During AOL’s What To Watch session at SXSW now, four decades later, former hairy heartthrob Burt Reynolds says he regrets posing for the 1972 Cosmopolitan nearly nude centerfold that sold over 1.5 million copies and helped cement both Cosmo and Reynolds’ name in popular culture. (And also became masturbation fodder for generations of gay men and women. Don’t be a prude. You know its true.)
Reynolds revealed that he thinks he did the naked shoot because he didn’t want people to think he was afraid to do it. “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.”
On the way to the photo shoot, I stopped for two quarts of vodka and finished one before we got to the studio, which was freezing cold (bad for a naked man’s self-esteem).
The famed Francesco Scavullo photographed me on a bearskin rug. He took hundreds of shots: with a hat in front of my … tallywacker, with a dog in front of it, with my hand in front of it. (If I was trying to prove something, why would I cover it up with my hand? I have very small hands.) They promised to burn the outtakes and give me the negatives
Reynolds was the first male nude “legitimate” centerfold in publishing.
It wasn’t until later that Reynolds found out that Helen Gurley Brown, the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan and author of the best-selling book Sex and the Single Girl had asked Paul Newman to do it first.