*Includes Redford's own quotes about his life and career
*Includes a bibliography for further reading
“The way you really find out about the performer's seriousness about the cause is how long they stay with it when the spotlight gets turned off. “ – Robert Redford
“People say I've gone against Hollywood, but I've tried to be independent within Hollywood, tried to be my own person.” – Robert Redford
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ American Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
When Robert Redford first entered the national spotlight in the early 1960s, he was hardly viewed as a serious actor, and with his red hair, blonde complexion, and athletic build, he was seen more as a handsome man than a skilled one. On top of that, he came a time in which most Hollywood stars were tall, dark, and slender, like one of his most famous co-stars, Paul Newman, and by comparison, Redford looked more like a surfer. It was an unfortunate stereotype, because he had already studied acting and even performed on Broadway even as people initially had great difficulty in taking him seriously. The acting roles for which he first became famous, such as Barefoot in the Park, featured him in what Elisa Leonelli has referred to as “golden boy” roles, and this was something that would take years to overcome, but it also gave him a chip on his shoulder. As he later noted half in jest, “I think a lot of people thought my career started with Butch Cassidy.”
That description of Redford is hard to square with opinions of him today. Indeed, Redford is now considered one of the leading figures of art house cinema, not only in America but across the world as well. Presiding over the Sundance Film Festival, which is housed in his figurative backyard in Park City, Utah, Redford oversees the leading festival for independent cinema in the United States, facilitating exposure to art house films that otherwise would have struggled to find any distribution and transforming Sundance into a wildly successful company in its own right. Meanwhile, over the last few decades, Redford’s career has placed him among the great Hollywood actors of his generation, alongside the likes of Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Dustin Hoffman. Moreover, where Redford separates himself from these other figures of acting royalty is that he is also an accomplished director, as evidenced by the successes of Ordinary People (1980), The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), A River Runs Through It (1992) and other films. Clearly, Redford has distanced himself as far as possible from the “golden boy” label that constrained him early in his career.
American Legends: The Life of Robert Redford charts Redford’s shift from an actor who could not garner any respect to one of Hollywood’s most important figures, along with an analysis of his famous films that portrayed various topics like masculinity, sport, and the American West. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Robert Redford like never before, in no time at all.