Academy Award winner Robert Redford has today announced he will retire from acting. The 81 year old is best remembered for the foundation of the now notorious Sundance Film Festival, along with a treasured career dating almost 60 years in length.
The retirement comes as a shock to many, Redford is a rare talent that could output films no matter his age. From early hitters such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) all the way up to All is Lost (2013) and A Walk in the Woods (2015). Redford’s career is varied to say the least, and its his work throughout generations upon generations that will keep him in high regard with audiences both past and present.
Redford has been acting since the age of 21. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he stated he’d pretty much had his fill of acting. It’s one thing to know when to leave the limelight, but it’s a whole new ball game when leaving of your own volition. Many old school Hollywood actors are clinging to their careers for dear life.
Acting no more
Redford has stated he wishes to continue directing movies, with no intention of leaving the Hollywood scene just yet. From the Academy Award Best Picture winner Ordinary People (1980) all the way to his most recent work on The Conspirator (2010). It seems that Redford is re-positioning his career, rather than retiring.
His final on screen role comes in the form of The Old Man and the Gun (2018). Redford has stated multiple times since 2016 that he would lend himself to two more films and then retire. The other film being Our Souls at Night (2017). Alongside Jane Fonda, he appeared in the Netflix exclusive, marking his penultimate on-screen role. A smaller profile role comes in the form of his work in another Netflix exclusive, The Discovery (2017).
A Hollywood Rarity
It’s very rare that an actor or director retires from Hollywood or the world of movies and television. One of the highest profile retirees would be Gene Hackman, the multi-Academy Award winning actor. Oscar winners Sean Connery and Jack Nicholson are also high profile retirees, however Nicholson is rumoured to be mounting a comeback. Retirement isn’t always permanent in Hollywood. But it does happen, and Redford can now be added to that evidently short list.
Redford himself is quite a rare and unique character too. His work in the independent film scene can easily be considered revolutionary. The founding of the Sundance Festival has paved the way for independent creators to share their work with critics and other independent film workers. It’s one of, if not the most important system in film. A place where creators can share their work with other creators. It’s infinitely helpful and we have Redford to thank for that.