James Redford, the son of actor and filmmaker Robert Redford, died Friday, Oct. 16, at age 58. He died at his home in Marin County, Calif., after a battle with bile-duct cancer in his liver, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, and had been awaiting a liver transplant.
His death was confirmed by his wife, Kyle Redford, on Twitter.
“James died today. We’re heartbroken. He lived a beautiful, impactful life & was loved by many,” Kyle wrote in a tweet, which included several family photos. “As his wife of 32 yrs, I’m most grateful for the two spectacular children we raised together. I don’t know what we would’ve done w/o them over the past 2yrs.”
In 2005, James and his father co-founded the Redford Center, which “uses impact-driven film and media to accelerate environmental and climate justice, solutions and repair,” according to its website. Its executive director, Jill Tidman, shared a lengthy remembrance of James on Instagram, saying, “With Jamie came love and contagious joy. He approached everything he did with kindness and warmth, and an openness that spread itself easily among others.”
Robert Redford, now 84, has not issued a statement.
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It is with profound sadness that we grieve the loss of James Redford, our Co-Founder, our inspiration and our friend. With Jamie came love and contagious joy. He approached everything he did with kindness and warmth, and an openness that spread itself easily among others. Jamie worked tirelessly to build a healthier world for us all, and particularly for those most in need of support. He always led with his enormous heart and was guided by his curiosity and creative spirit. He was a fierce protector of the natural world and believed that everyone deserved a healthy environment in which they could thrive and play. As a filmmaker, writer and activist, Jamie was intentional and inspirational. As a father, husband, brother, son and a friend to so many – he was a devout supporter, always full of hope. He will be greatly and intensely missed. The Redford Center extends our deepest sympathy and love to Jamie’s family. We ask that you hold them close in your heart as we move forward in Jamie’s name and walk proudly in his footsteps. Together we will carry forward his big and beautiful legacy. – Jill Tidman, Executive Director
Like his legendary father, James was a filmmaker, though his work was primarily in the documentary field. He told the Salt Lake Tribune in 2003 that many people had expectations that he would follow a similar path to his dad.
“I’ve grown up with a sense that there’s always a preconception,” he said. “Over time, I’ve just learned to shrug it off . . . I just am who I am.”
The first film he directed, the 2003 drama “Spin,” starred Dana Delany, who offered her own condolences on Twitter, calling him a “special man.”
“I feel lucky our paths crossed,” Delany, 64, added.
James’ first documentary, however, was 2012’s “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia,” which was inspired by his son, Dylan. Since then he directed films about the dangers of chemical flame-retardants (2013’s “Toxic Hot Seat”), a high school’s issues with traumatized teens (2013’s “Paper Tigers”) and more. His most recent, “Playing for Keeps,” examines “the importance of play and downtime for all of us — children, adults, seniors,” according to its official description. It premiered earlier this month at the Mill Valley Film Festival in San Rafael, Calif.
His wife also told the Salt Lake Tribune that at the time of his death he was finishing a documentary, “Where the Past Begins,” about “The Joy Luck Club” author Amy Tan for PBS’ “American Masters.”
James is survived by his wife, Kyle, and their children, Dylan and Lena.
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