Getty Images / Mike Windle

This Is The Michigan Fact Burt Reynolds Lied About Most Of His Life

For years Reynolds claimed Georgia as home

September 06, 2018 - 5:31 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - Lansing's most famous son? Perhaps not, but Burt Reynolds did finally claim the Michigan capital as his own late in life. 

Reynolds, the handsome film and television star known for his acclaimed performances in "Deliverance" and "Boogie Nights," commercial hits such as "Smokey and the Bandit" and for an active off-screen love life which included relationships with Loni Anderson and Sally Field, died at age 82 on Thursday.

For years, the actor was uniquely associated with the South, mostly of his own doing. 

With a population boosting almost 15,000 residents, Waycross, Georgia -- the northern tip of the Okefenokee Swamp Wildlife Refuge -- is billed as an area filled with Southern hospitality, charm and allegedly Burt Reynolds. 

A Wikipedia feud between a Waycross, Georgia man and a Michigan man led archivist David Votta to do a little digging into the roots of the popular film and TV actor.

Property records show his family living in Lansing, Michigan when he was born in 1936.

And a history blog was born for Votta.

He says that Reynolds' autobiography says he moved to Florida from Lansing when he was five years old and "in his words, he 'grew up a Southern boy and he didn't want to be a Yankee,' and with the movies that he was making in the 70s and early 80s, a lot of them had a location of the South and I think that it just tied in well to the audience he was making the films for if he actually was who he was portraying he was."

Why Waycross?

"He said that it sounded good to him ... and that's actually in one of his movies, that is the location where the movie takes place."

His father, Milo, was in the automotive industry and his mother, Fern, worked at a hospital but was also at home, according to Votta. 

He lived on DeNora Street  -- less than a mile from the Lansing State Capitol. 

Now that he has admitted where he's from, laughs Votta, the city may recognize him in some way. 

"But that he owned Lansing as ... the place where he was born. He did that just a few years ago."