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By Molly McGonigle
Robert Redford has made a name for himself as a skilled filmmaker and cultivator of the film industry via the Sundance Film Festival. But behind the glory, Robert Redford has had his own personal struggles. The actor/director talked to AARP Magazine about losing his child, dealing with fame and trying to age gracefully.
On the death of his five-month-old son from SIDS in 1959:
"It was really hard. We were very young. I had my first theater job, which didn't pay much. We didn't know anything about SIDS, so the only thing you think is that you've done something wrong. As a parent, you tend to blame yourself. That creates a scar that probably never completely heals."
On keeping his personal life private:
"When I got into the business, I had this naïve idea that I'd let my work speak for me. I just was never interested in talking about myself."
On embracing getting older:
"When Jane Fonda, whom I'm very close to -- I've done three films with her -- turned 40, she sent me a note: 'Please come to my 40th birthday celebration.' I wrote her back and said, 'When I turned 40, I went into hiding!' We're very different in how we celebrate ourselves."
On how he's dealt with fame:
"I dealt with it the way I wanted to. I felt that if you were fortunate enough to have success, you should shadowbox with it but never embrace it, because it has a demon side."
On being called a "living legend":
"That really bothers me. Does that mean I'm bronzed? Whoa! It's not over yet, folks!"
On continuing his career:
"There are movies I want to make. For a long time I've wanted to do a thriller. I like being scared, and I like scaring. And I want to keep acting, though I think the business has concluded that I don't want to act anymore."
On his latest directorial project, "The Conspirator":
"We don't seem to learn from our own history. But whatever parallels exist are up to the audience to find; it won't be a needle in a haystack. My focus is on the emotional arc of the characters. What I loved about this story was the two characters who start off at opposite sides and move together and across each other."
On his second wife of two years, Sibylle Szaggars:
"She's a very special person. She's younger than I am, and European, which I like, so that's a whole new life."
On staying active at 74:
"I ride horses, ski, play pretty hard tennis. I still have energy. When that starts to shut down, I might start to think about age."
On becoming an actor:
"I never imagined being an actor. I wanted to get a formal education in art so I could go back to Europe and paint."
On his faith:
"I believe in the power, the energy, that nature puts in place."
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