NEW: Burt Reynolds remembered for putting Jupiter ‘on the map’

Jonathan Lloyd recalled the excitement of once skipping to school watch Burt Reynolds and the cast of the movie “Smokey and the Bandit II” film a bridge scene along in Jupiter. 

But it was less formal settings around town where Reynolds made some of the biggest impressions on Lloyd, a fourth-generation Jupiter resident.

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Burt Reynolds in Palm Beach County

“It was nothing for us to see him in the grocery store,” Lloyd said. “It was nothing for us to see him at a traffic light, walking on the beach when there were still double roads. He was a part of our community.”

Lloyd and dozens and others gathered at Burt Reynolds Park in Jupiter Thursday evening to pay tribute to the Reynolds, the hometown movie star who died Thursday. More than 30 people gathered at the park, lighting candles and observing a moment of silence. They shared stories ranging from casual to professional encounters with Reynolds.  

RELATED: Celebrities react to death of iconic actor Burt Reynolds

Lloyd said Reynolds’ success helped put the town of Jupiter on the map. 

“When you were out on vacation and people asked you where you were from and you said ‘Jupiter, Florida,’ they would say ‘That’s where Burt Reynolds lives,” he said. “It kind of put this town on the map.” 

Sam Normandale brought a special souvenir, a hat he said was once given to him and his sons by Reynolds from one of Reynolds’ performances. Normandale, 91, worked for 15 years building sets and scenery for shows at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater. Normandale helped build the set for a performance of the ‘Rainmaker’ by Reynolds and actress Sally Field.

READ MORE: Burt Reynolds stories, photos and videos 

“He was great a person,” Normandale said. “He appreciated a good job done.  This hat, he said to my son, Steve, ‘Here’s my hat for doing a good job.’”  

Normandale’s one disappointment?

“He didn’t sign it,” he said with a laugh.

Debra Flannery, of Jupiter, said she met Reynolds after a attending a local audition in 1989 for the television game show “Win, Lose or Draw.” Flannery said she was one of the last contestants cut from the episode, which she mentioned to Reynolds while getting her picture taken with the actor. 

 For her troubles, Reynolds have her a $100 bill, Flannery recalled. 

“He very kind and gracious,” she said. “That’s the only words I can say, (he was) a genuine man. And his laugh was definitely contagious. I was a fan ever since.” 


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