Celebrity Corner: Burt Reynolds

By Rachel Leigh - bio | email

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (WFLX) - Just over a week ago, legendary actor and Jupiter resident Burt Reynolds underwent five-way bypass surgery. "I was in the hospital getting a regular checkup, and they told me all my arteries are clogged up. And, I said, 'unplug them'. [I] didn't know it was that big of deal."

But that didn't stop him from giving out the Burt Reynolds Scholarship at the Palm Beach International Film Festival Friday morning at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School. "Well, I think it's very important that young people understand there are people out there that want them to go on, and keep doing what they're doing and not give up because they graduate or enough people to say, 'Go on and do it.'''

The talented recipient Paul Hulluch is a senior at G-Star School of the Arts, and the scholarship money will be going to good use this fall. "It'll be going towards Palm Beach State College; I'm going to the film program there. The scholarship is for $5,000 and the film program is $5,000."

And, just like Reynolds, "I had a teacher that, I sat in the back row like all football players, [he said] come on down and sit in front. [It] change my life," said Reynolds.

Paul, too had someone changed his life. "When I was a freshman in high school, I had a friend who won the Burt Reynolds Scholarship, and he told me if I worked hard enough, I could get it, too."

And, luckily, Reynolds received that same kind of advice a long time ago. "There isn't an actor I know that at one time had someone say, 'Get out, stop doing what you're doing'. Somebody along the line has to tell you don't give up. Don't listen to those people. I always used it for fuel. I had some wonderful people who told me to keep going."

And that's exactly what he's doing as he tells me he just finished his latest film, "A Bunch of Amateurs" in England.