A true movie star’s appeal is often rooted in some kind of fundamental mystery. The Broadway producers of “Barefoot in the Park” in the mid ’60s were first to catch it in Robert Redford — a thoughtfulness and reflective quality that never interrupted the rhythm of his performance. No actor has made a greater art of restraint.
His film choices have been for the most part impeccable and include a number of classics, including “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Way We Were,” “The Sting” and “All the President’s Men.”
When the flaxen-haired, square-jawed star became disillusioned with the pretty-boy roles Hollywood tended to serve up, he went his own way by producing less-than-flattering portraits of the American Dream like “Downhill Racer” and “The Candidate.”
His debut as a director landed him an Oscar for “Ordinary People,” but unlike Eastwood and Costner, he’s kept his work in front of the camera and behind separate. As the primary force behind the Sundance Institute and subsequent festival, Redford went from the studios’ Golden Boy to Indie Kingpin.