beach con­nec­tion to the se­ries — Buddy Lee Stryker sup­pos­edly lived in Palm Beach — it only lasted two sea­sons. Yet, al­most 30 years later, the mem­ory is still vivid for Kim­berly Strauss.

As it is for oth­ers in Palm Beach County, since Mr. Reynolds was prob­a­bly the most-fa­mous per­son to come from the county. Though many fa­mous peo­ple call (or have called) the county home for at least some of the year — such as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, Pres­i­dent

John F. Kennedy, Jack Nick­laus, Joe Na­math, Ce­line Dion, Vanilla Ice, Ari­ana Grande, etc. — Mr. Reynolds never for­got where he came from, which en­deared him to res­i­dents through­out his ca­reer.

I never had the plea­sure of meet­ing Mr. Reynolds, but I vis­ited his for­mer Jupiter mu­seum about 25 times. My friend used to hold act­ing and im­prov classes on the small stage they had there, and I went many times. My daugh­ter had a small part in a small film he made.

What a unique (and some­what kitschy) place, but that only added to the ap­peal. It was fas­ci­nat­ing to see the Emmy (among other awards) from “Even­ing Shade,” a ca­noe from “De­liv­er­ance,” all the sports mem­o­ra­bilia, all the notes and au­to­graphed pho­tos from Hol­ly­wood elite, and that Roy Rogers sad­dle. It made you feel like you knew Mr. Reynolds even if you hadn’t met him.

Mr. Reynolds had a love af­fair with Palm Beach County, in­clud­ing Palm Beach.

In 2004, he wrote about Worth Av­enue: “I love to drive around the is­land in a con­vert­ible in the even­ing with the top down, no mat­ter it be sum­mer or win­ter. It’s in­tox­i­cat­ing.”

As was Mr. Reynolds’ de­vo­tion to ev­ery­thing Palm Beach County. Many will agree with Mrs. Strauss: He was a fan­tas­tic guy, and he will be missed.

Cour­tesy of Kim­berly Strauss

Kim­berly Strauss, of New York and Boca Ra­ton, shared this im­age of Burt Reynolds and her mother, Mrs. Eugenia P. Strauss taken in the 1980s at Mia En­can­tada at 1000 S. Ocean Blvd.

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