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Burt Reynolds on the true love of his life and how new role hits close to home

With a long and storied career, Burt Reynolds is one of Hollywood's most enduring stars. Over the years he's made dozens of films (including "Deliverance" and "Boogie Nights") and had romantic scenes with dozens of ladies.

But if you ask him today to single out the love of his life, he doesn't have to reflect. There's just one name that comes to mind, and she's one of his former co-stars.

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Burt Reynolds on 'The Last Movie Star' and the true love of his life

Play Video - 6:23

Burt Reynolds on 'The Last Movie Star' and the true love of his life

Play Video - 6:23

"Sally," he told TODAY's Hoda Kotb Thursday during a visit to promote his new movie, "The Last Movie Star."

He was referring to Sally Field, his co-star in "Smokey and the Bandit" whom he dated for five years after the two met on the set of the 1977 film.

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So much fun, they made another one! Burt Reynolds and Sally Fielnd in "Smokey and the Bandit II," from 1980.

As he explained, he fought to get the wholesome "Gidget" star cast in the film.

"I wanted her really bad for 'Smokey,' and they said, 'Well, she's not sexy.' And I said, 'You don't get it, talent is sexy.' And she's got that."

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Flashback! Watch Sally Field talk about Burt Reynolds in 1980

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Flashback! Watch Sally Field talk about Burt Reynolds in 1980

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Despite his success — Reynolds has an Oscar nomination and multiple Golden Globes — Reynolds revealed that his father didn't approve of his career choice.

"He wasn't happy," Reynolds said of his police chief dad.

"I even gave him straight lines, like, 'What did you think of the last picture, Dad?' He went, 'What picture?' It was an ouch, yeah."

A24 / Lionsgate
Reynolds has a drink with the younger generation: Ariel Winter, in "The Last Movie Star."

Nevertheless, Reynolds forged forward with his memorable performances (and infamous Cosmopolitan nude spread in 1972). So, should a film ever be made of his life, who does he think should play him?

"George Clooney," said Reynolds immediately. "Why not? He's not quite as good looking as me, but he's still got a lot of other things."

"The Last Movie Star" opens in theaters on March 30.

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