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Robert Redford Biography

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Robert Redford
Robert Redford
Santa Monica, California

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Robert Redford Biography

Born on August 18, 1936, in Santa Monica, California, to Charles Robert Redford, an accountant for Standard Oil, and Martha Hart. His mother died in 1955, the year after he graduated from high school. Charles Robert Redford Jr. was a scrappy kid who stole hubcaps in high school and lost his college baseball scholarship at the University of Colorado because of drunkenness. After studying at the Pratt Institute of Art and living the painter's life in Europe, he studied acting in New York at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Lola Redford Van Wagenen (consumer activist), born in 1940, dropped out of college to marry Redford on September 12, 1958. They divorced in 1985 after having four children, one of whom died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Daughter Shauna Redford, born November 15, 1960, is a painter who married Eric Schlosser on October 5, 1985, in Provo, UT. Her first child, born in January 1991, made Redford a grandfather. Son James Redford AKA Jamie Redford, a screenwriter, was born May 5, 1962. Daughter Amy Redford, an actress; was born October 22, 1970. Redford also has a brother named William.

Television and stage experience coupled with all-American good looks led to movies and television roles. His breakthrough role was the Sundance Kid in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), when the actor was 32. The Way We Were (1973) and The Sting (1973), both in 1973, made Redford the number one box office star for the next three years. Redford used his clout to advance environmental causes and his riches to acquire Utah property, which he transformed into a ranch and the Sundance ski resort. In 1980 he established the Sundance Institute for aspiring filmmakers. Its annual film festival has become one of the world's most influential. Redford's directorial debut, Ordinary People (1980), won him the Academy Award as Best Director in 1981. He waited eight years before getting behind the camera again, this time for the screen version of John Nichols' acclaimed novel of the Southwest, The Milagro Beanfield War (1988). He scored with critics and fans in 1992 with the Brad Pitt film A River Runs Through It (1992), and again, in 1994, with Quiz Show (1994), which earned him yet another Best Director nomination.


Robert Redford Trivia

Ranked #29 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#4). [1995]

Father of Shauna Redford, Amy Redford, and James Redford.

Dating German painter Sibylle Szaggars. [1999-present]

Was considered for the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972).

Named an Officer of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Left-handed.

Mentioned in the theme song of the 1980s TV hit "The Fall Guy" (1981).

Turned down the role of Ben Braddock in The Graduate (1967) because he didn't feel he could project the right amount of naivite.

In the early 1970s, Paramount had plans that were unrealized to remake Double Indemnity (1944) with Redford in the Fred MacMurray role.

Graduated from Van Nuys High School (Los Angeles) in 1954.

Is a national member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

Was a pitcher on the University of Colorado baseball team in the mid-50s.

Has done eleven period pieces including the hits: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), The Sting (1973), The Natural (1984) and Out of Africa (1985).

He is the founder of the Sundance Film Festival, which he named after his character from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

He and baseball pitcher Don Drysdale were in the same high school graduating class.

Has appeared in seven movies dealing with adultery in some form or another: The Way We Were (1973), The Great Gatsby (1974), Out of Africa (1985), Havana (1990/I), Indecent Proposal (1993), The Horse Whisperer (1998), and The Clearing (2004).

In addition to being the graduation speaker for Bard College's 144th Commencement (class of 2004), he also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the college.

Was given a fishing rod in lieu of the agreed $75 payment for his first professional acting appearance, on a TV game show.

He was voted the 30th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

Alumni of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA).

Is of mostly Irish descent

Was originally attached to The Verdict (1982), but dropped out prior to production. The role of Frank Galvin was taken over by his friend Paul Newman, who won an Oscar nomination.

After his suggestions of Warren Beatty, Alain Delon and Burt Reynolds to play the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972) were rejected by Francis Ford Coppola, Paramount production chief Robert Evans suggested Redford. When Coppola demurred, preferring his first choice of Tony Awar-winning Broadway actor Al Pacino, Evans explained that Redford could fit the role as he could be perceived as "northern Italian." Evans lost the struggle, Pacino was cast and a star was born.

Dislikes watching his own films. The only film in which he was completely satisfied with his own performance was The Sting (1973).

Premiere Magazine ranked him as #17 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).

He is an environmental conservationist and often advocates and supports natural causes.

Along with Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Richard Attenborough and Kevin Costner one of six people to win and Academy Award for Best Director, though they are mainly known as actors.

Attended Van Nuys High School at the same time as Natalie Wood, who was already a star. Later in life, they starred together in Inside Daisy Clover (1965) and became good friends.

Recipient of the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors. Other recipients were Tina Turner, Tony Bennett, Suzanne Farrell, and Julie Harris.

He was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1996 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.

His performance as the Sundance Kid in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) is ranked #20 on the American Film Institute's 100 Heroes & Villains. This is a ranking he shares with Paul Newman, who portrayed Butch Cassidy.

His performance as Bob Woodward in All the President's Men (1976) is ranked #27 on the American Film Institute's 100 Heroes & Villains. This is a ranking he shares with Dustin Hoffman, who portrayed Carl Bernstein.

In Germany he shares his dubbing voice with Patrick Stewart and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Considered a U.S. Senate run from Utah in the 1970s.

He often did his own stunts in action sequences, but then paid the stunt guild accordingly, so as not to put anyone out of work.

Turned down the leading roles in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Graduate (1967), Rosemary's Baby (1968), Love Story (1970) and The Day of the Jackal (1973).

He set up the Sundance Film Institute in Utah for independent filmmakers and in 1997 announced the creation of Sundance Cinemas, a venture with a major distributer to set up a chain of theaters for the screening of independent films. As of 2007, none of these theaters has been built.

He was awarded an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 2002 as the creator of Sundance, inspiration to independent and innovative filmmakers everywhere.

Lifelong friends with Sydney Pollack both men having made their feature film acting debuts in War Hunt (1962).

In 1960 he spent his last $500 on two acres of land in Utah, an investment that would ultimately grow to 5,000 acres becoming home to his Sundance Institute. Founded by Redford in 1969, Sundance is located at the base of Utah's picturesque Mt. Timpanogos.

Turned down the role in "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" (1969).




 
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