Thursday’s ‘Rome Remembers Burt’ is both a tribute to the late actor who was here last year for the film festival and a prelude to 2018 event set for Nov. 1-4.

Thursday’s ‘Rome Remembers Burt’ is both a tribute to the late actor who was here last year for the film festival and a prelude to 2018 event set for Nov. 1-4.

Elvis Presley had a love of jelly doughnuts. But what was one of the late Burt Reynolds’ favorite indulgences? It also included jelly — pineapple jelly — and peanut butter (Jif, by the way).

Burt’s only request during his stay at the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham during last year’s Rome International Film Festival was his preferred peanut spread with fruity jelly. He was in town to help commemorate the 40th anniversary of Smokey and the Bandit as part of the film festival, and made plenty of friends while here.

Gay Nichols, the manager of Hawthorn Suites, says she and the festival’s Seth Ingram became such great friends with the actor that they were invited to his private celebration of life ceremony last weekend in North Palm Beach, a gathering attended by around 80 people, all of whom heard from Loni Anderson, one of Burt’s ex-wives, and their son,  Quinton; former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden; retired quarterback Doug Flutie; and Burt’s college teammate and roommate, ESPN’s Lee Corso.

The movie and TV actor — also known for Deliverance and Boogie Nights, died suddenly at age 82 on Sept. 6.

The service and Burt’s time here inspired them to make Thursday evening’s kickoff of the 2018 festival at the Hawthorn’s Off Broad lounge extra special by serving peanut butter sandwiches, PayDay candy bars (another of his favorites) and a glass of wine for $8 with proceeds going to the film festival. Ingram also will announce the festival’s VIP guest for this year. Admission is $10 per person.

The event begins at 6 p.m. and guests are invited to bring any memorabilia that Burt signed during his 2017 visit. All will be on display during and after the RIFF announcement.  Two of  his movies also will be screened as well as the playing of the audio version of his recent book — read by Burt himself.

Thursday’s celebration helps begin the countdown to the 15th edition of the film festival, this year set for Nov. 1-4. The schedule for the evening, hosted by Ira and Libby Levy, includes:

6 p.m. Bring your Burt memorabilia and memories to share.

7 p.m.  RIFF media conference and program announcement.

7:30 p.m. Burt’s movies and refreshments

For more: RomeRemembersBurt

The film festival this year runs from Thursday through Sunday, including films on all four days, a VIP party and various workshops. For more:  RIFF

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