“But Enough About Me …,” Burt Reynolds’ new memoir, kicks a little dirt on the image of Roseville’s Loni Anderson by noting her lavish spending habits.
I called LA to get a comment Wednesday from Anderson, but she has not gotten back to me. It’s possible she’ll say nothing because she’s happy in her marriage to Bob Flick, of the Brothers Four fame. But I’m hoping she’s saving her powder — and could she blow off some toupees! — for “Entertainment Tonight.”
In an interview with “ET,” Reynolds claimed this ex-wife spent money so voraciously she could’ve sent Aristotle Onassis into bankruptcy. “I really couldn’t afford her,” said Reynolds. He claims Anderson maxed out a credit card with a $45,000 limit in less than one hour. When she said she was going shopping, Reynolds said he wondered how he should occupy himself for the next day or two. He also told Lara Spencer on “Good Morning America” that as Anderson was walking down the aisle to get married, his mom was shaking her head no. “And I thought, ‘I don’t remember my mother ever being wrong.’ What should I do? It was a little too late.”
I was able to reach Anderson’s first ex-husband, Bruce Hasselberg, who was so smitten with lovely Loni he proposed on their first date. He was a real estate broker during their marriage. On Wednesday, he was taking his mother, Phyllis Hasselberg, to the dentist. I met Phyllis in 2008 — at her 90th birthday party, also attended by Anderson.
Bruce said he sees Loni regularly, “because we have a daughter, Deidra. You met her. Deidra is kind of retired right now, forcibly, because she came down with MS. They retired her as superintendent of schools in Redding, Calif., and put her on disability for life.”
Hasselberg said that when Deidra invited him to have Thanksgiving dinner years ago with her mom and Reynolds in Los Angeles, he got a little insight into their lifestyle. “She and Burt had rented a mansion for about $22,000 a month,” he said. It was awkward, he said, though he enjoyed spending time with their son, Quinton. “I saw the tennis court had a bunch of toys in it and I said, ‘Quinton, would you like to go down and play?’ He said Sure. I said, ‘Boy, you sure have a lot of toys’ and he said, I have two of everything, with this big smile on his face. Then Loni took me on a tour of the house and he had two big giant closets with his clothes. They still had the tags on them.”
Hasselberg said he’s thinking about writing a book about “the strange life I’ve had. Of course, a big part of it is a chapter or two about Loni. I’ll give you a little preview of what’s going to be in my book. Of course, [Reynolds] was at my daughter’s wedding. He wore 4-inch heels,” he said. He said that was because Anderson always described her first husband as “just a tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed hunk. And, of course, if you’re a little guy like Burt Reynolds, 5-6, 5-7 or whatever he is, that’s the last thing you want to hear about the ex-husband.”
Hasselberg shared a story that doesn’t make Anderson seem like she was taking every dime she could get. “I get this telephone call from her, she said, Bruce would you stop sending the child support! I’m making $30,000 a week on ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ and my accountant says it’s messing up the books. I said all right,” he laughed.
Singin’ it loud
Bruce Hasselberg said he’s singing again many years after being discouraged by Loni Anderson.
“When Loni and I eloped and [returned] from our honeymoon, I took her to church and she broke out laughing at my voice and I didn’t sing for over 50 years,” he said.
She didn’t like your voice?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I sing kind of tenor and loud, and I’ve always done that in church.”
After his fiancée Barbara Howard died of cancer in 2013, he said he needed a diversion, and he sang at a karaoke bar where he was told he sounded like Frank Sinatra, Elvis and George Strait. Hasselberg now sings karaoke four nights a week, including Friday at the American Legion in Wayzata and Saturday at the Park Tavern in St. Louis Park.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org (when it’s working) and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show” and “Buzz.” E-mailers should leave a number while my e-mail is malfunctioning.