Robert was born in Santa Monica, California to Charles Robert
Redford, Sr., an accountant, and Texas-born Martha W. Hart.
Robert Redford has a half-brother, William, from his father's
Robert graduated from Van Nuys High School in Los Angeles, California in 1954 and received a baseball scholarship to the University of Colorado, where he was a pitcher on the baseball team, and a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He lost the scholarship due to adolescent drinking, fueled in part by the death of his mother, when Robert was eighteen. Robert was later a painting student at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and took classes in theatrical set design at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
Blond haired, athletic and handsome, Robert is known for his roles in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, The Sting, The Natural, The Way We Were, Out of Africa, The Great Gatsby, and many others. Robert directed the films Ordinary People, Quiz Show, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Horse Whisperer, The Milagro Beanfield War, and A River Runs Through It. He was also a producer on all except Ordinary People.
In 1980, Robert's directorial debut, Ordinary People, won him the Academy Award for Directing; Robert Redford's 1994 film, Quiz Show, was nominated for best director, but lost to Forrest Gump. Along with Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Richard Attenborough, and Kevin Costner, Redford is one of the few major actors to win an Academy Award for "Best Director".
With the financial proceeds of Robert Redford's acting success, starting with his salary from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Downhill Racer, Robert purchased the ski resort just outside Park City, Utah called Timphaven. He renamed it the Sundance Resort, and not long after, portions of the movie Jeremiah Johnson (1972), a film which is both one of Redford's favorites and one that has heavily influenced him, were shot in the area. He founded the Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute, Sundance Catalog, and the Sundance Channel, all in and around Park City. The Sundance Film Festival caters to independent filmmakers in the United States and has received some recognition from the industry as a place to option films. The name Sundance comes from Robert Redford's character, the "Sundance Kid". In addition, Redford owns a celebrated restaurant called Zoom, located on Main Street in the former mining town of Park City.
In 1995, Robert received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Bard College. In December of 2005, Robert Redford received honors at the Kennedy Center for his contributions to American culture. The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts: whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television.
Redford is politically liberal. Robert Redford has supported environmentalism and Native American rights. Supposedly, Barbara Bush told her husband George Bush that he should chose Dan Quayle as a running mate because he looked like Redford. Redford then began some speeches by saying, "Hello. I'm Dan Quayle." However, Redford resented the equation as he and the former Vice President are on the opposite sides of the political spectrum.
Robert married Lola Van Wagenen on September 12, 1958; the couple, who had four children - Scott (born 1959 and died shortly after), Shauna (born November 15, 1960), David James (born May 15, 1962), and Amy (born October 22, 1970) - divorced in 1985. His companions since have included actress Sonia Braga (during the late 1980s), Kathy O'Rear (from the late 1980s to 1995) and German painter Sibylle Szaggars (1996-current). Redford has four grandchildren.
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