Robert Redford, 86, made headlines as the Sundance Kid and went on to have a great six-decade career in the film industry. He also started the Sundance Film Festival.
His background in Santa Monica, California, as the son of a milkman-turned-accountant, inspired him to chase fame and success, but he also had to deal with numerous challenges and tragedies during his life, including the passing of his young son.
The Hollywood legend finally talked openly about his struggles and the most significant tragedies of his life.
Robert Redford, who was born on August 18, 1936, has led a life that few others can compare to. The popular actor, who had polio as a child, nevertheless, also went through a lot of heartbreak and disasters.
Robert Redford has claimed to be a “bad student,” and after he began abusing alcohol severely, he lost his scholarship to the University of Colorado in Boulder. Redford worked as a janitor at The Sink, the town’s oldest eatery, while residing in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
The Denver Post claims that Redford still remembers his time spent at the cafe. He sported a shirt with The Sink’s renowned emblem in 2018 while attending the Sundance Film Festival.
President Barack Obama greets patrons at the Sink Restaurant & Bar in Boulder / Public Domain
Robert used to be a restless child who felt like he was the target of a lot of criticism, but he could always turn to his mother for comfort.
“The one person who stood behind me was my mother.” He said this in 2018 at the Utah Women’s Leadership Celebration of the Sundance Film Festival.
“She believed that all things considered, she just had faith that I had something in me that was going to turn out OK,” he said, as cited by Woman’s World.
Mom’s tragic passing
Unfortunately, his loving mother died while he was only 40 years old. The cause of death was an unexpected rare blood illness.
“She had a hemorrhage tied to a blood disorder she got after losing twin girls at birth 10 years after I was born,” He continued, mentioning that his mother had received advice that another pregnancy would be risky.
“She wanted a family so badly, she got pregnant again, and, “said Redford, adding his mother’s death “seemed so unfair.”
Redford confessed that his biggest regret was not telling her when he had to bury his beloved mother when he was only 18 years old.
“I took [her] for granted because that’s the way kids were at that age,” Redford admitted. “I regret that she passed away before I could thank her.”
Following the passing of his mother, Redford spent time exploring Europe before studying painting at the Brooklyn-based Pratt Institute and taking courses at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Shauna Redford, Amy Redford, and Robert Redford during Robert Redford and Family After Son’s Graduation From Dalton Prep – June 6, 1980, at Outside the Home of Robert Redford in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
He continued to mourn his mother’s death but found solace in his first marriage to Mormon girl Lola Van Wagenen. Three years after the passing of his mother, the couple was married. The 22-year-old actor claimed that the union at the time “saved his life.”
The 27-year marriage of Robert Redford and Lola Van Wagenen had four children. Sadly, Scott Redford, their first child, passed away tragically at a young age, shocking his parents to the core.
A condition known as “sudden infant death syndrome” was the cause of Scott Redford’s death at the age of two and a half months. For not checking on his baby earlier, the well-known actor placed the blame on himself.
It took a very long time for Robert to discuss Scott’s death in public, but 52 years later, in an interview with the Denver Post, he finally spoke openly about the awful incident.
“We were very young… “We didn’t know anything about SIDS, so the only thing you think is that you’ve done something wrong,” he explained. He continued, “As a parent, you tend to blame yourself.” “That creates a scar that probably never completely heals.”
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was recognized as a separate condition in 1969. It is now the leading cause of death for babies between one month and one year old.
Though SIDS remains unpredictable, you may help lower your infant’s risk, and we now know far more about the syndrome than parents did in the 1950s.
Scott Redford, born in September 1959, was laid to rest near his parents’ house in Provo, Utah. Unfortunately, this would not be the last time Robert Redford had to bury his child.
Death of James Redford
Robert Redford’s third child was James Redford, also known as Jamie. Lola Van Wagenen and Robert Redford gave birth to him in 1962.
Jamie, a filmmaker, and environmentalist had reportedly struggled with health issues since his childhood. He was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare autoimmune disease affecting the liver, according to his IMDb page.
Wikipedia Commons / Jonathunder
After getting two liver transplants in 1993, he started the non-profit James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness to teach people about organ and tissue donation.
James’s wife Kyle says that he was diagnosed with cancer in November 2019 while he was waiting for a liver transplant. This was because his liver disease had come back after two years and he needed a new liver.
James died in October 2020, at the age of 58, from bile duct carcinoma in his liver. A spokesperson for Robert Redford told PEOPLE that the actor “is in mourning with his family during this difficult time and asks for privacy.”
“The grief is immeasurable with the loss of a child,” the rep continued.
Robert Redford and son James Redford / M. Caulfield/WireImage
“Jamie was a loving son, husband, and father.”His legacy lives on through his children, art, filmmaking, and devoted passion to conservation and the environment.”
After 60 years in the business, Robert Redford revealed that his 2018 film, The Old Man & the Gun, would be his last. He has remained relatively quiet since retiring from acting, but he still has a few directing and producing projects to complete.
When reflecting on his life and profession, the 86-year-old recalled the most difficult part of his life.
“The hardest thing is when your children have problems.” “There have been so many hits on our family that no one knows about, and I don’t want them to for my family’s sake.”
Losing his mother and two children must have been extremely difficult for this Hollywood great. I had no idea that he had experienced such a tragedy.
His perseverance and success in the face of such loss serve as an example. Robert Redford, thank you for all of your excellent work. If you also adore this movie star, kindly share.Find More Articles 👇 👇 👇