Robert Redford

(b. 1937)

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(1936– )

US film actor and director.

Redford was born in Santa Monica, California; he turned to acting after attending the University of Colorado on a baseball scholarship. He also attempted to become a painter after a trip to Europe and studied art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Having settled for the stage, he took up drama studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Tall Story (1959) provided him with his Broadway debut; by 1963 he was starring in the Broadway production of Barefoot in the Park. He also starred in the film version of this play in 1967.

He appeared in several TV series and dramas in the early 1960s and made his film debut in War Hunt (1962). Early films included The Chase and Inside Daisy Clover (both 1966) but it was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), playing opposite Paul Newman, that first brought him international recognition. He and Newman were successfully to co-star again in The Sting (1973), a widely acclaimed film that revived the music of Scott Joplin and brought Redford an Oscar nomination. Downhill Racer (1969), The Candidate (1972), The Great Gatsby (1974), The Natural (1984), and Out of Africa (1986) are among his other successful films. Redford's own production company, Wildwood, was responsible for All The President's Men (1976), about the Watergate investigation, in which he played the reporter Bob Woodward.

In the 1980s and 1990s Redford became increasingly involved in directing and producing films. His debut film as director, Ordinary People (1980), earned him an Academy Award: it has been followed by such successes as A River Runs Through It (1992), Quiz Show (1994), and The Horse Whisperer (1998). He has continued to act, both in his own films and those of other directors. In 1980 he founded the Sundance Institute, which trains young film-makers and organizes the prestigious Sundance Film Festival each year in Utah.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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