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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Robert Redford (I) - Biography

Robert Redford (I) - Biography some stuff not in the IMDB file !!!!!
After losing screen icon Elizabeth Taylor this week, another screen legend comes to mind, one who is just a few years younger, but whose apparent good health and great energy will hopefully keep him around for a very long time yet. (The italics are my thoughts, not his) Not the Wizard's words , but now , about a great actor....and The Wizard always felt he'd be a nice guy to have a drink with and so say The Wizard on that !!!!!

Robert Redford has always been an extremely private person ("I just never was interested in talking about myself", he says) and recently when he agreed to do an interview with AARP magazine, there were some interesting facts about him that surprised me.

1. Charles Robert Redford Jr., who amazingly will turn 75 this year, was born in 1936, the son of a milkman and grew up in a mostly Hispanic neighborhood in Santa Monica, CA.

2. He was not a good student, He got in trouble a lot in high school; he used to steal hubcaps ("I had trouble with the restrictions of conformity") -but was a great athlete. He won a baseball scholarship to the University of Colorado in Boulder and then lost it the first year due to drinking. (they still do that at CU I've heard).

3. His father was then working at the Standard Oil refinery in El Segundo, CA and after leaving college, "Bob" went to work there too, where he saw things which planted the seeds for his later environmental activism.

4. He wanted to be an artist so in the mid-50's he hitchhiked to New York and from there made his way to Paris where he hung out for 18 months with politicially active artists and students. He used to do sidewalk art -chalk drawings directly on the sidewalk which tourists paid him to do.

5. He returned to LA and in 1958 got married. He was 20 and his wife, Lola, was 17. They moved to New York where he enrolled in art school. A teacher suggested he take classes at the Dramatic Arts Institute. The first play he was cast in, he said 'something happened' and he knew he wanted to act.

6. Robert and Lola tragically lost their first child at five months of age to SIDS. He said you can't help but blame yourself, it is a "scar that never heals". They had three more children, Shauna, now an artist who is married to Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, James, a screenwriter and director, and Amy, an actress. He has seven grandchildren, ranging from a college student to infant twins.

7. In the 1970's he moved his family to Park City, Utah to escape the celebrity scene. He started speaking out for regulation of oil and gas companies, which caused some problems for his father who was still working for Standard Oil. Still, his father supported him.

8. When he started the Sundance Institute in 1981, Hollywood people called it "Redford's Folly". It's now a world-famous film festival and has launched the careers of hundreds of filmmakers and actors. It became so popular that he left Park City and made a home in Santa Fe. He still has an unpretentious cabin outside Park City which serves as an office.

9. He and Lola divorced in 1985 after 27 years of marriage. He met his current wife, Sibylle, 53, at Sundance in the late '90s. They married in 2009.

10. At the age of 74, in his own words "I ride horses, ski, and play pretty hard tennis. I still have energy. When that starts to shut down, I might start to think about age" and as for his film plans, "For a long time I've wanted to do a thriller. I like being scared, and I like scaring. And I want to keep acting..." (oh please do!)

Redford's latest project as a director is The Conspirator, soon to be released. It stars Robin Wright as Mary Surrat, whose boardinghouse was the meeting place for John Wilkes Booth and fellow plotters of the assassination of President Lincoln. On Oprah's recent special with Barbra Streisand, where Robert made a surprise appearance, Barbra reminded him of her longtime interest in making a sequel to The Way We Were, which he has resisted. She wants to do a story about their on-screen daughter, who would have grown up to be a radical that gets in trouble, and they have to get back together to get her out of jail... Redford said "You know, that's not a bad idea"... (as one of my all-time favorite movies, I am in favor of this!) contributed by m.

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