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Robert Redford: The Biography
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Robert Redford: The Biography

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  277 ratings  ·  69 reviews
The long-anticipated biography of Robert Redford.

Among the most widely admired Hollywood stars of his generation, Redford has appeared onstage and on-screen, in front of and behind the camera, earning Academy, Golden Globe, and a multitude of other awards and nominations for acting, directing, and producing, and for his contributions to the arts. His Sundance Film Festival
ebook, 496 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Vintage (first published September 2000)
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Bette BookAddict
Apr 20, 2014 Bette BookAddict rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bette BookAddict by: myself
Shelves: biography-memoir

Michael Feeney Callan is such an excellent biographer; I was lucky enough to already be in thrall of the subject, the gorgeous Mr Charles Robert Redford, but even if I were not, this would still make an enormously good read. Ten years in the making with lots of family history, instances not involving his film career including his work in the Sundance wilderness conservation, personal anecdotes and some great piccies. I will read other biographies by Mr Callan. Altogether a 4.5★ read.
Although an actor who saw his biggest success before I was even born, Robert Redford has always held some mystery for me. After living in Provo, I became more intrigued with his concept of Sundance and how it came to be. A reclusive sort of fellow in that he doesn't grant interviews very often, the public at large doesn't know much more about Robert Redford (or Bob, as he's referred to in the book) than what they get on the movie screen.

I found the writing rather tedious. So many stories seem to
I have mixed feelings about this book. I have a lot of connections to the subject. I've enjoyed many of Redford's films over the years. I was raised in Provo and spent a lot of time at Sundance. I know quite a few people who are friends with Redford and/or have worked closely with him. And I've admired Redford as a supporter of independent film and an environmental activist. So I picked up this book because I already had an interest in Redford, and I wanted to know more about what makes him tick ...more
Joy H.
Added 10/24/12.
I listened to the audio version of this book during October and November 2012. Interesting and enjoyable.

“Revealing . . . Intriguing . . . An all-American beautiful jock with a brutal iron will and the soul of a visionary tyrant, Redford, under Callan’s gaze, emerges as a sui generis* American figure. A gripping, intimate treatment of one of cinema’s last great iconic stars.” -Kirkus

*[Sui generis is a Neo-Latin expression, literally meaning "of its own kind/genus", or unique in it
It is shocking to find that an autobiography from a political figure [George Bush] can be so amusing and interesting and then to find a biography about one of the biggest movie icons in my lifetime can be so boring!!! I have been in awe of Redford since he appeared in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and was so excited to read this book. How disappointing in both the book and him.

The author devoted the first chapter to his parents, grandparents and other ancestors and the last chapter to a 'l
Susan Thompson
It's been years and years since I last read a biography. I'm trying to make a concerted effort to read more of them. Anyway, I started this when I was driving back from Big Sur and while it started off reading like a history book (ie in the year ___ he did ___ and in the year ___ he went and did ___). Not exactly gripping stuff. But it did talk about Big Sur, CA so in my own way I thought it was rather timely. Anyway, I stuck with it, I don't like to be bested by a book, and I'm really glad that ...more
Aug 14, 2011 Jake rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jake by: Public Library
By way of confession, I approached Robert Redford the biography in an attitude of hero worship. Since childhood, I have unquestionably regarded him as an iconic American actor. The first time I watched he and Paul Newman go into haunting freeze frame at the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is etched in my mind. My parents used The Natural as a practical tool for schooling me in allegory. While a college student in Utah, I felt the Redford mystique grow during regular trips into Salt Lak ...more
Meijer Bjorn
The biography of Robert Redford shares the beauty marks and blemishes of the subjects movie career and political activism.

This is the first biography I have read from Micheal Callan. I am impressed by the effort, detail, and openness he has achieved in this biography.

Holladay starts the investigation way, waaaay back in time to the 1600's. Possibly the evolutionary beginnings of the Redford clan. It quickly focuses on Robert's beginnings and moves forward through his life experiences.

