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Robert Redford: The Biography [Kindle Edition]

Michael Feeney Callan
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.95
Kindle Price: $11.84
You Save: $6.11 (34%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

The long-anticipated biography of Robert Redford.

Among the most widely admired Hollywood stars of his generation, Redford has appeared onstage and on-screen, in front of and behind the camera, earning Academy, Golden Globe, and a multitude of other awards and nominations for acting, directing, and producing, and for his contributions to the arts. His Sundance Film Festival transformed the world of filmmaking; his films defined a generation. America has come to know him as the Sundance Kid, Bob Woodward, Johnny Hooker, Jay Gatsby, and Roy Hobbs. But only now, with this revelatory biography, do we see the surprising and complex man beneath the Hollywood façade.

From Redford’s personal papers—journals, script notes, correspondence—and hundreds of hours of taped interviews, Michael Feeney Callan brings the legendary star into focus. Here is his scattered family background and restless childhood, his rocky start in acting, the death of his son, his star-making relationship with director Sydney Pollack, the creation of Sundance, his political activism, his artistic successes and failures, his friendships and romances. This is a candid, surprising portrait of a man whose iconic roles on-screen (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, The Natural) and directorial brilliance (Ordinary People, Quiz Show) have both defined and obscured one of the most celebrated, and, until now, least understood, public figures of our time.


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“Revealing . . . An unusually well-written movie-star biography . . . What emerges is a comprehensive portrait of a man beset by colliding tides of ambition and hesitation . . . Robert Redford is as fascinating . . . as its subject.”
            -Scott Eyman, The Wall Street Journal
 
“Bracing . . . A fascinating study . . . of fame and our uneasy relationship with it.”
            -Maureen Callahan, New York Post
 
“Revealing . . . Intriguing . . . An all-American beautiful jock with a brutal iron will and the soul of a visionary tyrant, Redford, under Callan’s gaze, emerges as a sui generis American figure. A gripping, intimate treatment of one of cinema’s last great iconic stars.”
            -Kirkus
 


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Michael Feeney Callan is the author of short stories, for which he won the Hennessy Literary Award; two novels; and several plays, as well as biographies of Anthony Hopkins, Richard Harris, Julie Christie, and Sean Connery. He has worked for the BBC, ITV and Ireland's Ardmore Studios as a writer, producer and director of television dramas and documentaries. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2981 KB
  • Print Length: 521 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0679450556
  • Publisher: Vintage (May 3, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004G8P2QE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,469 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough and Radical Golden Boy May 6, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I began reading this pre-publication biography of Robert Redford, I thought I would be learning about a laid-back guy from California who fell into acting via the gift of his good looks combined with perfect timing. Not so. His life totally surprised me. I know he is a conservationist with liberal political leanings, but I was not aware of the layers of this man's ambition and intellect.

Brought up without money by a wonderful, supportive mother and a critical father, Redford (Bob) was a rebellious child and teen-ager who was constantly aspiring to find what would make him happy. Michael Feeny Callan organizes fourteen years of interviews with Redford, his friends and associates to disclose the essence of the man. He also had access to Redford's personal journals and diaries which gives the reader both sides of this man. He gives equal credence to the golden boy of Hollywood, his political activism for the environment and founder of the independent film Mecca Sundance, a magnificent tract of land located in Utah. Redford has been obsessed with the wilderness, it has brought him peace, solace and helped him transform the landscape of film making.

Redford comes across as a restless egotist. He worked himself beyond fatigue and his stubbornness was uncompromising. He surprised many directors and fellow actors with his demands regarding his characters in movies and plays. What looked so easy for him on stage and film was the product of endless study and overwhelming analysis of the character in the movie or play.

It is surprising that Redford is somewhat of a tyrant. He is an autodidact, a self-taught intellectual, who challenges himself and anyone who will not allow him to proceed as he envisions.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I have found stars interesting my entire life. They are different from the rest of us, and we never really get to know them because we only see what is exposed to the rest of us. Their human element is never displayed except when they have issues with the law, or divorce, or just outrageously bad behavior. Robert Redford has managed to go an entire lifetime without having to sacrifice himself or his individuality to the fame system that is indigenous to anyone who is part of Hollywood, let alone a member of the A-List.

