His new movie and new autobiography shows a different side to the former sitcom star

By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
July 15, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

It seems that living through an annus horribilis (a divorce, a mugging, a canceled series), has inspired Burt Reynolds to finally tell all in his autobiography, My Life (due in October from Hyperion). ”Twice I’ve taken million-dollar advances [from Putnam and Random House],” admits the former Evening Shade star, ”given them versions of Tom Sawyer Goes Bad, and they’ve said, ‘Where’s the dirt?’ This time, I’m not backing off th issues. This isn’t Shelley Winters’ All the Extras I’ve F—ed.” And Reynolds will continue his flirtation with the dark side in his next film, too. In The Maddening, a psychological thriller costarring Angie Dickinson, he plays the devil, a role the actor found, well, not exactly hellish. ”Comedy is the hardest thing,” he says. ”Killing people is easy. It’s a nice place to put your anger.”