The entertainment world lost one of its most legendary stars when Burt Reynolds passed away last week at age 82. Over his six-decade career, the TV and film veteran crossed paths with a multitude of stars, but he seemed to have a special connection with both Leah Remini and Kevin James. The King of Queens stars both worked with Reynolds on multiple occasions and they remembered him with poignant tributes after his death.
In 2005, Reynolds was a guest star on The King of Queens episode “Hi, School,” playing IPS driver Doug Heffernan’s (Kevin James) former high school football coach, Coach Walcott. Both James and Remini shared scenes with the Hollywood superstar in the hilarious episode.
But more than a decade before that, Remini played a character named Daisy on three episodes of Reynolds’ CBS comedy, Evening Shade. Remini’s character was one of two young pregnant women who went to live with town doctor Harlan Eldridge (Charles Durning), the best friend of Reynolds’ Wood Newton.
In July 1993, CBS aired two parts of an hour-long pilot, Harlan & Merleen, as a proposed spin-off from Evening Shade, but the show didn’t get picked up as a series. Leah Remini later posted a behind the scenes photo from the failed sitcom project, asking fans if they recognized the famous face in the photo.
After Burt Reynolds’ death, Leah Remini paid tribute to him by thanking him for taking her under his wing when they first worked together more than 25 years ago.
Remini’s TV husband, Kevin James, also crossed paths with Reynolds more than once. In the “Hi, School” episode on The King of Queens, Reynolds was James’ biggest fan when he played Coach Walcott, a nostalgic high school football coach who replayed Doug Heffernan’s glory days at St. Gregory’s High School when Doug showed up at his alma mater to deliver a package.
Reynolds delivered one of the most memorable lines in the episode when he later told the former man on campus, “For God sakes, Heffernan, pull your pants up.”
After Reynolds’ death, Kevin James posted a still from the classic King of Queens episode to Instagram,writing, “We had a lot of laughs. What a legend. May God bless you and keep you. RIP. “
The following year, James worked with Reynolds in the 2006 movie, Grilled. James played a door-to-door meat salesman in the direct-to-video flick, while Reynolds played Goldbluth, a wealthy buyer.
But before The King of Queens and Grilled, James and Reynolds shared a table on the series Dinner for Five. The two stars sat at Jon Favreau’s roundtable in 2004 and chatted with Richard Lewis and Tony Shalhoub in the memorable episode of the IFC series.
You can see a clip featuring Kevin James and Burt Reynolds below.