All actors are by definition what I call strays. I manage money for a living for very famous people as well as governments and finance ministers. Actors are simply people who must act. They really have no other choice. They are compelled to do what they do, and in what they do there is tremendous distress for they do not know where their next job is coming from, or if one is coming at all. This is the world that Redford has occupied and exulted in for probably 50 plus years. What is unique is that he has managed to maintain an aloofness from Hollywood which is unheard of for a star of his magnitude. He embraces Hollywood when he must and then just as rapidly detaches himself once again, being one of those few actors who can maintain his own center in the face of such fame, and adulation.

I have been waiting more than 20 years for someone to do a fabulous biography of this screen legend and I for one believe that author Michael Callan has successfully pierced the veil that Redford has maintained all these years. We see the man, the heart, we feel the passion and in doing this Callan has done us the reader and Redford a great service.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Elusive Redford --- an American Mystery May 7, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife saw the book on the kitchen counter and summed up the Redford Problem. "Isn't that a book for women?" But the Redford life and film canon are more complex, and his Irish biographer, Michael Feeney Callan, has devoted ten years of his writing life to proving it. Here's the result: a bio of a conflicted, sometimes agonized man in the throes of a two-level career: swoon-worthy matinee idol and golden boy on one hand, deadly serious, reclusive cineaste -- serious to the point of ponderous -- on the other.

Callan chronicles Redford's path to becoming the biggest movie star in the world through "Butch Cassidy," "Jeremiah Johnson," "The Way We Were," "The Sting," and misconceived bombs like "Waldo Pepper" and "The Great Gatsby." Redford is immediately uncomfortable with popcorn-movie success and cultivates a second persona through the Sundance Institute and as director of grave and chilly work like "Ordinary People." He is depicted as earnest and professional but terminally indecisive, easily distracted, uncommunicative, and incapable of keeping a schedule -- a hard guy to work with, as Callan himself found out. (We get the impression this book would have been completed years ago if Redford hadn't kept backing out of meetings.) The depiction is detailed and engrossing, but the reasons for all this conflict ultimately elude Callan, and us.

By the '80s, aging, Redford can no longer play cute-guy roles but essays popular junk ("Legal Eagles," "Up Close and Personal") in order to subsidize unpopular art ("The Milagro Beanfield War"). His highest-grossing movie ever, apparently, was the supremely junky "Indecent Proposal," and most of his more heartfelt personal projects in the last decade or so must be classified as noble failures.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Very in-depth and informative about one of my favorite actors. Family history, an uncle at the invasion of Normandy, his baptism into the Latter-Day
Saints religion, his... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Hunyadi
5.0 out of 5 stars really wonderful!
I learned a lot about Robert while reading this book. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan or just wants to read a highly entertaining book.
Published 24 days ago by Hardheadedkid
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read!
Published 2 months ago by DalePFence
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love him......period
Published 3 months ago by Marie Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars A Substantive Person
Because this is an authorized biography it draws on Redford's own thoughts about the very impressive activities in his life. Read more
Published 3 months ago by A. G. Gosfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
it was a very interesting book.
Published 5 months ago by Virginia Hicks
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Redford: The Biography
It was a good book. Most of the stories I'd heard and read about myself but it was nice to go back and remember back in 1962 when I first saw him acting on the Dick Powell Show... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Pepper
3.0 out of 5 stars Tedious at times
Enjoyed it for the most part. It got into the details of his environmental work a little too much for my liking.
Published 7 months ago by Jim Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Verbose!
It gets very boring at times. I always liked him as an actor and thought the book would be good. Am disappointed. Too much detail about his movies and Sundance! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jane McKay
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich, interesting reading!
I loved this book and have even re-read it several times. Beautifully written, numerous insights, incredibly interesting. I would highly recommend this book.
Published 8 months ago by Susan M. Davis
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More About the Author

Michael Feeney Callan was born and educated in Dublin, Ireland. He started publishing poetry in his teens and won the Hennessy Literary Award for his short fiction. Anthologised in Best Irish Short Stories (Elek, 1977), he joined BBC TV Drama as a story editor and wrote for TV series in Ireland, the UK and the US. His has published novels, the volumes of poems Fifty Fingers and An Argument for Sin, and biographies of Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins and Richard Harris. His authorized biography of Robert Redford, published by Knopf in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into ten languages. As a filmmaker, he has directed documentaries, including The Beach Boys Today, for RTE in Ireland.

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