Days after the actor with the iconic mustache passed away aged 82, “One Million Years B.C.” Rachel Welch shared one of her favorite memories about him.
Despite being a few years younger than late actor Burt Reynolds, by the time the two first met to film “100 Rifles” in 1969, actress Rachel Welch’s status as star and sex symbol was much bigger than his, and she didn’t even know who he was.
It is not like Reynolds, who died on September 6, 2018, wasn’t famous by then. He had already built himself a reputation for his role as Quint in “Gunsmoke” from 1962 to 1965, but he just never got on Welch’s radar until then.
“I had never heard of Burt Reynolds before. I had been living in Great Britain and all around Europe for the last couple of years so I wasn’t up on everything,” the 78-year-old actress explained.
But it only took one look at him to leave an everlasting impression on Welch. It happened when the two met for the first time in the airport of Madrid, Spain, from where the two flew to the south of the country to start filming.
The first time I laid eyes on him, he came strolling across the tarmac towards the plane and, well, he had a walk that was unlike anything I’d ever seen before,” Welch recalled.
“He was somewhere between a jock and a cowboy, which was just about perfect. I was thinking he’s just the hottest thing. And I haven’t even seen his face!” she added.
“You never saw a walk like that in your life. I decided then that this was going to be a fun shoot,” Welch said about her former co-star and friend.
The two had a lot of fun on set, indeed, and they went on to enjoy each other on the several movies they did together, such as “Fuzz” (1972) and “Forget About It” (2006).
They never became romantically involved, but the attraction evolved to admiration when she saw how good he was when the cameras started rolling.
“Even though he was very friendly, I just had never seen anybody work it the way he did on camera,” she said.
“I thought, ‘I haven’t got a hope in hell.’ I mean, nobody is even going to see me in this scene. You can’t take your eyes off him,” Welch admitted.
“He was a really good actor, mostly underrated. You know, he was like catnip, you couldn’t take your eyes off of him. And he pretty much owned everything that he was in,” she said about her late friend.
HE BECAME A SEX SYMBOL
In 1972, Reynolds also cemented his reputation as a Hollywood sex symbol by posing in a now iconic Cosmopolitan centerfold in the nude over a bearskin rug.
It was the perfect match to Welch’s poster from “One Million Years BC.”
“He used to come up to me and say, ‘So, what do you think? You had your poster, and now, look at this,’” Welch told People.
“It was so fun. But that was that Burt attitude. From the neck up, you just knew, he was sharing a laugh with everybody. He was in on the joke. And he knew that everybody’s in on the joke,” she said.
While Reynolds’ poster was a rarity on his career, Welch had many other occasions to flaunt her incredible figure, sometimes wearing very revealing clothes, but she was never willing to appear completely naked in public.
"I am my father's daughter and that's just not the way you behave. You don't do that if you are a certain kind of a woman and that's the kind of woman I was raised to be,” Welch cited as her reasons to keep from baring it all.