- Job : actor, director
- Real name: Charles Robert Jr. Redford
- Sign : Lion
- Date of birth: Tuesday, August 18, 1936 (age: 84 years old)
- Country: United States
Robert Redford was born on August 18, 1936 in Santa Monica, USA. Son of a milk delivery man and a housewife, the little boy grew up in a tiny house in the Hispanic neighborhoods of the Californian coastal city. From a very modest background, he dreams of wide open spaces and a better life. His temperament quickly reveals itself to be rebellious in the face of all forms of authority. He has little interest in school but is very gifted in sports. It is thanks to baseball that he won a scholarship to enter the University of Colorado, which he quickly lost due to lack of attendance. In 1956, after several months spent on an oil platform to save money, he flew to Europe and Paris eager to discover and passionate about the painters of the 1920s. He enrolled at the Beaux-Arts, lived modestly with other students, studied art, and continued his journey to Italy and then Austria. After a year and a half, forced to complete his trip for lack of money, Robert Redford returned to New York and enrolled in a school of dramatic art.
After making his debut on the stage, he then turned to television and was noticed for his role in the television film The Iceman Cometh (1960) by Sydney Lumet. In 1965, on the big screen, it was in Robert Mulligan’s Daisy Clover that the general public discovered him. This role earned him the Golden Globe as the male revelation of the year. Script proposals flooded in and the following year he played alongside Marlon Brando and Jane Fonda in The Ruthless Pursuit of Arthur Penn and Forbidden Property of Sydney Pollack. In 1969, he became an international star with the western Butch Cassidy and the kid of George Roy Hill alongside Paul Newman. In the 1970s, he found two fetish directors again: Sydney Pollack (Jeremiah Johnson, Our Best Years, The Three Days of the Condor, The Electric Horseman) and George Roy Hill (The Scam and The Eagles’ Fair). In 1974, he lent his features to Jay Gatsby in Gatsby the Magnificent, from the eponymous book by F. Scott Fitzgerald, directed by Jack Clayton and written by Francis Ford Coppola.
In the early 1980s, Robert Redford got behind the camera and directed Donald Sutherland in his first feature film, Des gens comme les autres. It was a masterstroke, winning the Oscar for Best Director and the Golden Globe for Best Director in 1981. Since then, he has alternated between roles and directing. In 1985, for their sixth collaboration, he joins the team of Sydney Pollack in Kenya and gives the line to Meryl Streep in Out of Africa for scenes of anthology (the film wins seven statuettes at the Oscar ceremony in 1986). In the 90s, he directed Et au milieu coule une rivière (1992) and L’homme qui murmurait à l’oreille des chevaux (1996) in which he directs a young debutante, Scarlett Johansson. In 2001, he returned to the camera and played in The Last Castle and Spy Game. In 2002, his career is rewarded by an Oscar of honor. More discreet on the screens, he chose these roles sparingly (Une vie inachevée in 2005, All is lost in 2013) to devote himself to directing (La conspiration in 2011 and Sous surveillance in 2013).
A strong advocate of independent film, Robert Redford is the founder of the Sundance Film Festival. It was in the late 1950s, while still a student, that he discovered the wild landscapes of Utah. He bought his first piece of land in 1961. A lover of the great outdoors, he expanded his estate as his earnings grew. In 1969, after a few improvements, he created the Sundance ski resort located on Mount Timpanogos, which dominates the Utah valley. In 1981, he created the Sundance Institute to support independent theater and film before developing his film festival in 1985. A convinced ecologist, the actor is a member of the Green Cross International organization for which he is an active militant.
On the private side, Robert Redford married Lola Van Wagenen, a Mormon from Utah, in September 1958. The couple has four children, Scott (who died 5 months after the sudden infant death syndrome in 1959), Shauna (born on 15/11/1960), James (born on 15/05/1962) and Amy (born on 22/10/1970). Their divorce was pronounced in November 1985. He met the painter Sibylle Szaggars, a native of Hamburg, whom he married in July 2009. On October 17, 2020, his son James dies at the age of 58 from cancer.