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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

BURT REYNOLDS would no doubt give anything to return to the days when he was a fresh-faced sex symbol.

Anything including, it seems, large sums of money for plastic surgery.

The 1970s heartthrob appears to have had an extensive and expensive series of operations on his once-chiselled features.

But whether or not the result is an improvement is open to debate.

Reynolds, 69 next month, made his latest public appearance at the festivities surrounding this weekend's Superbowl event in Jacksonville, Florida. From a distance he looked in remarkable shape for his age. Close up, however, his appearance was less impressive.

'Burt's face has been pulled and stretched so much, it actually looks painful,' said one partygoer.

'His eyes looked incredibly tight and they appeared to be quite sunken. The eyebrows looked as if they were being pulled upwards by a piece of string.'

Plastic surgeon Alex Karidis, who regularly treats celebrity clients at his central London practice, said: 'The problem with Burt is that his skin has suffered an awful lot of sun damage, which has made it look crepey and lined.

'If a surgeon is trying to perform some sort of lift on sun-damaged skin they would have to work very carefully to avoid a bunching effect around the cheek area, which can happen when the patient has been overexposed to the sun. This is what appears to have happened in Burt's case.' Although the fact that he wears a wig is beyond dispute, Reynolds has always denied having . But he is thought to have undergone his first procedure - on his eyes - when he broke up with wife Loni Anderson in 1993, leading to a bitter and ruinous court battle.

According to Dr Karidis, he has probably spent at least [pounds sterling]20,000 on his appearance.

'It seems as if Burt has undergone a brow, mid-face and eye lift but the overall effect, coupled with his crepey skin, means he looks too stretched,' added the surgeon.

'He used to look cuddly and now, after all this work, he has a much harsher look to him.' Reynolds worked mainly as a TV actor until 1972, when his role in the film Deliverance established him as a star. He became the first male nude centrefold in Cosmopolitan magazine and over the next few years was Hollywood's biggest box-office attraction, starring in hits such as Hustle, and Smokey and the Bandit.

But his career began to decline following a 1984 jaw injury which left him addicted to painkillers - at one point he took 50 a day.

While struggling to beat his addiction - and beset by false rumours that his haggard appearance was the result of Aids - he starred in a series of flop films.

However, he made a successful comeback in the 1990s, in such films as Striptease and Boogie Nights.


A long-time wig wearer, Reynolds now prefers the natural cropped look, peppered with grey hairs

COST: [pounds sterling]1,000


Has brow lift helped remove telltale wrinkles?

COST: [pounds sterling]3,000


The actor appears to have undergone at least one upper and lower eye lift.

Excess skin is trimmed away, removing bags and wrinkles COST: [pounds sterling]5,000


Muscles under Reynolds's cheeks appear to have been lifted to tighten central part of face

COST: [pounds sterling]4,000


Skin and muscle apparently tightened in lower facelift to eradicate jowls COST: [pounds sterling]7,000

COPYRIGHT 2005 Solo Syndication Limited