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CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Profiles of Ex-Couple Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez; Profile of Robert Redford
Aired January 24, 2004 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, they're Hollywood's hottest couple: Jenny from the block and her sexiest man alive.
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PETER CASTRO, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Jen and Ben are the new Liz and Dick.
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ANNOUNCER: He's the Boston bred movie star who caught the acting bug early.
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BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: Hi, I'm Ben Affleck.
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ANNOUNCER: She came from the Bronx and danced her way to superstardom. Now, after being trashed by the critics...
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JENNIFER LOPEZ, ACTRESS: It means you're not my type. Good night.
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ANNOUNCER: ...and by the tabloids, the on-again, off-again Bennifer is endifer. Behind the break-up of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.
Then, he's the Hollywood icon who's never been comfortable with his golden boy image.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not the Sundance kid.
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ANNOUNCER: Before the bright lights of Hollywood, a restless teen searching for direction.
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BEVERLY KNUDSON, HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND: He thought he was going to die young.
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ANNOUNCER: And now, a film legend giving independent filmmakers their big break.
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ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR/FILMMAKER: It was meant to give a voice to people who weren't able to have one.
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ANNOUNCER: From the Sundance Kid to the Sundance Institute.
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MARY TYLER MOORE, ACTRESS: He's garnered a tremendous amount of respect for the independent producer.
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ANNOUNCER: A look at veteran actor and director, Robert Redford. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi. Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn.
Ben and Jen, Bennifer, on-again, off-again, and now, officially over. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have called it quits. Perhaps the most overexposed, over hyped Hollywood romance ever is history. The celebrity couple broke up this week, bringing to an end an honesty that for better or worse, captivated a nation. Here' Kyra Phillips.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was one of the most celebrated and scrutinized couplings in Hollywood history, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. They were young. They were beautiful. They were madly in love. And with that merger 25 months ago, the world dubbed them Bennifer and eagerly watched every move they made.
LARRY SUTTON, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: The media is always looking for attractive young people who capture our imagination. And in the case of Ben and J. Lo, you've got it. So when the two come together, it's a terrific story.
PHILLIPS: But now, it seems the fairytale is no more. J. Lo is J. No. On Thursday, Lopez's publicist announced the diva had ended her engagement to Affleck. It's a split of seismic proportions, but then again, it's not the first time this duo has rocked the headlines. AFFLECK: If you want to, you can, you know, take half of my bed.
CYNTHIA SANZ, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Their movie, "Gigli," opened and really tanked, and they got trashed by the critics. And then, they had all this sort of tabloid commotion about Ben's trip to a strip club.
PHILLIPS: Followed by infamous September wedding, which they cancelled just days before walking down the aisle.
CASTRO: Jen and Ben are the new Liz and Dick. I mean the parallel to Richard Burton and Liz Taylor are glaring.
PHILLIPS: The journey of one half of Bennifer began in Berkeley, California. He was born Benjamin Geza Affleck on August 15, 1972. And while his birth certificate reads California, he will always be claimed Boston's native son.
SUTTON: Ben Affleck probably had one of the most normal upbringings you could think of for a movie star. His mom was a schoolteacher. His dad worked as a school janitor. He worked for maintenance in the school system.
AFFLECK: Hi, I'm Ben Affleck.
PHILLIPS: Affleck was bit by the acting bug early in life. At 8 years old, the bowl-haired Ben landed his first role starring as C.T. Granville in the PBS educational series "The Voyage of the Mimi."
But in 1984, the 12-year-old's world would be shattered. His parents, Tim and Chris Affleck, filed for divorce. Tim Affleck, who was battling alcoholism, moved back to California, leaving Ben and younger brother, Casey, to be raised by their mother.
SUTTON: I think it's difficult for any 12-year-old when your mother and your father break up. It wasn't just a simple divorce. His father went cross-country out to California.
PHILLIPS: Continuing his early work as an actor, he landed a role on a 1986 ABC After School Special called "Wanted: A Perfect Man."
PHILLIPS: In the late '80s, Ben honed his acting chops. He was cast in commercials for Burger King and starred in award-winning theater productions at his high school, Cambridge Rindge and Latin.
