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Robert Redford’s 1st Crippling Experience with Child Loss Came Decades before His Son James’ Passing

Joe Akins
Aug 23, 2021
03:30 A.M.
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Iconic actor Robert Redford has had an incredible career spanning several decades, but deep within, the actor battles the grief of outliving two of his sons.

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85-year-old actor Robert Redford is one of the most decorated actors. With two Academy Awards to his name, Redford has seen it all; however, it is his personal tragedies that have left a scar on his heart.

Redford’s life is filled with the pain and sorrow of losing his children. Last year, the legendary actor lost his son James, but that was not his first time battling such grief. His first child loss happened decades earlier.

Robert Redford at the Cesar Film Awards 2019 on February 22, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images

Robert Redford at the Cesar Film Awards 2019 on February 22, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images

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LOSING HIS NEWBORN

In the 1950s, Redford’s career was going up the hill, having found himself wanted on many sets. It was during that time the “The Sting” actor decided to start a family.

Redford welcomed first-born son Scott with ex-wife Lola Van Wagenen in September 1959. Unfortunately, the newborn was not around for too long as he died two months later from sudden infant death syndrome.

Robert Redford at The Newseum on April 18, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images

Robert Redford at The Newseum on April 18, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images

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Scott’s death was a fatal blow for Redford and his wife. The former couple held an intimate service for their toddler as they battled the grief of their loss. Later on, the duo welcomed three other children before their divorce.

Redford later found refuge in his marriage to a young Lola Van Wagenen.

Robert Redford at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in January 2020 |  Photo: Getty Images.

Robert Redford at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in January 2020 | Photo: Getty Images.

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LOSING JAMES

Tragedy struck the retired actor for the second time following the death of his son James who was 58 at the time of his tragic death. The news of James's death was undoubtedly a huge blow to the aged actor and his family.

James was reportedly diagnosed with liver cancer. He learned of his diagnosis while awaiting a liver transplant. Prior to his death, the 58-year-old had a series of health concerns. Upon his death, his family asked for privacy as they mourned his loss.

James Redford and Robert Redford at The Redford Center's Benefit at August Hall on December 6, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images

James Redford and Robert Redford at The Redford Center's Benefit at August Hall on December 6, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images

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REDFORD’S BIGGEST REGRET

Although the 85-year-old had dreamed of a career, he also had regrets along the way. Having had a rough childhood, Redford had his mom to thank for turning his life around for the better.

The actor described his mother as supportive and loving, but unfortunately, she died before she could see her son become all she had hoped for, and this is Redford’s biggest regret — he never got to thank her.

Robert Redford, Lola Van Wagenen, Jamie, and Shauna in New York City on June 15, 1969 | Photo: Getty Images

Robert Redford, Lola Van Wagenen, Jamie, and Shauna in New York City on June 15, 1969 | Photo: Getty Images

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Redford later found refuge in his marriage to a young Lola Van Wagenen, who he was married to for 27 years. The couple divorced afterward, with Redford confirming that his growing fame in Hollywood put a strain on their relationship.

Hopefully, the legendary actor would get to live the rest of his life basking in the love and comfort of his children and his illustrious career.

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