From Sun Sentinel-- The estate where Burt Reynolds once entertained movie stars in Palm Beach County will become a development of million-dollar homes.
The 153-acre Jupiter Farms ranch was the spot where stars could be spotted as they came to film in scenes for “Smokey and the Bandit II,” “B.L. Stryker” and “Striptease.” He married actress Loni Anderson in a chapel on the property in 1988, as television helicopters buzzed overhead.
When things were quiet, Reynolds let the kids play on his farm, ride their horses there and otherwise just have fun on the immense farm. He let locals use the property for bake sales and other events to raise money for their clubs and organizations.
“He had some sort of church there and studios. He had a horse track, and in the back there were deer, too. They were his pets,” said Veronica Bellew, whose parents ran a country store north of Reynolds’ farm. Reynolds also built an 18-crypt mausoleum near his mansion.
The property, rumored to have once been Al Capone’s hideout, is being developed into 30 lots with homes selling from $1 million to $1.5 million. Owners will be allowed to have horse stalls on their lots and ride on trails through the property, according to reports.
While Reynolds was in bankruptcy in 1999, the ranch was sold to the Palm Beach County School District, which planned to build a middle school there. When the district determined there would not be enough residents to justify the school, it sold to New Jersey-based developer K. Hovnanian Homes for $5 million.
On Thursday, Reynolds was taken to Jupiter Medical Center when a man called from Reynolds’ home saying the actor was having difficulty breathing and had chest pains, the Daily News reported. He died at the hospital.
Bellew said about all that remains of the time Reynolds lived on the farm is the Town & Country Feed & Supply, which Reynolds owned and is now run by his nephew Ritchey Brown and his family.
As for Reynolds, “his presence will always be here, he helped all the people. Everybody loved him,” Bellew said. “He was a very nice person. Just like in the movies. But it wasn’t acting.”