And it was in these hallways and on this stage that Ben would solidify a friendship that would pay huge dividends down the road.
SUTTON: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon met as kids. When they were in high school, I think Ben was probably the big dreamer, the schemer. Matt Damon was probably more of a hard working guy. But it was Ben, I think, who said come on, one day, we're going to Hollywood. PHILLIPS: After leaving high school and spending a few semesters in college, Affleck went to Hollywood, quickly landing a television series called "Against the Grain."
He also took bit roles in movies like "School Ties" and "Dazed and Confused."
LEAH ROZEN, MOVIE CRITIC, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: When you first saw Ben Affleck, he was a supporting actor. He was sort of this big, imposing, slightly pudgy guy who often played a meanie.
PHILLIPS: But it would not be until he and his best friend, Matt Damon, sat down and wrote a script that Hollywood would really take notice and a legendary tale would be born.
AFFLECK: In 20 years, if you're still living here, coming over to my house, watching the Patriots games, still working construction, I'll (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kill you.
LAURA RAPOSA, "BOSTON HERALD": "Good Will Hunting" was an incredible script, you know. And Miramax at the time bought it, $600,000. We knew they were pretty big, but nobody in town did. You know they weren't household names like other people in Boston.
PHILLIPS: Two-hundred and twenty-five million dollars later, Affleck and Damon were household names around the globe. And come Oscar time, Best Original Screenplay nominations rang out for the childhood buddies.
ROZEN: How could voters not go for it? Here are these two guys. They're both kind of the hot young stars of Hollywood. They've written this script. The movie has done well. They're young. They're personable. They're cute, give them the Oscar.
PHILLIPS: At 25 years old, Ben Affleck was now a member of Hollywood's elite.
AFFLECK: Oscar! Oscar!
PHILLIPS: With his pick of scripts, the next would be the 1998 summer blockbuster, "Armageddon."
It was about this time that Hollywood's hunky heartthrob started dating another hot young star, Gwyneth Paltrow. While people were clamoring over the young couple, they seemed an odd match.
SUTTON: Ben is very much of a down-to-earth guy. Gwyneth Paltrow, I think, cares a little bit more about her image.
PHILLIPS: Ben and Gwyn would be on and off for a while. But eventually the couple would bounce on to new relationships. But Ben's penchant for casinos, late nights and drinking caused him to step back and re-evaluate his life. In August 2001, he checked himself into an alcohol rehab, a preemptive measure on Affleck's part, according to a press release. RAPOSA: I think he wanted it known that he was trying to get help and he was trying to better himself. And I think people applaud that.
SUTTON: You have to remember his father was an alcoholic. His father successfully checked himself into a program and has remained sober ever since. And Ben just saw that he was getting perhaps a little too wild.
PHILLIPS: When our story continues, she came from the Bronx and launched a multimedia frenzy, the story of Jennifer Lopez.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): She's been dubbed the ultimate triple threat, a supernova, a super diva, an entertainment machine.
ROZEN: This girl works it. She wants to be a movie star. She's willing to do whatever it takes to be a movie star. She's got the singing career. She's got the clothing line. She's got the perfume. She is making hay while the sun shines.
PHILLIPS: And now it seems she's getting back to her roots. No longer J. Lo, she's Jenny. And as her latest album professes...
LOPEZ (singing): I'm still Jenny from the block.
PHILLIPS: Jenny from the block will always remember where she came from.
DAVID WILD, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": No one handed her superstardom. She pulled it, you know? She snatched it from the jaws of defeat.
PHILLIPS: Here is a tale of a powerful ambition. We begin our story on the block where it all began.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black Rock and Castle Hill, J. Lo's block.
PHILLIPS: She was born Jennifer Lynn Lopez, on July 24, 1970, in the Bronx. And for 18 years, her home was here at 2210 Black Rock Avenue.
LOPEZ: It is not like, you know, Fort Apache, like everybody thinks. I grew up in a house, believe it or not in a very nice neighborhood. I went to school across the street. It was a nice neighborhood, a very mixed neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She used to come to get her pizza almost every day. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My cousin, right, he went out with her around right here.
