Burt Reynolds was known for his good looks, charisma, and acting talent. However, the Hollywood icon also had his share of regrets. For example, he passed on the opportunity to play James Bond and took a now-infamous centerfold picture for Cosmopolitan that he later regretted. But perhaps his biggest regret occurred in 1957, when he missed the chance to date screen siren Greta Garbo.
Meeting Greta Garbo
Reynolds was a struggling 21-year-old actor when he was cast in the Broadway revival of Mister Roberts, which starred Charlton Heston. During this time, playwright William Inge invited Reynolds to a party where he met the stunning Garbo. Reynolds didn't notice when Inge introduced him to the actress, as he was too distracted by her bright yellow silk blouse and the fact that she was wearing nothing underneath.
As Reynolds conversed with Garbo throughout the night, she seemed interested in getting to know him better. She followed him around the party, asked him to make her a cocktail, and even asked him to share his life story. When it was time to leave, Garbo offered to go home with him. However, Reynolds was too bashful and turned her down, instead opting to go back to his hotel alone.
Reynolds would go on to tell this story for many years, often sharing how he didn't realize who Garbo was until the following day. In his memoir, he shared that Inge brought up the incident when they ran into each other at MGM studios a decade later. Garbo even wrote Reynolds a letter, confirming his fears that he had missed out on a great opportunity. Reynolds admitted to the missed opportunity until his death in 2018.
Reynolds could have had a great story to tell if he had taken up Garbo's offer to accompany her home. Unfortunately, he let his bashfulness get in the way of what could have been a wonderful experience.