Burt Reynolds: I left my heart in South Florida

Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds Invision/AP

He’s been in showbiz for more than 55 years, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that we seem to be in the midst of a Burt Reynolds Renaissance. The 80-year-old movie star and longtime South Florida resident has been in media-blitz mode since last fall to promote the release of his frank memoir, But Enough About Me. The Bandit will appear at the Palm Beach Book Festival doing a panel discussion from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Norton Museum of Art. A meet-and-greet/book-signing will follow — and possible photo ops with the Palm Beach High School grad.

You just got back from SXSW to promote “The Bandit,” the documentary about the making of “Smokey and The Bandit.” How was that?

It was great. They were nice to me. I hadn’t been to Texas before, at least never got to stop and talk.

It would seem that from all of the appearances you’ve been making that you’re having a lot of fun.

I really am. You know a lot of it is that they think you’re checking out or whatever [chuckles], but they’re so sweet and open about everything, you feel like you can talk about everything. It’s good.

You were born in Michigan but moved to Riviera Beach in 1946. Your book focuses a lot on your early life in Palm Beach County.

I think it’s important only in the sense that most people don’t know that much about this area, and it’s incredible. It has a whole kind of sweetness that the rest of the state doesn’t have. I don’t know where a lot of actors are from or anything about their hometowns, and the ones I do know, it tells you a lot about them, if they’re from a little town and that little town is beckoning them to come back now and then. I understand that. I like that a lot.

Tickets: palmbeachbookfestival.com/panels