Robert Redford made his directorial debut with Ordinary People, earning an Oscar along the way. Since then, Redford has become a household name; using his influence for environmental causes while founding Sundance Institute to host an annual film festival for independent filmmakers.
Michael Feeney Callan interviewed the family and friends of an actor to create an insightful portrait. Additionally, he included literary quotations that capture their philosophy.
Robert Redford’s Biography
Charles Robert Redford Jr was born in Santa Monica on August 18th, 1937, and is widely considered one of the greatest actors of his generation. Known for his boyish good looks and diverse screen characterizations as well as his environmental and political causes commitment he established the Sundance Institute and Film Festival Utah in 1982.
At an early age, Redford studied art and traveled throughout Europe extensively. When he returned home he participated in several television dramas as an actor before working as a journalist, newsman, dancer, director, and producer (Ordinary People, The Candidate, and The Sting). Furthermore, he co-founded and became one of the key organizers of the Sundance Film Festival which has now become one of Hollywood’s premier events.
Redford has managed to sidestep becoming an “airhead” star during his long career, opting instead for challenging roles with complex characterizations. He first made waves as an actor with movies such as The Sting, Butch Cassidy, and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men; later becoming an accomplished director (winning an Academy Award for Ordinary People as his debut project).
Redford took eight years after Ordinary People was successful before returning behind the camera for more ambitious projects. He directed an adaptation of John Nichols’ novel of the Southwest, The Milagro Beanfield War (1988). Later came A River Runs Through It (1992), before concluding this trilogy of works with Quiz Show in 1994.
Redford’s directorial style is defined by long, deliberate takes and emotional disengagement from his subject matter to emphasize its irony. Recently he has made movies like The Conspirator (2010) about Mary Surratt’s involvement with Abraham Lincoln’s assassination attempt and Pete’s Dragon (2016); as well as appearing in an upcoming Netflix series called “The Trust”, which centers around an ex-bank robber and family man.
Redford is known for his many outside interests outside of acting, including environmental awareness and supporting AIDS research, having donated millions to charity. Additionally, he owns a ranch in Utah and regularly rides horses for hours each day at his ranch there; even being featured as the cover star in Esquire magazine in April 2013!
Robert Redford’s Acting Career
Robert Redford is a legend both on- and behind the camera. An adept portrayer, Redford has used his fame to promote environmental and political causes through screen acting roles ranging from diverse characters. Additionally, Redford founded Sundance Institute and Film Festival which helps young filmmakers advance their careers.
Redford first found success as an actor on stage during the early 1960s. He played various stage plays such as Tall Story and Neil Simon’s Broadway hit Barefoot in the Park; then made the transition to television dramas and comedy shows such as War Hunt in 1962; later receiving an Emmy nod for playing George Laurents on The Voice of Charlie Pont.
Redford quickly rose to star status in Hollywood due to his youthful good looks and natural charisma, earning him matinee idol status. Instead of trading on his sex appeal he sought more challenging projects such as Downhill Racer and Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here; also his roles in Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid (1969) and Jeremiah Johnson (1973) brought immense recognition and fame.
Redford then ventured into directing, making his Oscar-nominated directorial debut with Ordinary People (1980). Both critically and commercially successful, it marked Redford’s start on an extraordinary directing journey.
He would go on to direct an array of movies, from period dramas like A River Runs Through It and The Electric Horseman, to thrillers such as The Sting. Many of his works tackled serious subjects, with particular interest given to political leaders and freedom fighters as subject matter.
Redford has long been renowned for his environmental activism. For four decades, he has served on the Natural Resources Defense Council trustee board and played a crucial role in passing landmark environmental laws. Furthermore, Redford has spoken out against coal usage at power plants and created documentaries about environmental concerns.
Robert Redford’s Directing Career
Robert Redford has long demonstrated his versatility. Not only can he act, but also direct some truly impressive projects. Furthermore, Redford uses his fame to support various causes and charities through various charitable efforts; through which he founded his Sundance Institute: an up-and-coming filmmakers lab aimed at developing ideas into production films.
Redford made his directorial debut with Ordinary People (1980), an understated yet honest portrayal of an emotionally troubled upper-middle-class American family. Redford’s choice was risky considering he was best known as an action hero actor; yet, this choice proved fruitful as his directorial streak continued with A River Runs Through It (1992), A Spectator’s View (1994), and Quiz Show (also 1994).
Redford’s acting career continued to flourish in the 1970s and he earned an Academy Award nomination for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Three Days of the Condor was then produced by Sydney Pollack that year, then followed by another political drama All the President’s Men (1976).
Although he has maintained an active acting career throughout his career, he prefers directing. With nine films under his direction to date and critical acclaim from both critics and audiences alike for each project, National Parks Adventure (2016) allowed him to revisit some of his childhood playgrounds by narrating a documentary film that explores Yosemite National Park along with other American National Parks.
Redford stands apart from other actors by not simply resting on his laurels and basking in his success. Instead, he uses his wealth and clout to advance environmental causes while supporting independent filmmaking movements through Sundance Film Festival – helping recast Hollywood culture while opening opportunities for young filmmakers alike. At the same time, his personal life remains as private as ever.
Robert Redford is a Producer
Robert Redford was a legendary actor, producer, and director who is best known for his roles in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men as well as founding the Sundance Film Festival – one of the leading international film festivals today. Although noted for his leading-man looks and sexual appeal, Redford never relied solely on them to get ahead and instead sought challenging material that allowed him to showcase his range. He featured prominently in sports dramas and westerns like Downhill Racer while also appearing in political thrillers like The Sting and Three Days of Condor.
Redford made his directorial debut with Ordinary People (1980), earning critical acclaim and Mia Farrow her first Best Picture nomination. Two years later he returned to acting with Sydney Pollack’s rural family drama A River Runs Through It before earning a Best Director Oscar nomination with Quiz Show two years later. Redford continued honing both aspects of his craft in critically acclaimed movies Brubaker and Out of Africa featuring Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen’s autobiographical tale.
He has appeared in many romantic films, including Jane Fonda’s smash hit Barefoot in the Park and his directorial debut The Sting, both directed by him. Furthermore, he co-starred alongside Paul Newman in both the caper classic The Way We Were and the seductive thriller Indecent Proposal – two iconic works.
While some critics consider Redford’s later works to be in decline, others admire his ability to create films that tackle moral dilemmas and social issues with filmmaking that draws talented actors such as Meryl Streep – nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in The River Runs Through It.
Redford has since continued his acting and directing career with films like 2007’s Lions for Lambs and 2011’s The Conspirator (about Mary Surratt’s trial for Lincoln’s assassination) while being active as a producer with projects like Shia LaBeouf’s Company You Keep (with Julie Christie as co-star).