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|Also Known As:||Charles Robert Redford Jr.||Died:|
|Born:||August 18, 1936||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Santa Monica, California, USA||Profession:||actor, director, producer|
Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY
ry Levinson's entrancing baseball fantasy "The Natural" (1984), with Redford as a former golden boy player who returns to the majors to give hope to a struggling team; and Sydney Pollack's sweeping, Oscar-winning period romance "Out of Africa" (1985), with Redford as a big-game hunter in Africa who romances Danish author Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep). Less successful were Ivan Reitman's comedy "Legal Eagles" (1985), which foundered at the box office and arrived on syndicated television with a completely different ending, and Redford's sophomore directorial effort, "The Milagro Beanfield War" (1988), which earned mixed reviews and middling box office returns. The 1990s saw Redford balancing acting with behind-the-camera work on a regular basis, as well as maintaining his growing Sundance empire. "Havana" (1990) was a period drama with Redford as an American gambler who is drawn into the Cuban revolution of 1960, while "Sneakers" (1992) was an entertaining comedy/drama with Redford as the leader of a team of rogue security operatives who tangle with nefarious government types. "Indecent Proposal" (1993), directed by Adrian Lyne, featured Redford as an amoral millionaire who offers a money-strapped couple...
ry Levinson's entrancing baseball fantasy "The Natural" (1984), with Redford as a former golden boy player who returns to the majors to give hope to a struggling team; and Sydney Pollack's sweeping, Oscar-winning period romance "Out of Africa" (1985), with Redford as a big-game hunter in Africa who romances Danish author Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep). Less successful were Ivan Reitman's comedy "Legal Eagles" (1985), which foundered at the box office and arrived on syndicated television with a completely different ending, and Redford's sophomore directorial effort, "The Milagro Beanfield War" (1988), which earned mixed reviews and middling box office returns.
The 1990s saw Redford balancing acting with behind-the-camera work on a regular basis, as well as maintaining his growing Sundance empire. "Havana" (1990) was a period drama with Redford as an American gambler who is drawn into the Cuban revolution of 1960, while "Sneakers" (1992) was an entertaining comedy/drama with Redford as the leader of a team of rogue security operatives who tangle with nefarious government types. "Indecent Proposal" (1993), directed by Adrian Lyne, featured Redford as an amoral millionaire who offers a money-strapped couple (Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson) a fortune if he can sleep with the wife for one night. "Up Close and Personal" (1996) was a glossy and fictionalized take on the life of news reporter Jessica Savitch with a script by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne.
Redford's efforts as director and producer during this period were more rewarding to audiences and to his own career. Redford directed, produced, and narrated "A River Runs Through It" (1992) a moving period drama about two young men (Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer) coming of age during the first World War and Great Depression. Exceptionally well performed by its cast, it earned an Oscar for Best Cinematography, as well as a director nomination for Redford. He followed this with "Quiz Show" (1994), a fascinating drama about the participants in the infamous cheating scandal that rocked the TV game show boom of the 1950s. Though the film struggled to find a substantial audience, it was lauded for its dramatic quality and received four Oscar nominations, including Best Director for Redford and Best Adapted screenplay for Paul Attanasio. And 1998's "The Horse Whisperer" marked the first time Redford directed, produced and starred in the same picture. The film, about a horse trainer (Redford) who helps a young rider (Scarlett Johansson) recover from a traumatic injury, received mixed reviews but scored major ticket sales. Redford also served as producer for numerous independent features during the 1990s, including Michael Apted's documentary "Incident at Oglala" (1992), which he also narrated; Edward Burns' "She's the One" (1996); the HBO Native American series "Grand Avenue" (1996); and "Slums of Beverly Hills" (1998). The '90s also saw him bring home a flurry of awards, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1994 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 1996.
Redford's next directorial effort, "The Legend of Bagger Vance" (2000), starred Will Smith as a mystical golf caddy who aides a struggling duffer (Matt Damon) to recover his game and his self-confidence. The film performed well at the box office, due mainly to its two leads' star appeal, but received middling reviews. Redford himself made film appearances in Tony Scott's action hit "Spy Game" (2001) and "The Last Castle" (2001). More successful was "The Motorcycle Diaries" (2004), which Redford produced, as well as several TV-movie adaptations of Tony Hillerman's Native American mysteries, including "Skinwalkers" (2002), "Coyote Waits" (2003), and "A Thief of Time" (2004), which aired on PBS. For his numerous contributions to independent cinema, Redford was given an honorary Oscar in 2002. In 2005, Redford was honored alongside Tony Bennett, actress Julie Harris, and Tina Turner by the Kennedy Center.
