Songwriter Bob McDill actually wrote a few different versions of the song. One made reference to Clint Eastwood. The version he played for Don highlighted Williams’ pal Burt Reynolds, whose encouragement kept Don from quitting the “Dancekings” picture.
McDill also included Sally Field as part of the lyrics, too (“If you see Burt Reynolds, would you shake his hand for me/And tell Sally Field I’ve seen all her movies”). Bob took the Sally Field reference out because Burt was a friend and he and Sally Field had just broken up.
McDill thought that might make for an awkward situation, so he simply put Burt Reynolds in there twice (changing “Sally Field” to “Ol’ Burt”).
“If Hollywood Don’t Need You” debuted at #71, higher than any other new entry for the week of December 11, 1982. A little less than three months later, on March 5, 1983, the song received top billing on Billboard’s country singles chart, scoring the 13th of Don Williams’ 17 number one singles.