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Robert Redford: The Biography

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  • Posted May 18, 2011

    Just as complex as he seems - A Must Read

    Robert Redford is more than a pretty face....he's a complex individual. When you look at the range and depth of the films he's associated with (whether as an actor or a director) it is plain to see that environmental, societal, and familial forces have shaped his "views". Here's where the story is!
    Mr. Callan does a good job of "drawing the reader in" and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

    Anyone interested in what makes Robert "tick", should pick this up. Anyone who doesn't find this book fascinating should stick to reading the comic pages.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2011


    Michael Feeney Callan's "Robert Redford: The Biography," is a chronicle of the actor's life before, during, and after his many years in movie stardom, his political activism, and struggles in personal life. I first noticed Redford when I watched "All the president's men" back when I took a journalism class. Even though the movie was pretty old by today's standards-shot in the seventies and chronicling the investigation of the Watergate scandal which left Nixon out of the office-I was intrigued by Redford's portrayal of Bob Woodward, one of the two journalists whose investigation led to the unraveling of the greatest political scandal of the decade.

    Fast forward to this book. Going into it, I knew barely anything about Redford, other than some of his acting roles. However, as a big reader of celebrity memoirs, I must note that this is one of the most comprehensive biographies I've ever read-going from a brief description of Redford's ancestors, to his childhood, the loss of his mother, the uncertainty of his adolescence, his love for travelling, an ultimate decision to get involved in acting, his first roles, the road to superstardom, divorce with his wife, the founding of Sundance institute and festival, his struggles to be taken seriously as an actor, his participation in politics-the list goes on and on.

    It must be said that Redford worked with some of the best actresses of his time: Barbra Streisand (who had a crush on him during filming "The way we were,") Nathalie Wood (the relationship bordered somewhere between friendship and intimacy), Elizabeth Ashley (whose theater run with Redford ended in a nervous breakdown), and Meryl Streep (whose casting into "Out of Africa" co-starring Robert Redford, was contingent on her ability to portray "sexy"-something the producers initially doubted she could do, despite her acting talent). Redford also has the pleasure of co-starring with male heavy-weights such as Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, and nearly Titanic/Avator director David Cameron (before the movie production was scrapped due to financial reasons).

    Callan avoids assumptions, scandals, and any other kind of unsubstantiated claims-instead choosing rightly to focus on Redford's career and his world view. The reader gets detailed stories behind Reford's involvement in classics like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Candidate," and "All the president's men." To contrast his career hallmarks, Callan also includes the personal details of Redford's life-his early relationship with ex-wife Lola, a devoted Mormon, the medical struggles of his only son, the fight to keep the Sundance Institute afloat, and the evolution from Robert Redford the actor to Robert Redford the director. I left this book with a full portrayal of Robert Redford the person.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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