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Burt Reynolds’ Boca Raton Connection

Burt Reynolds, on the left with a student at the April 6, 23rd Annual Student Showcase of Films Red Carpet Awards Show at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University in Boca Raton. Photo courtesy of Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission

Burt Reynolds was at Lynn University in Boca as usual on April 6th.  For the 23rd Annual Student Showcase of Films and Red Carpet Awards.

The actor chose the winning student films and presented their awards for 20 years. So his death in Jupiter on Thursday was a shock to Michelle Hillery, deputy film commissioner for the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission.

Reynolds didn’t just show up and present a trophy every year. He was involved with the process from day one, she said.

“We picked students up at their school in a limousine and he saw their films in a studio in his home and got to meet them,” she said.

At the April event, he was his old self, funny and gracious. He would laugh when a student said she couldn’t wait to tell her grandmother she met him. Reynolds was known for his good looks and classic films from “Smokey and the Bandits” to “Deliverance.”  

The commission isn’t sure what it will do to commemorate a man they considered a member of the family. It’s too soon to know. But they’ll do something.

“We owe it to this amazing man who did so much,” she said.

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