Where Are They Now?


Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds

Video Cover of Cop And A Half, Filmed in Tampa, FL
-- Summer of 1992

Burt Reynolds

Reynolds is probably the most celebrated Hollywood personality with long-standing ties to Tampa.

In the mid 50's, he spent three summers as a counselor at Camp Keystone, a youth summer camp on Gunn Highway near the Pasco County Line just south of State Road 54. There he befriended then camp owner Vicki Woodward, who encouraged him to get into acting when injuries he sustained playing football at Florida State University prevented him from pursuing a professional sports career.

Reynolds often paid visits to Woodward after she opened her ill-fated "Treasureland" pirate-theme tourist attraction on Busch Boulevard just east of Busch Gardens in the late 60's. It closed after just a few years of operation.

He kept numerous friends in Tampa over the years, among them photographer Simon Rose; auto dealer Ernie Haire; former football teammate and stockbroker Victor Prinzi; businesswoman Woodward; restaurateur Malio Iavarrone; real estate developer George Courtner; and WTVT sports director Andy Hardy.

Reynolds always reciprocated good deeds and did TV commercials for the Haire auto dealership after Ernie Haire lent him his helicopter for several emergencies. He named Dom DeLuise's character in 1981's big screen hit "The Cannonball Run" after his college buddy Victor Prinzi.

Once, at the height of his movie career, he sneaked into the ball field viewing stands at MacFarland Park to watch Prinzi's sons play baseball but was discovered halfway through the game, got mobbed by fans, and had to be whisked away. In 1978, he assisted Andy Hardy with play-by-play on a live broadcast of a Buccaneer's preseason football game after he heard Channel 13 hadn't yet landed a permanent announcer to assist Hardy.

In the early 80's, he was a part owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits football team and attended most practices in a field near the HCC Dale Mabry campus. He also became involved in some real estate deals at the time, including the three story condo development at the northeast corner of Azelle Avenue and Church Street.

Bandit Movie Series

Wanting to be near Pam Seales, a good friend and head cocktail waitress at Malio's Restaurant who had been introduced to him by Prinzi, Reynolds insisted that Universal Pictures make "Cop and a Half" in Tampa and it was done. Ironically, Prinzi had been best man at Reynolds wedding to Loni Anderson.

At the time, there were Henry Winkler sitings reported to the media everyday as the former "Fonz" scouted movie locations around Tampa in his role as director of the movie.

In addition to being one of the worst movies ever filmed, there were numerous problems on the set. Costar Norman Golden III caught chicken pox and shut down production for ten days. Not long after, Reynolds mother passed away. The old Jefferson High School on Highland Avenue off Columbus Drive was used as headquarters for the production staff.

A year later, Reynolds divorced his wife, Loni, and has kept steady company with Pam ever since. Needless to say, she's quit Malio's to be by her man's side no matter where he travels.

Despite filing bankruptcy several years ago, Reynolds still lives at his Jupiter, Florida ranch but comes to Tampa often to see friends and look over possible business deals.

Copyright © 2002 By TEDD WEBB • All Rights Reserved