ROBERT REDFORD Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Actor, director, producer. Born Charles Robert Redford Jr., on August 18, 1937, in Santa Monica, California. Redford’s father, Charles Redford Sr., worked as a milkman until after World War II, when he got a job as an accountant for the Standard Oil Company. A talented athlete, the younger Redford won a baseball scholarship to the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1955. That same year, however, his mother Martha died suddenly, leaving Redford extremely shaken. His performance in college and athletics rapidly deteriorated, and he began to drink heavily and skip classes and practice. He was subsequently kicked off the baseball team and lost his scholarship.


With aspirations to become a painter, Redford took a job in a Los Angeles oil field to earn money in order to travel to Paris, where he planned to attend art school. He ended up traveling around Europe, eventually studying painting with a teacher in Florence, Italy. By 1958, Redford had become frustrated with his slow progress and decided to return to Los Angeles. That same year, he met and married Lola Jean Van Wagenen, a Mormon student from Utah who encouraged him to cut back on his drinking and resume his pursuit of a career as an artist. The couple moved to New York, where Redford enrolled as a painting student at the prestigious Pratt Institute. He also began taking classes in theatrical set design at New York’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts.


Redford’s first acting job came in 1959, when the stage manager for the Broadway production of Tall Story asked him to audition for a small part after another actor left the project. Over the next several years, Redford combined stage work in such Broadway plays as The Highest Tree, The Iceman Cometh, and Sunday in New York with work on television, including guest appearances on the popular series Route 66, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Twilight Zone. He made his feature film debut in War Hunt (1962), which received critical praise but made a poor showing at the box office.