Burt Reynolds Admits To Regretting The Bearskin Rug Photo, Talks About Missing Friend Hal Needham

Bearskin rugs were looked at in a whole new light after actor Burt Reynolds spread himself across one, fully nude, for a racy photoshoot back in 1972.

Four decades later, Reynolds is admitting he regrets going ahead with the shoot.

“It was really stupid. I don’t know what I was thinking. I really wish I hadn’t done that.”

attends the screening of "The Bandit" during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Paramount Theatre on March 12, 2016 in Austin, Texas. [Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW]The heartthrob confessed his change of attitude towards the experience while speaking during AOL’s What To Watch Session. Wonderwall notes the circumstances surrounding the release of the picture in an issue of Cosmopolitan.

“The now-famous photograph made waves when it first came out in Cosmopolitan magazine in the early ’70s. The eyebrow-raising issue sold 1.5 million copies of the magazine and helped cement both Cosmo and Reynolds’ name in popular culture. The racy picture came out right as Reynolds’ iconic film ‘Deliverance’ hit theaters.”

In the sit-down interview, Reynolds relays his reasoning for doing the nude shoot on the infamous bearskin rug. Mainly, the actor shares that his reason for going through with it was due to worrying that people would think he was afraid to do it if he didn’t. Once the issue of Cosmo hit the stands and the movie was released, Burt Reynolds became an international sex symbol.

While speaking in front of the audience in Austin, Burt also shared that he had rules before getting into total buff. He insisted that he be liquored up and therefore needed a few drinks around at the shoot.

“The only rules I had… I wanted a lot of drinks before. I have to be truthful, I was totally zonkered when I did the picture. That stupid smile, that’s what it is you know.”

Reynolds attended the festival for the purpose of promoting his documentary, The Bandit. As Wonderwall indicates, “The doc follows his relationship with his friend and director Hal Needham during the filming of his iconic 1977 movie Smokey And The Bandit.”

Due to all the stunts the now 80-year-old has done over the years in various films, he is now suffering from health issues and requires the assistance of a cane to walk. Reynolds spoke about the toll his work has taken on his body.

“At certain times in the morning I regret it, trying to get out of bed. I can point to certain places and know it’s from certain pictures.”

However, the film icon admits that regardless of needing a cane, he’s been loving doing press for his documentary.

“It’s wonderful. It’s been the best time of my life. Number one, I’m getting around with my cane, and there’s so many people I’ve gotten to know.”

Although Burt did many of his own stunts, he has utmost respect for his partner in crime Hal and his stunt work. The Hollywood Reporter shares Reynolds’ words about Needham.

“I was really happy that it was Burt and Hal, not just Burt or not just Hal. I was happy that it was the two of us together. I thought he was — and he was — the best stuntman that ever lived. Knowing Hal, he not only was amazing in so many ways, but he had a tremendous ego, which I loved.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Director Hal Needham, winner of an Honorary Award, departs the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) [Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]Reynolds goes on to speak fondly of his late friend who died in 2013 at the age of 82, also sharing that they never fought, that the two never felt a competitiveness between each other, and that they were “two guys that thought that the other one was great and at the same time we were happy just to have a mirror there.”

When asked about whether he misses his pal, Burt responded, “Oh, all the time. Yes.”

[Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW]