Looking at Robert Redford, who turns 85 this Wednesday, one might think that with a successful career behind him, being a sex symbol, a living Hollywood legend and with a comfortable economic situation, he is a lucky man, worthy admiration and even a little envy (healthy). Nothing is further from reality. Redford, despite his unquestionable fame and recognition, has experienced very hard times in his life, and we are not just referring to his difficult beginnings. A year ago , in October 2020, one of his four children, James Redford, passed away., documentary filmmaker by profession and known for his activist work, as a result of liver cancer against which he had been fighting for two years.
Charles Robert Redford Jr. was born in Santa Monica on August 18, 1936. His father, Charles, worked as a milkman and later found a job as a clerk at an oil company. With his son he maintained that distant and unloving treatment so common at that time. They just shared their passion for baseball. On the other hand, her mother, Marta, was a very loving and present housewife, a cheerful woman who “always saw the positive side of all things”, as the interpreter himself described her.
Life granted Redford privileges such as her beauty, charm and innate qualities for sports.He especially excelled at playing tennis, baseball, football, and swimming, which presumably made him quite popular as a youngster, and flirt.
Robert received the first blow of life when the twins that his mother was expecting died at birth.The birth was complicated and she never recovered her health. The second was when his favorite aunt died in World War II.
But the event that marked him forever was the death of his mother.due to cancer at the age of 41. When this happened, he had been in college for a year and a half, which he had accessed thanks to a scholarship for his sports skills. Since he couldn’t escape the pain, he ran away from everything that reminded him of the woman he loved most in her existence. For a year, and hitchhiking, he toured the United States.It was not enough. In 1956 she went to Paris . Since he was little he painted and drew very well. He put on a beret, enrolled in an art school and started selling his drawings to tourists who thought he was Parisian.
Paris was too small for him and he jumped to Europe. He traveled the continent again hitchhiking, sleeping in stations or wherever the night caught him. He ended up in Rome. It was New Year’s and in a bar he met Ava Gardner,the actress who drove Frank Sinatra crazy with love and who was later considered ‘the most beautiful animal in the world’. He saw her and froze. Ava approached him, said “Happy New Year, soldier”, and kissed him as people doomed to stardom kiss.
From Rome he went to Florence and, finally, consumed by alcohol, he returned skinny, unemployed and with all the pain in the world to Los Angeles. Then his demons gave him a break and he met Lola Van Wagenen, a shy Mormon girl. The pure young woman fell in love with that man who was always in ripped pants, barefoot and bare-chested, as well as taciturn and drunk. Despite the frontal opposition of her family, they married in 1958 and separated 27 years after her.The young woman who made Redford settle down saw her husband become one of the most desirable men on the planet.
They had four children: Scott, Shauna, Jame, and Amy.During his marriage with Lola no romances were attributed to him. An affair with Barbra Streisand was rumored when they were filming Just the Way We Were. It was said that the indomitable Jane Fonda , his unconditional friend, fell in love with him, and so did Debra Winger.Even the untouchable Meryl Streep almost ended up also surrendered to this heartthrob during the filming of Out of Africa. He never denied or confirmed, perhaps out of chivalry or because he knew that what he considered an attribute – seduction – in women was a sin.He never boasted about his physique.“I know I’m not bad, but I don’t give it too much importance,” he said.
A baby not older than five months; a depressive daughter who was about to die too (now married with two children); James, his third son, who was diagnosed with a terrible colon disease at the age of 15 and who ended up dying at 58.
At 85, the nature-loving star who starred in fifty movies, directed a dozen and created the Sundance Independent Film Festival, lives since 2009 with the German painter Sibylle Szaggars.He is concerned about early deafness and mobility problems.“I have no problems getting older, as long as I can play some sport,” says the actor that Brad Pitt himself idolizes. The magnetic smile that only the chosen ones have, will remain eternal, despite their wrinkles.