Burt Reynolds Got It Wrong Too

Share via

Author Marty Elkort notes that I gave an incomplete account of the story of Clint Eastwood’s rejection by a Universal Pictures exec in 1959.

The incident was taken from the book with the facetious title “The Experts Speak,” by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky, which recounted how the young Eastwood was told: “You have a chip on your tooth, your Adam’s apple sticks out too far, and you talk too slow.”

Elkort pointed out that the book also mentioned that, at the same meeting, Burt Reynolds was dismissed with the comment, “You have no talent.”


Reynolds later recalled chuckling as he and Eastwood walked out to their cars in the parking lot. Eastwood asked him what was so funny.

Reynolds replied that Eastwood was in deep trouble because his problem was with his physical appearance while he--Reynolds--was not, because, “I can take acting lessons.”

CONFLICTING SIGNALS: Welcome to today’s “Huh?” section (see accompanying). Charlotte Sale of Anaheim came upon a paradoxical sign in a store window in Baja California. (Actually, the door was locked and the lights were out.) Monica and Roger Vaughn of L.A. spotted a surgery ad that seemed to say patients don’t heal completely. And Margaret Guerra of L.A. received a tour company letter with a puzzling phone number. Is that another one of those new area codes?

WESTSIDE STORY: Santa Monica Sun columnist Hank Rosenfeld reported hearing this conversation in a local diner.

A businesswoman, on her cell phone, said: “No, I’m with a client at breakfast right now.”

She clicked off and her breakfast mate said: “I’m a client now?”

She: “You want me to say I’m with my boyfriend who used to be my friend’s boyfriend?”

UNEXPECTED REUNION: Newsman Jerry Soifer, a childhood chum of mine and later a colleague at The Times, had a wild experience in Corona the other day. Soifer, who now works for the Riverside Press-Enterprise, rushed to a trailer park where a man was reportedly waving a gun.

“It was an incredibly tense situation,” he told columnist Dan Bernstein. The bare-chested, heavily tattooed suspect was handcuffed and kneeling on the ground. Several officers had their guns drawn.


Soifer started snapping photos. Whereupon the suspect did something a bit strange for suspects. He looked Soifer in the eye and said, cheerfully, “Hi, Scoop!” He added: “Remember me from football?”

The suspect had been a high school football player in the 1980s when Soifer acquired the nickname “Scoop.”

By the way, it turned out that the suspect carried only a pellet gun, hadn’t fired it, and had broken no laws.

NO ANGELTOWN: Writer Carolyn Strickler points out that L.A.’s onetime devilish nickname dated back at least to the 1830s. Cosme Pena, a prefect of the wild little pueblo, used to head his official correspondence to Gov. Alvarado as coming from “Los Diablos.”

Historian J. Gregg Layne once noted that the 1836 census showed that 15 of the 250 women in L.A. (6%) bore the designation of “Mala Vida.” Ask Heidi Fleiss what Mala Vida means.


An anonymous e-mailer says that if I discuss the lack of seals in Seal Beach, I should mention the misleading name of Antelope Valley, adding: “My guess is that developers thought it sounded better than Rattlesnake Gulch.” Author Mike Davis wrote in “City of Quartz,” by the way, that a few antelope were resettled there after World War II to try to make the area live up to its name.



Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, Times Mirror Square, L.A. 90053 and by e-mail at