For nearly 50 years, Robert Redford wasn’t only a film star. He epitomised the entire shebang, the nice dream trade, with a hand in each side of movie from first draft to awards ceremony.
It appears indecent that one man might be so handsome, so gifted and so profitable.
And but the informal film-goer at present is more likely to know him just for his headline roles, in cowboy and gangster motion pictures resembling The Sting, then later in romances together with Out Of Africa.
Intensely non-public, and suspicious of the superficial razzmatazz that has at all times accompanied cinema, he way back relinquished field workplace superstardom to embrace the features of film-making that meant most to him — directing, operating the impartial Sundance film competition and supporting emergent administrators.
For nearly 50 years, Robert Redford (pictured proper with Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Child) wasn’t only a film star
Intensely non-public, and suspicious of the superficial razzmatazz that has at all times accompanied cinema, he way back relinquished field workplace superstardom to embrace the features of film-making that meant most to him — directing, operating the impartial Sundance film competition and supporting emergent administrators
Within the early Seventies, he was the largest star since Clark Gable — at a time when movie star obsession was nearly as intense as it’s at present.
William Goldman, who wrote Redford’s 1969 breakthrough movie, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Child, mentioned: ‘No star in my time has had such warmth targeted on him.’
A touch of mystical mumbo-jumbo adopted Redford round, as a result of he gave nothing away about himself.
His previous buddy and performing accomplice in two of his best hits, the late Paul Newman, as soon as mentioned: ‘I’ve recognized the person for over 40 years and I do not know him, not likely.’
His announcement yesterday, on the age of almost 82, that he’s to retire from performing after his newest film, The Outdated Man And The Gun, will trigger shockwaves throughout Hollywood.
Robert Redford in publicity portrait, 1963
But the profession of the person who as soon as had armies of followers queuing to swoon, and acclaiming him as probably the most stunning man alive, nearly stumbled at step one.
Steve McQueen, the star of Bullitt and The Nice Escape, had been invited to play Butch Cassidy, the sharp, sassy practice robber who finds himself on the run with a laconic and harmful sidekick, the Sundance Child.
Newman was to play Sundance. However the director determined to swap the roles, and McQueen threw a strop. Unable to have his favoured function, he refused to make the movie in any respect. At Newman’s urging, the studio agreed to rent Redford, although he had just one medium success to his title — Neil Simon’s comedy Barefoot In The Park, co-starring Jane Fonda.
The end result was dynamite. Newman and Redford lit up the display. However Redford had been making ready a very long time for this second, from his first TV bit-parts in serials Maverick and Perry Mason, in 1960.
He adopted Butch And Sundance with well-received motion pictures together with Inform Them Willie Boy Is Right here, taking part in a deputy sheriff, and The Candidate, the primary of his heavy-hitting political dramas.
However it was his reunion with Newman in The Sting that despatched his profession into the stratosphere. The duo performed wise-cracking conmen in Thirties Chicago, planning an elaborate ruse.
Robert Redford, Jane Fonda starring in Barefoot In The Park
If a lot of the viewers could not observe each twist of the plot, nobody cared. The celebs appeared as if they had been finest mates, having the time of their lives. In reality, Redford was struggling within the glare of stardom.
He tried to reside by a code of privateness so defensive it was nearly paranoid: Rule No.1: Settle for you’ll be handled like an object by individuals who do not know who you’re.
Rule No.2: Perceive it’s nearly unimaginable to keep away from turning into that object. Rule No.3: Do not let your self change into the item — or it’s going to kill you.
It was an austere regime, typical of a person who had endured repeated loss and grief earlier than discovering fame.
Jamie Redford, Lola Redford, Amy Redford and Robert Redford
Born in Santa Monica, on the coastal outskirts of Los Angeles in 1936, Redford’s upbringing was poor.
His father, Charles, was a milkman who paid little consideration to his son, and it was his uncle David who performed with him as a boy, educating him to throw a soccer.
However when Robert was eight, his beloved uncle was killed in the course of the liberation of Europe.
Ten years later, his mom died in childbirth, and his father then remarried.
The teenage Robert was devastated and misplaced his method. Consuming closely, he misplaced his school baseball scholarship for stealing from locker-rooms and breaking into empty homes, the place he would have solitary whisky binges.
Robert Redford (R) and his then girlfriend Sibylle Szaggars
However performing saved him. After enrolling within the American Academy of Dramatic Artwork in LA, he fell in love with a Mormon lady referred to as Lola van Wagenen, and eloped together with her, aged 21, in 1957.
A yr later, when Redford was showing in his first Broadway play, they’d a son, Scott. However when the boy was ten weeks previous, he died in his cot.
Redford as soon as mentioned: ‘We did not know something about sudden toddler demise syndrome, in order a mother or father you blame your self. It creates a scar that by no means fully heals.’
Their second son, James, who was born in 1962, seven weeks untimely, had respiratory issues.
‘There have been so many hits on our household that nobody is aware of about,’ Redford mentioned. ‘I do not need them to, for my household’s sake.’
Lola Redford and Robert Redford throughout ‘All of the President’s Males’ New York Metropolis Premiere
The couple additionally had two daughters, Shauna and Amy. However in 1985, the Redfords’ 28-year marriage broke down.
‘I by no means needed to be a type of divorced showbusiness casualties,’ he remarked sadly. ‘I needed to show a wedding might final. However I could not.’
Rumours swirled round his love life. And his main girls did not silence the gossip, with many confessing they’d been hopelessly smitten.
Jane Fonda mentioned: ‘I used to be so in love with Bob. Nothing ever occurred between us, however he was fabulous to kiss. I had a mad crush.’
Meryl Streep, his co-star in 1985’s Out Of Africa, was additionally mentioned to be his lover — a hearsay each have at all times denied.
His profession loved one other surge with Indecent Proposal, wherein he performed an amoral billionaire who affords Woody Harrelson $1 million to sleep together with his spouse, Demi Moore.
Howls of derision went up from girls who mentioned that if Redford ever proposed an evening of ardour to them, their husbands would haven’t any say within the matter.
Robert Redford on the set of Out of Africa primarily based
5 years later, in 1998, a brand new era found Redford, now taking part in a grizzled character in The Horse Whisperer.
However these successes, adequate to be profession highlights for many actors, appeared nearly irrelevant to Redford.
In addition to his ardour for environmentalism, he was immersed in his movie competition, staged removed from the LA lights, in Utah.
The goal was to have fun American film-making, and encourage extra first-rate impartial motion pictures. Administrators resembling Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh owe their breaks to Sundance — named after the character who made Redford well-known.
These younger weapons went on to scoop armfuls of awards. But Robert Redford by no means received an Oscar for a person efficiency.
Robert Redford on the set of The Candidate
His solely Academy Award as an actor was a comfort prize, for Lifetime Achievement, in 2002 — although he did win one as director for 1980’s Atypical Individuals, his debut behind the digicam.
As he turns his again on the display, Hollywood will miss him — however he will not miss it. As soon as, he mentioned, he used to experience his bike across the streets of LA, previous the palm bushes and the studios in the course of the period of black-and-white stars.
However then his mom died. ‘I left Los Angeles and I by no means actually went again there,’ he mentioned. ‘I’ve no horror of LA, however there is a disappointment once I’m there.’
It’s a disappointment that forged a shadow over probably the most good of the flicks’ golden boys.