Mystery surrounds the decision by Burt Reynolds, who died at age 82 in Florida, this month, to intentionally leave his son Quinton out of his will, a move revealed in court documents obtained by The Blast.
The will, which was dated October 2011, put his niece, Nancy Lee Brown Hess, in charge of the estate.
Hess made one of the few official statements on behalf of the family when Reynolds died, saying: “My uncle was not just a movie icon; he was a generous, passionate, and sensitive man who was dedicated to his family, friends, fans, and acting students.”
Reynolds only mentioned Quinton, 30, in the will, to say, “I intentionally omit him from this, my Last Will and Testament, as I have provided for him during my lifetime in my Declaration of Trust.”
The terms of that trust are unknown.
The deliberate exclusion of Quinton from the will has raised eyebrows as there is no suggestion that Reynolds had fallen out with his his son, who, according to heavy.com, eschews publicity, has no social-media accounts, and lives quietly in California, where he works in film.
In July, Reynolds told Closer Weekly: “He is my greatest achievement. He’s a wonderful young man and is now working as a camera assistant in Hollywood. He never asked for any help with his career, he did it all himself, and I’m so proud of him. I love him very much.”
Reynolds adopted Quinton at birth with his second wife, Loni Anderson, in 1988, shortly after they married. An adoption announcement was made in the The Palm Beach Post at the time.
The Deliverance star was 52 when he and Anderson adopted Quinton.
“Burt… asked me if at 52 he’ll be able to get used to the noise of a child. I told him it’s gradual,” Anderson told the New York Daily News.
According to Heavy, Reynolds and his son grew apart after Reynolds and Anderson divorced, and Quinton lived with his mother in California.
However Burt’s few comments about his son suggested that they had worked through their problems and were close.
“There’s nothing I can do about things that weren’t happy or good. I just try not to dwell on those. Regrets are not healthy—it’s best to try and let go of those things that can’t be changed. All of my experiences made me who I am today, and I’m grateful for the positive ones. I don’t think of my past as anything negative, and if it is negative, I’ve forgotten it,” Reynolds told Closer.
Reynolds and Anderson went through a famously nasty divorce, and when Quinton would travel to Florida to spend time with his dad, Anderson insisted that a nanny be on-hand, telling the San Francisco Chronicle in 1995: “I’m concerned about Burt’s erratic behavior.... Quinton is small and I want him to be protected.”