Thursday, November 28, 2019


He said goodbye to the love of his life in 1994 and regretted it every day since ..

Every February, Burt Reynold an elderly man, grey and stooping, walked alone through Forest Lawns Cemetery, Palm Springs, California, and placed a wreath of roses on the grave of the woman he loved and lost.

Burt Reynolds outlived the love of his life, Dinah Shore by 24 years until his death in September of 2018, but he never forgot his true love.

They had met in 1970 when Burt Reynolds was 35 and Hollywood's most sought-after leading man. She was 53, now the grande dame of TV talk shows, cool, aloof and still hauntingly beautiful. Reynolds had burst into movies from college football and his dark macho looks made him the star of half a dozen big-earning Westerns and the dream lover of millions of women fans.

He had married and divorced TV Laugh-In star Judy Carne, and had well publicised affairs with Sally Field, Raquel Welch and tennis star Chris Evert. He was living with Japanese actress Miko Mayama and Hollywood rumour was that they would get married. But meeting Dinah Shore, as a guest on her TV chat-show, changed all that. "I had never met her before but out of the blue I asked her to come to Palm Springs for the weekend. She said no, but I knew it was the beginning of the most special relationship of my life.

"I'd never met anyone like her. I realised there was a big age gap between us but it didn't make the slightest difference. I was already in love with her."

"Being with Dinah opened every Hollywood door," Reynolds said. "I got to know Sinatra, Jack Benny, Edward G. Robinson, Groucho Marx, Peggy Lee, Orson Welles. Everyone knew Dinah and they all loved her."

After four years together, the happiness and closeness of Burt Reynolds and Dinah Shore had become Hollywood legend. "We dreamed of building a house in Hawaii. We couldn't have been more in love. But there was a snag. Dinah wouldn't marry me.

"She said it was because she couldn't give me children and it's true I wanted them badly. But we could have adopted. I knew it was more than that.

"Even so, Dinah had everything I ever wanted in a woman. And when I told her: 'I want to be with you for the rest of my life,' I really meant it. And yet a year later he was telling friends: "Breaking up with Dinah is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I knew it was time to get married or move on, and she refused to marry me."

During a tearful confrontation in 1975, Reynolds told Dinah Shore: "I will love you all my life. The hardest part is that I'm falling deeper in love with you every moment." Then he turned and walked away.

Reynolds cried for days afterwards. "A piece of me was lost. I missed the closeness and the friendship and to be truthful I've never stopped missing it ever since. Every time I picked up the phone I wanted to call her".

Burt Reynolds' desire for children made him marry glamorous Loni Anderson. They had a son, Quinton, but the marriage was soon in trouble and ended in a $10 million divorce.

Alone again, Burt Reynolds rang Dinah Shore hoping to get together again. But she refused to see him despite his pleading.

Finally, from a friend, he discovered her tragic secret — the reason why she had refused to marry him and why she now had broken off the relationship for good. Dinah Shore had terminal cancer. She died in 1994.

He never got to say goodbye to Dinah so for the rest of his life Burt would visit her grave, and now maybe they are together again...


  1. Hate that she died of terminal cancer, but: she lived almost 20 years after they broke off their relationship. She was a smart, classy lady and knew that a long-term relationship with a man 20 years her junior: was probably going to bring heartache. Sad. I think they really loved each other...

  2. Dinah was a very hip lady. Found this engaging story about when she visited CBGBs in New York to catch Iggy Pop.

  3. I remember a classic Burt Reynolds moment when he was guest hosting the Tonight show and as a guest he had his ex-wife, Laugh-In comedian Judy Carne. Durng the on air interview Judy made a somewhat snide remark alluding to his romance with Dinah shore, she commented how Burt "was now into older women." To which Burt quickly answered, "no not older just classier."

  4. I'm listening to Burt's autobiography, "But Enough About Me," and he contradicts a few things you've written here. The most important is that he broke it off with Dinah specifically BECAUSE she couldn't give him children. He said it was the biggest mistake of his life, and this was back when he was nearly 80 years old, so I'm sure he took that regret to his grave.

    He also says nothing about Dinah refusing to get back together with him because of her terminal cancer diagnosis.

  5. Warren William, a popular actor in the 1920s and 1930s, called “The King of the Pre-Code,” married a woman 17 years older than he was when he was 25. The marriage lasted until he died at age 53. His wife died shortly thereafter. Some men are comfortable with older women, but they have to be incredibly, incredibly secure. I’m sorry children broke up Reynolds and Shore’s relationship. I’m not sure what the allure of children is … I never particularly wanted any.

  6. By 1990 Dinah was 73 yo and probably had no desire for another relationship, she also may have already been diagnosed with cancer. Burt never had children anyway, he and conniving Loni adopted that son...In the 70s Dinah didn't have cancer, that's not why she refused to marry him...

  7. I saw Dinah's TV show when Burt was a guest; they were both smitten with each other as soon as they met. She never wanted anything from him but enjoying life with him. He could be with Dinah who just loved him and wasn't interested in getting anything else from him. They were fortunate to have found each other and could be together the few years they had.

  8. Great insight into the lives of two legends. Love is often tragic, but beautiful and pure.

  9. Dinah is buried at Hillside in Culver City, not in Palm Springs.

    1. Some of the ashes were interred in two memorial sites: the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California, and Forest Lawn Cemetery (Cathedral City). Other ashes went to relatives.

  10. I'm wondering if the Dinah Shore show in the 1970s was live or taped. I assume it was taped, so she could cut out anything she did not want people to know. Is this correct?

  11. I wonder how Miko Mayama felt to be dumped?

  12. See the USA in a chevrolet !

  13. It's sad as the reason why he broke it off Dinah was the "children factor" and Ironically he never had any that were of his own DNA ...the celebrating 25years of Burt being in Hollywood when he asks Dinah to come up and sing a song...the love that they had for each other was still so palpable...