After an illustrious acting career - only heightened by his creation of the Sundance Film Festival and support for independent film - Robert Redford announced his retirement from acting. At age 81, Redford has spent over 50 years in the industry and has decided it's time to slow things down. He has just finished up work on The Old Man & The Gun which is set to be the beloved actor's final film, capping off an extraordinary body of work.
Redford began his career with the 1962 film War Hunt, however Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) was the film that took his acting aspirations to the next level and made him a household name. Only increasing his involvement in the film world as he aged, Redford founded Sundance Productions and also directed many of his own films. Throughout his life he has found work as not only an actor on the big screen but on television and in the theater. The wide breadth of his career made way for many awards and honors bestowed upon him: he received the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, several honorary degrees, and an academy award for best director for his film Ordinary People.
The upsetting, yet not entirely surprising, news came to fans in an interview between Redford and EW. In the interview, Redford stated, "Never say never, but I pretty well concluded that this would be it for me in terms of acting, and [I'll] move towards retirement after this 'cause I've been doing it since I was 21," he said. "I thought, 'Well, that’s enough.' And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive?" The aging star, who gave viewers All The President's Men and 2017 one-man epic All Is Lost, is clearly warranted in his desire to take a break from life in front of, and behind, the camera. Previously, Redford announced his retirement from acting, though he went on to appear in films afterward.
Redford had the type of career many actors strive to achieve but cannot. He managed to remain relevant as times change and films reflect those changing times. In 2014, Redford played Alexander Pierce alongside Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson in Captain America: Winter Soldier to experience a new kind of filmmaking. At the time, he said, "One of the reasons that I did [Captain America: The Winter Soldier] was I wanted to experience this new form of filmmaking that’s taken over where you have kind of cartoon characters brought to life through high technology."
It takes a unique individual to adapt with the changing times. Redford not only managed to continue to challenge himself within his own career, but he provided a platform for others through his work with Sundance. He has had a long, enviable career that any actor should find great pride in - and audiences everywhere owe a plethora of films to this man who so securely left his stamp on the film industry as it is today. Though bittersweet, Redford's retirement from acting does not denote his disappearance from the film industry. His indelible legacy will continue on for generations.