Robert Redford has turned 75 Thursday, and commentators are congratulating the actor whom they say represents an era of Hollywood that is long gone.
“It’s not just Redford, it’s what he represents,” wrote Gael Fashingbauer Cooper on Today Entertainment. “The kind of actor who made classy, smart movies, from ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ to ‘All the Presidents Men.’ The kind of actor who didn’t spend time getting caught up in tabloid trivia.”
The actor was born Charles Robert Redford Jr. on August 18, 1936 in Santa Monica, California.
He attended Van Nuys High School in Los Angeles, California and went on to the University of Colorado.
Redford studied painting at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn after college and took classes in theatrical set design at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
He began acting in television and on stage in 1959.
He made guest star appearances in programs such as “The Untouchables”, “Whispering Smith”, “Perry Mason” and “The Twilight Zone.”
Redford broke out into film with “War Hunt,” a 1962 movie also starring John Saxon.
He went on to have an extremely successful career in movies including some of his most notable roles in films such as, “The Great Gatsby,” “All the Presidents Men,” “A Bridge Too Far,” and “The Natural.”
The actor also had his hand in directing, and shot his first film “Ordinary People” in 1969, for which he won a best-picture Oscar. Since then Redford has directed other films such as “The Legend of Baggar Vance,” “A River Runs Through It” and “Quiz Show.”
Redford has also contributed the benefits of his success to a good cause; he founded the Sundance Film Festival which caters to independent filmmakers in the U.S. He coined the name for the festival from playing the Sundance kid in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
The actor is also an avid supporter of environmentalism.
He’s currently directing “The Company You Keep,” a film that sports an all star cast including Shia LaBeouf, Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon.
“The Company You Keep” should hit the fall festival in 2012.