Aug 29, 2014

Robert Redford on Gay Rights

When I was in high school, the heterosexual girls and gay boys swooned over a trio of adult actors who epitomized cool: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford.

Redford, who was already in his 40s, didn't have a particularly buffed physique, but he made up for it with a mischievous smile, a gleam in his eye, and the hint of superheroic sexual prowess.  

He came to Hollywood in 1960, and did the rounds of tv guest spots before getting his big break as a morally-dubious movie star in Inside Daisy Clover (1965).

Barefoot in the Park (1967) was the standard "uptight guy meets free spirit girl" romance that we've seen a billion times before, but for some reason it resonated with 1960s audiences, proving that Redford could play a hetero-romantic lead.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1968) was the standard "cowboys in love" romance that we've seen a billion times before, but it also resonated with 1960s audiences, proving that Redford could play gay-subtext buddy-bonding.

He spent the next decade doing both.

Hetero-romance: The Way We Were (1973), The Great Gatsby (1974), Three Days of the Condor (1975).

Gay subtext buddy-bonding: with Michael Pollard in Little Fauss and Big Halsey (1970), George Segal in The Hot Rock (1972),  Dustin Hoffman in All the President's Men (1976).

No explicit gay characters, and he claims he wasn't even aware of the gay subtexts at the time.

During the 1980s, Redford's roles became fewer, as he moved into production, fostering independent films.  He started the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and the Sundance TV Channel.

Park City, Utah, north of Provo, the heart of Mormon homophobia?  Is

He hasn't made a lot of pro-gay statements, but in 2013 he spoke in favor of marriage equality at an event sponsored by Equality Utah.  "Utah is changing," he said.  

Maybe Redford is changing, too.

See also: Michael J. Pollard, Lost Boy

1 comment:

  1. i have made this comment for years about Bob Redford in 1978 or 1979 perhaps both years he taught a class at BYU Provo on environmental concerns i thought it ironic he came to class via Helicopter he lost his drivers license too many speeding tickets in his Porsche oh well i got to know him really well i knew his best friend Stan Collins who was the manager of the brokerage firm i had my account and often i would see Bob in the office when he saw me he came up to ask me if i was stalking him i laffed tho he didn't think it was funny i said NO i came here daily after the market closes to see my account balances etc he said u have an account here? i said yes i opened it the first day i enrolled at the Y and he said well how are u doing and i said well i started with 2500 dollars and i now have 68K we talked for about 2 hours and he said he had to get home he was going to be interviewed by UTAH Mag and i said do u need a ride home? he said YES how did u know and i said i hear the helicopter land right before class starts he did the redford grin and he said hmmm u r bright i said thanks and the girl that is doing the interview her name is Heather Campbell he said how the heck did u know that and i said im dating Heather and she is brilliant and her mom is Beverly Campbell so heads up Beverly at the time was the National Spokesperson for the LDS Church and Nancy Reagan's publicist the simple things i ran into attending BYU


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