If you w
Adrian Carpio
One of my favorite actors and directors has always been Robert Redford. His movies always seemed to touch a chord in me. This biography solidifies his stature in my life. Redford has been accused of being arrogant, reclusive, incapable of making decisions. While those characterizations may be true, it doesn't matter. The guy makes great movies.

His roles and the movies he decides to produce or direct show what his truth is: the struggle of real people in the face of what society forces on us.

Redford's life has been a most interesting of the top Hollywood film stars of his generation, he may become best known as the man who created the Sundance Film Festival...Callan looks at the life of a man who began as a troubled youth growing up in LA. As a young man, he went to Europe to develop his artistic talents, only to return home as a failure. But he discovered his talent as an actor in plays and then movies. The 1967 "Barefoot in the Park" with Jane Fonda was his first big hit ...more
Tough and Radical Golden Boy

When I began reading this pre-publication biography of Robert Redford, I thought I would be learning about a laid-back guy from California who fell into acting via the gift of his good looks combined with perfect timing. Not so. His life totally surprised me. I know he is a conservationist with liberal political leanings, but I was not aware of the layers of this man's ambition and intellect.

Brought up without money by a wonderful, supportive mother and a critical fa
I got this book for Christmas, and was really looking forward to reading it, I took the excuse of the snow last weekend to actually do pretty much nothing but read!

We start off with a bit of a history lesson that put me in mind of 'The Nearest Faraway Place' By Timothy White, who delved into the heritage of Brian Wilson, I like this style as it shows us the stock as it were that made these people so great!

Redford has Irish heritage that he was very proud of, he also became very interested in th
Michelle Llewellyn
Made it as far as Chapter 14-kept falling asleep-impatient for the 80's and Redford's best work to get here. Callan delivers some of what I'd hoped but still left me wanting more. As a Utah resident the only good thing about Jeremiah Johnson is the scenery, sorry Pollack (may he rest in peace), but the whole storyline sucks. In fact, that entire movie reminds me of this book-male chauvinist and dry, long winded narration. So I skipped ahead to my two favorite Redford movies-Out of Africa and Th ...more
James Biser
This is a good biography. I have seen Redford many times, as I live near Sundance, but I have always been curious about how he has come to be the man, producer, actor and activist we have come to know. This biography takes the reader through his life from his parents' history, his time living and coming to be part of many homes and families. I recently read Paul Newman's biography. It was a perfect time to read the story of his brother, Bob.
Here it is, halfway through October and I'm just recording my first book. That's what I get for trying to read two books at one time. The first one completed was Robert Redford's biography by a writer who also penned biographies for Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery, Richard Harris and Julie Christie. I had a hard time starting out with this one because the early history leading up to the star's birth made me realize he is 75 years old. Just. Not. Possible. And his career is, of course, so much more ...more
Lisa Hagan
Exceptionally well written and engaging. I have been a huge fan of Robert Redford's since I was a teenager and I still am.

