In an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly, Burt Reynolds opens up about turning 80 — and shared his true feelings about the milestone birthday!

“I’m happy about turning 80,” Burt exclusively tells Closer about his upcoming birthday on Feb. 11, adding, with typically disarming wit, “because the alternative is pretty grim!”

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Burt will mark the occasion with a pair of parties near his home in Jupiter, Fla. An insider tells Closer that the guest list won’t feature many celebs but will include Burt’s girlfriend, Rhonda Stearns, and his buddies he goes to lunch with every week.

burt reynolds getty images

Burt in May 2015.

“One will be a quiet dinner party with a Western theme for about 50 people,” friend and filmmaker Suzanne Niedland, tells Closer of the star who appeared on 50 episodes of Gunsmoke.

“His second party will be with his acting students [from the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre] and local friends, with many of them providing an entertainment show for him,” Niedland adds.

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“I don’t feel my age. It’s just a number,” Burt admits to Closer.

“As long as his body is willing, he wants to continue acting until the day he dies,” an insider tells Closer. “Burt believes, despite his aches and pains, he still has a lot of living left to do.”

For the full interview with Burt Reynolds, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!