Over the course of his decades-spanning career, Robert Redford has achieved the status of a Hollywood legend. However, the actor has also suffered numerous tragedies in his personal life that are less widely known. Join Facts Verse as we uncover tragic secrets about Robert Redford’s personal life.
Robert Redford was born in Santa Monica, California, on August 18, 1939. Robert’s mother died when he was only five, which was the first of numerous familial tragedies that the star has faced in his life. His father remarried, introducing a stepbrother into Robert’s life. One of the constants in Robert’s life as a child was his uncle, whose name was David. David died while serving in the army in 1945, the second tragedy of Robert’s young life.
When Robert was still young, he was diagnosed with polio. While the illness could have proved deadly, he managed to survive the bout without any noticeable lasting effects. Still, this episode caused Robert to have a great sympathy for others afflicted with the illness.
As a result of the numerous hardships that he had experienced at such a young age, Robert exhibited some behavioral problems growing up. The boy had a proclivity for misbehaving at school and would take any excuse to eschew his education. As Robert grew into his teenage years, his propensity for misbehaving turned criminal. Among other things, the actor has said that his teenage self could often be found stealing hubcaps.
Despite his propensity for misbehaving and his disinterest in his education, young Robert showed a natural talent when it came to athletics. The future star was so good at football during his high school career that he was able to secure a college scholarship. Robert would go on to attend the University of Colorado. However, he took up drinking during his college years and his alcohol abuse eventually became so bad that the college kicked him out. While attending school, Robert met the woman that would become his first wife.
Robert’s first wife was a woman by the name of Lola Van Wagenan. When Robert was kicked out of school, Lola dropped out to be with him. The two subsequently went to Las Vegas together and eloped. Several years later, the couple was able to afford a more elaborate ceremony for their friends and family members. In 1987, the University of Colorado awarded Robert an honorary degree for his work in the film industry.
Tragedy befell Robert once again when he and his new wife had their first child. Their first child passed away due to sudden infant death syndrome when he was only a few months old. This event would leave a scar on Robert, and would also irreparably damage his first marriage. Still, he and Lola would go on to have a few more children after the death of their first.
Two years after the tragic death of their firstborn son, Robert and Lola had a daughter. That daughter’s name was Shauna, and a second son, named Jaimie, followed her. Several years after Jaimie was born, Robert and Lola had another daughter, named Amy. Jaimie’s birth came with complications, as he was born several weeks prematurely and began suffering from a serious respiratory illness. Though the child survived, he would continue to have health problems throughout his life. By the age of 30, Jaimie had undergone several surgical operations due to his numerous health issues.
Robert and Lola’s third child was born in 1970, at which point Robert was already well on his way to becoming the Hollywood legend we think of him as today. Robert first took up acting in the late 1950s, uttering a single line in the 1959 Broadway play Tall Story. From there, the actor would continue acting on the stage and also transition into television and film. Robert’s first cinematic role came in the 1960 film adaptation of Tall Story.
Though his turn in Tall Story only offered him the opportunity to utter a single line, Robert was given a starring role in the Korean War film War Hunt. Still, his breakout role didn’t come until his 1965 turn in the film Inside Daisy Clover, a performance which won the actor the Golden Globe Award for Best New Star.
If Inside Daisy Clover proved that Robert was a force to be reckoned with in the industry, the actor made good on the promise with his subsequent starring turn in Three Days of Condor. The film saw Robert cast as a spy, and the star proved perfect in the action thriller role. From there, Robert was given his iconic role in the 1969 feature Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Robert was cast in the film as the titular Sundance Kid, alongside Paul Newman’s titular Butch Cassidy. The studio was originally hesitant to cast Robert in the role, but Paul was insistent upon the actor’s hiring. Paul’s insistence paid off, as the film became a major hit.
After Paul stuck his neck out for Robert to appear in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the actors remained great friends and would go on to even greater heights. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Robert Redford and Paul Newman became great friends while filming Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and reunited to even greater acclaim in the 1974 feature The Sting. The movie was the top grossing film of the year, proving even more successful than the pair’s team-up in the prior feature. Robert also appeared in plenty of other hits during the 1970s, including The Way We Were and All the President’s Men. Both movies had a political slant, with The Way We Were being more of a drama and All the President’s Men being more of a thriller. Both films showcased Robert’s increasing political interests.
Robert continued his successful acting career in the 1980s, appearing alongside Meryl Streep in the 1985 film Out of Africa. As well, the actor became a director at the cusp of the decade, achieving immense acclaim with his 1980 directorial debut Ordinary People. Later in the decade, Robert appeared in the popular romantic thriller Indecent Proposal. Though the film wasn’t entirely successful with critics, it was a commercial hit and further proved Robert’s status as a full-blown movie star.
During the 1990s, Robert maintained star status both behind and in front of the camera. His hit drama The Horse Whisperer marked the first film in which Robert directed himself in a starring performance. The film also marked the on-screen debut of Scarlet Johansson, who would appear alongside Robert again nearly two decades later in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Despite Robert’s immense success as an actor, the star has never received an Academy Award for his acting. However, he has received some for his behind the scenes work, including for directing Ordinary People.
In the 2010s, Robert had been working in Hollywood for many decades and could easily have been taking it easy. However, he decided instead to take on an immense physical challenge in the form of filming the 2014 survival thriller All Is Lost. The film was a one-man show in which Robert depicted a man struggling for survival on a sinking ship. The film was made using practical effects.
The same year that All Is Lost premiered, Robert could be seen on cinema screens in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While the film reunited Robert with Scarlett Johansson, his appearance in the film was made even more notable due to the fact that several elements of the film referenced Robert’s 1970s political thrillers.
After Robert’s appearance in the acclaimed 2018 feature The Old Man and the Gun, the actor officially announced his retirement. Besides a cameo appearance reprising his Captain America: The Winter Soldier role in the follow-up film Avengers: Endgame, the star has made good on his promise. After all that Robert has accomplished, he deserves to take it easy.
Robert began acting when he was in his early 20s, and went on to perform in over 80 feature films over the course of his decades-spanning career. However, his influence on the film industry has stretched much farther than his acting roles, and even farther than his works as a director. In fact, Robert’s greatest contribution to the film industry may be the fact that he created the Sundance Film Festival. Robert started the popular Colorado film festival in 1978, and it has gone on to become one of the preeminent film festivals in the world.
Robert eventually ended up divorcing his first wife. Robert and Lola divorced in 1985, after having been married for 28 years. The couple’s relationship had never fully recovered after the tragic death of their firstborn son, though they had tried to make it work over the ensuing decades. Eventually, the divide between the couple became too much for them to bear.
After divorcing from his first wife, Robert began dating a woman by the name of Sibylle Szaggars. The two moved in together during the 1990s, but didn’t become married until 2009. Robert has certainly been through a lot in his long life, and deserves to take it easy in his retirement. It remains to be seen whether or not Robert will make any more cameo appearances in other pieces of media, but he’s certainly left plenty of work behind for his fans!
Having appeared in over 80 films over the course of his career, Robert Redford fans have no shortage of ways to get their fix. Comment down below to share what your favorite Robert Redford role is, or if you think that he should’ve won an Academy Award for his acting at least once before his official retirement. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!