Redford's turns as a leading man continued into the 21st century. The well-received thriller "The Clearing" (2004) barely saw a theatrical release, and while Lasse Hallstrom's "An Unfinished Life" gave Redford a plum role as a cantankerous rancher who is forced to reconcile with his daughter-in-law (Jennifer Lopez), the film vanished at the box office due to the restructuring of its distributor, Miramax. He later lent his gravelly tones to the horse Ike in the live-action/CGI remake of "Charlotte's Web" (2006) and returned to directing with the politically-charged drama "Lions for Lambs" (2007), co-starring Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise (who also produced under his new shingle at United Artists). Redford worked both sides of the camera in the sociopolitical drama "The Company You Keep" (2013), directing a script by Lem Dobbs and starring as a former member of a 1960s radical group in hiding whose new identity is threatened with exposure by a young investigative journalist (Shia LeBeouf). He followed that with the claustrophobic "All Is Lost" (2013), in which he played an unnamed man whose solo ocean voyage becomes a fight for survival. Dipping a toe into the blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe, Redford appeared in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014) as Alexander Pierce. His next leading role came opposite Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson in a film adaptation of Bill Bryson's memoir about walking the Appalachian Trail, "A Walk in the Woods" (2015).
We Were" reunited him with Pollack for a tear-jerking period romance between WASPy collegian Redford and a political activist (Barbra Streisand). The film yielded a massive chart hit with Streisand's theme song, and set a new standard for Hollywood romances to follow. Redford then paired again with Hill and Newman for "The Sting," a sparkling caper comedy about two con men who aspire to fleece a mob boss (Robert Shaw). The picture pulled in $160 million at the box office and gave Redford his sole Oscar nomination for acting.
After a slight stumble as Jay Gatsby in Jack Clayton's flawed "The Great Gatsby" (1974) and as a barnstorming trick pilot in George Roy Hill's "The Great Waldo Pepper" (1975), Redford enjoyed a second two-fer of hits with spy thriller "Three Days of the Condor" (1975) and era-defining political drama "All the President's Men" (1976). The latter film earned several Academy Awards and yielded a substantial hit for Redford's production company, Wildwood Films. After a supporting role in Richard Attenborough's massive, all-star World War II drama "A Bridge Too Far" (1977), Redford ended the 1970s on a high note with Sydney Pollack's "The Electric Horseman" (1979), an engaging hit about a failed rodeo champion searching for dignity.
Redford made his directorial debut in 1980 with "Ordinary People," a gripping drama about a family struggling to come to grips with their son's depression and guilt over the death of a sibling. Redford drew remarkable performances from his cast, especially Mary Tyler Moore as a brittle grieving mother, and earned an Oscar for Best Director. The following year, he founded The Sundance Institute, a non-profit organization built to assist aspiring filmmakers and theater artists in developing their talent. Located in Park City, UT, near where he had maintained a home since the early '60s, Redford soon expanded the institute's influence to the Utah/U.S. Film Festival, which was transformed into the Sundance Film Festival in 1985 and became one of the leading film events for independent filmmakers in America. A cable channel and chain of theaters bearing the Sundance brand were launched in 1996 and 2005, respectively.
Redford continued to act throughout the 1980s, though the quality of his pictures waxed and waned throughout the decade. Hits included "Brubaker" (1980), a tough drama about a prison warden who impersonates an inmate to investigate the conditions in his own facility; Bar
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"Bob is a minimalist, he withholds, he never seduces his audience but makes them come to him."---film director Sydney Pollack to Los Angeles Times December 9, 1990
Redford on his transition from sports to art while in college: "It had to do with defining a lot of emotional stuff that was never formed right. For some people it's therapy. Maybe it is for all of us. For me it was anger and finding a place to put my disappointment and frustration with a lot of things. I was a mess. I was somewhat in trouble socially. I lost my (basketball) scholarship pretty quick after I discovered drinking. When I left (college) and got into art, that got me out ... finding my place in the world had a lot to do with acting."---Redford quoted in Los Angeles Times December 9, 1990
He received an honorary LHD from the University of Colorado (1987).
He was honored with the 1996 National Medal of Freedom from the National Endowment for the Arts.
"Hollywood is a formula industry. It's all about business and profit, and that's why they're always looking at a formula for guaranteed success. You can't make $100 million on a small black-and-white love story or anything that tells about our lives and the diversity out there."---Robert Redford quoted in USA Today, May 8, 1995
"It's become harder and harder each year to maintain our course, because of the overpowering force -- what I would call the more external factors -- like celebrity, fashion, and the media's obsessions with who is there and whether people are wearing black," Redford on Sundance indieWIRE January 26, 2001
"Everyone in Tinseltown is getting pinched, lifted and pulled. For many it's become a sick obsession. They lose some of their soul when they go under the knife and end up looking body snatched. People should preserve their time in history. I'm happy to make the best of what I've got."---Redford to US January 2002
"Celebrity is a big part of the American social system. I'm certainly grateful for what it's done for me, but I do think that celebrity is overdone in our society. I think it's got a dangerous side to it. I think that people should be paying a lot more attention to other issues, rather than who's the top 10 this or... who's the sexiest or the most beautiful."---Redford to NPR September 9, 2003
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