Inside Robert Redford’s Fatherhood Overshadowed by the Tragic Deaths of His 2 Sons
Legendary Hollywood actor Robert Redford is a proud father of four children, but unfortunately, he has experienced personal tragedy following the deaths of two of his sons.
Actor Robert Redford is famous for his roles in famed movies like "The Sting" and "The Way We Were." In addition to acting, he is also an exceptional director, producer, entrepreneur, and founder of the Sundance Institute.
On August 18, 1936, Robert was born in Santa Monica, California, and has become one of Hollywood's most decorated stars. He is a two-time Oscar winner and has many other accolades to his name.
Pictures of actor Robert Redford, his former wife, Lola Van Wangenen and their kids | Photo: Getty Images
Robert has been married twice in his lifetime. Although his marriages have been successful, he has endured personal tragedies after losing two of his four children. Find out more about Robert's life, marriages, and children.
Robert has been married twice: to his current wife, Sibylle Szaggars, and his former wife, Lola Van Wagenen. He and Lola's love story began in the 1950s.
At the time, Robert lived in Paris, where he studied art, culture, and international affairs. After studying for a year and a half, he returned home and met Lola, an American historian, in Los Angeles.
Robert Redford at the Cesar Film Awards 2019 on February 22, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images
They instantly fell in love and married in 1958. Following his move to New York City, Robert started studying at Pratt Institute, where he became enamored with acting.
He started a family with Lola while juggling his rising acting career. The couple soon became the parents of four children, sons Scott and James and daughters Shauna and Amy.
As the couple raised their kids, Robert's career reached newer heights in the late 1960s as he starred in multiple hit movies.
Robert Redford at The Newseum on April 18, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images
Although Robert's professional career was becoming increasingly successful, his personal life was a struggle. Consequently, he and Lola called it quits on their marriage in 1985.
After their divorce, Robert spent more than a decade focusing on fatherhood and his film career. However, he met his second spouse, Szaggars, in 1996. They dated for 13 years before finally tying the knot in Hamburg, Germany, in 2009.
Since getting married, they have remained together and appeared at award shows, red carpet events, and other outings.
Robert Redford at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in January 2020 | Photo: Getty Images.
Robert has accomplished so much in his career but has remained a dedicated father to his kids through it all. He also regards his offspring as his greatest accomplishment.
He shares his four children with his ex-wife. The former couple became parents for the first time in 1958 when they welcomed their son, Scott Anthony Redford.
However, Scott's life ended tragically two months after his birth due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Robert and Lola were devastated by their newborn son's death and held an intimate service for him.
Lola Van Wagenen and Robert Redford at the 53rd Annual Academy Awards | Photo: Getty Images
In a chat with People, Robert described Scott's death as a tough hit as he was their first child. He revealed he and Lola were in New York, broke, and found matters challenging at the time.
On November 15, 1960, Robert and Lola welcomed their second child and first daughter Shauna. Despite not following in her father's acting footsteps, Shauna became a highly successful artist.
She is a prolific painter and is married to a journalist named Eric Schlosser. Before marrying Schlosser, Shauna endured tragedy when her fiancé, Sid Wells, was murdered in Boulder, Colorado, in 1983.
Robert Redford, Lola Van Wagenen, Jamie, and Shauna in New York City on June 15, 1969 | Photo: Getty Images
Unfortunately, Wells' murder marked another tragic moment in Robert's life. The actor broke off from making the movie "The Natural" to comfort his grieving daughter and attend Wells' funeral.
Shauna has done well to overcome that tragedy and find love again. She excels as a painter and is also a proud mom of two children, Mica and Conor.
Robert and Lola welcomed their third child and second son David James Redford in 1962. James shared a striking resemblance to his father and followed in his footsteps by becoming a documentary filmmaker and activist.
James was born seven weeks premature and suffered severe hyaline membrane disease, a respiratory condition that almost took his life. Doctors gave the infant a 40-60% chance of surviving, and when he did survive, his parents were relieved.
However, James endured a lifetime of ill health. He suffered ulcerative colitis that almost killed him and his colon had to be removed. Ultimately, James suffered liver failure and required two transplants at 30 years old.
The first liver transplant was unsuccessful, and he had to endure 12 terrible weeks of pain. The second transplant had its complications but was ultimately successful, and James became healthy again.
Robert Redford and son James Redford in Hollywood, California in November 2003 | Photo: Getty Images
His dad was with him throughout his travails. James was filled with gratitude after surviving multiple health scares and founded the James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about organ and tissue donation, in 1995.
In 2005, James and Robert founded The Redford Center, a non-profit organization that uses the power of storytelling to impact a movement toward environmental justice, protection, and repair.
Unfortunately, James died on October 16, 2020, following a battle with liver cancer. He was survived by his wife, Kyle, and their two children, Dylan and Lena. Robert's youngest child is Amy Hart Redford. She followed in her famous father's footsteps by becoming an actress.
James Redford and Robert Redford at The Redford Center's Benefit at August Hall on December 6, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images
Amy studied dramatic arts at San Francisco State University and has appeared in several television shows and films, including "Sex and the City" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
Like her dad and older brother, James, Amy is also into directing. She produced and directed the 2008 film "The Guitar," which starred Saffron Burrows. She also produced the movie "Professor Marston & The Wonder Women" and the documentary "Aperture."
Amy has been married to actor Matthew August since June 29, 2008, and shares a child with him. She was previously married to Mark Mann.
Robert Redford speaks onstage during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival | Photo: Getty Images
Robert is 85 years old now and has experienced much personal tragedy in his life. However, he manages to hide his heartbreak and only revealed a little about them in the biography "Robert Redford," which he authorized and was written by Michael Callan.
It is remarkable how the superstar hid such pain and kept going in the face of multiple tragedies. Hopefully, he will have more joys and laughter for the rest of his life.
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