I thought Michael Feeney Callan did an outstanding job of capturing Bob's voice in sharing the stories of how be became a man, to make movies and his environmental causes. I knew nothing of his personal life or how passionate he was about every project that he took on and why he took them on. The background information on the making of all of my favorite films was riveting.
This book reminds me that reading bios of other people is inspiring. Ok, ok - I'm totally biased when it comes to anything RR related. However, reading this new bio helped me understand why my crush on this guy runs deeper than his strawberry-blonde locks and charming smile. The guy is a rebellious maverick who stubbornly focuses on his visions and dreams. He is willing to go against the "popular norm" of Hollywood and even his friends - What's not to like? The book doesn't candy-coat his disapp ...more
It took the author 10 years with unlimited access to Mr. Redford's friends and family and this book was more like a chronological walk through Redford's life. It talked about his passion for Utah, the wilderness etc. But this book was passionless.
I thought I was going to read a type of People Magazine book about a Hollywood Star whose movies I have enjoyed over the years. (Oh what the heck, most women my age have always considered him a heart-throb--so I was expecting a certain amount of fluff and I really didn't care.) What I found, instead was a thoughtful, Redford prospective about his life and work. The book is arranged in a consecutive format with family history and growing up, and then moving through his life and movies, political ...more
Robert Redford is a rather elusive actor. His contemporary movies are few and far between and aside from his participation at Sundance and its annual film festival, you don't really hear about him in the news. He is one of my favorite actors (I may be only 30 but "The Way We Were" and "The Sting" are two of my favorite films) so it was a wonderful opportunity to get inside his head, which is not an exaggeration since biographer Michael Feeney Callan frequently quotes Redford's own personal journ ...more
While biographies are not what I typically read, I found this one lacking. I realize Redford is elusive, but felt the book to be more of a chronology of the events leading from making one movie to the next. Too much emphasis on quotes from the movie types, directors, producers, etc., and not enough about family life and Sundance. I appreciate Redford's environmental and conservation efforts, and for me that will a more important legacy than the films, as I suspect it will be for him. Jeremiah Jo ...more
Tedious read. Because Redford authorized this biography, it felt like the author had to include a lot of detail about every film to tell all sides. The early years of the actor's childhood growing up in L.A. was great to read, especially the relationship with his parents. To Redford's credit, the book doesn't necessarily paint a great picture of him. He wasn't around much as a husband/father, was very difficult on every project and a constant loner, not always responsive to those who needed him. ...more
I'm torn on this one between giving it one star (didn't like it) and two stars (it was okay). I think my opinion is actually somewhere in between. This would've been much better if the author had let up on some of the more tedious details and names and had delved a little further into topics such as his wife & family life, his role as a sex-idol, any criticism of his acting/personality/anything. What really bothered me most of all was the contrast between the plodding writing style, and the ...more
Barefoot in the Park was one of my favorite movies growing up and although I know about Redford's environmental work, I knew him mostly as Gatsby. I had no idea that he started Sundance, although I was getting his western wear catalog for a time.

This book was so enlightening but it focuses heavily on Redford's career and politics. Anyone wishes for a closer look into his private life will be disappointed, but I think the author does a fine job of describing who Redford really is: a workaholic,
Check out my review in Spanish:

Either there is no humanity in Robert Redford and he is nothing more than a film person; or this biography fails to show the human being and concentrates only in the making of a lot of the films he has been related to. I think it is the later. This is an interesting book about how many of RR's movies have been filmed; and what role he played in them (actor; producer; director; etc.); but; in my opinion; it fails to show the
Nate Stender
A little too much "tongue in asshole," if you catch my drift.
As much as I love Robert Redford, I struggled with this book. In fact, I ended up skimming the last half of the book. There was so much minutae to sift through -- facts and figures, multiple POVs for a given situation or event -- that it bogged down the reading. I did learn a lot about Redford as a person and the writing seemed balanced between positive and negative, but I sifted through many of the extraneous details to streamline the reading and see the "big picture." The book does have a nice ...more
Since I listened to this book on the road, my journey was very pleasant, losing myself in RR's story. The narrator at times sounds exactly like Redford. It certainly helps to have seen all of Redford's films, so this book may be enjoyed more by mature readers than younger ones who may not have seen all his films. This new knowledge of the "behind the scenes" struggles to get a movie to the screen makes me want to see several of the movies again with newly educated eyes. This was a thoroughly eng ...more
A pretty good bio of one of Hollywood's top actors — and activists.

Two biggest takeaways? Redford is a control freak. Perhaps because of that, Redford is disorganized. (On time, and his well-known-in-Hollywood lateness, I'm not sure whether that's a manifestation of being a control freak, or of disorganization.)

We learn a fair amount about his drive to preserve the Sundance area, and create the festival, etc. there. And we see his two big issues at work here, just as much as on the movie set.
a PRETTY DRY BIOGRAPHY. I did enjoy the differnt folks he was very close to - Natalie Wood for one. It was also interesting that his father came from the Westerly/ Pawcatuck area and his Grandfather worked eventually at Electric Boat. A LOT about the financial aspects of his SUNDANCE ranch and finding the $$ TO Supplement his vision. This is his life's obsession. OK - but left me HOPING for more, and this was a lengthy book. Frankly, I dont think there is any more there!
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