PHILLIPS: The middle of three sisters, her parents were Puerto Rican. Her mother, Guadalupe, taught school, her father, David, worked with computers. Money came and went, but one thing always remained.
CASTRO: Music and dance were always a really important part of her life. Jennifer, her sisters and her mom would watch musicals on TV, listen to records, Broadway, salsa. I mean she had a very varied artistic education at home. She watched "West Side Story," you know, ad infinitum.
PHILLIPS: By 1987, with 12 years of dance and a high school diploma under her belt, she set her sights on New York City. Already a fixture at local dance clubs, she dreamed of making money off her moves.
With her nose pressed against the window of the number six subway train, she watched the Bronx disappear. A semester of college and two years of dance followed, but auditions went nowhere. Until 1990, she was 20 years old and handpicked out of 2,000 dancers for a sexy slot on a Fox comedy show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): "In Living Color."
CASTRO: I remember watching "In Living Color" and thinking, "Wow, that girl is really hot." And she was, you know, she's like -- you know, boundless energy.
PHILLIPS: But the little screen wasn't big enough for the Bronx bombshell. And in 1995, at the age of 25, Jennifer Lopez made her big screen debut.
"Mi Familia" wasn't a tremendous success but it did get her noticed. From there, she went on, of course, to "Selena," which was really the first big J. Lo moment.
ROZEN: This is the role that any actress with an ounce of Hispanic blood in her wanted. And she won it.
JENNIFER LOPEZ, ACTRESS/MUSICIAN: Really all I want to do with this is to do a good job and make everybody proud and give Selena her justice.
PHILLIPS: And in March 1997, she did just that. "Selena" opened to glowing reviews.
LOPEZ: Even though it's hard work, this is it. It doesn't get any better than this.
PHILLIPS: And the actress was glowing herself. Just one month prior to the film's release, she had married for the very first time.
CASTRO: The story goes that she's, you know in a Miami restaurant, and Ojani Noah is the waiter. He comes over, takes the order, walks away and she turns to her friend and says, "That guy is beautiful. One day I'm going to marry that guy."
PHILLIPS: But the honeymoon was short lived. The couple quickly drifted apart. One year later in 1998, the credits rolled on their yearlong marriage.
Her career, however, was flourishing, from red carpets to behind the scenes. Jennifer Lopez was fast becoming Hollywood's new "it" girl. Opposite George Clooney, "Out of Sight," brought her to the A- list.
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: Hi.
PHILLIPS: The film's junket also brought front and center a decidingly tightlipped star.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything you want to tell us about your love life here?
PHILLIPS: She was silent for a reason. Reports were linking her to then married music mogul, Sean "Puffy" Combs. Their romance wouldn't be announced until the following year, just in time for the debut of Jennifer Lopez, pop star.
WILD: I think "On the 6" just surprised people because actress makes album. It's an old story, and it's usually a pretty bleak one. And yet, it had a couple of great hits.
PHILLIPS: Two number one singles, endless music videos.
LOPEZ (singing): Waiting for tonight.
WILD: They're hot.
PHILLIPS: And one gravity defying green dress later...
LOPEZ: Versace. I saw the color of it, and I had to have this dress.
PHILLIPS: ... Jennifer Lopez, superstar, had arrived. With the producing help of Combs, "On the 6" went triple platinum. P. Diddy and his soon to be J. Lo were now the toast of the town.
CASTRO: It was an interesting match, you know. And as a result, a lot of fireworks happened.
PHILLIPS: Those fireworks turned into gunplay on November 27, 1999.
SEAN COMBS, MUSICIAN: I had nothing to do with a shooting in this club.
PHILLIPS: It was a headline-making story, shots in a New York nightclub and the arrest of Sean Combs. Questioned for 14 hours and released, girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez. The media circled.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's over. And she's completely exonerated.
PHILLIPS: Combs was later found not guilty, but the damage to the relationship was done.
CASTRO: The fact that she spent all that time in that police precinct after the gunplay in that nightclub, it was just, you know, "I'm out of here."
ANNOUNCER: Coming up, the scandalous beginning and the shocking end of Bennifer.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): After the breakup of her high profile and headline grabbing relationship with Sean "Puffy" Combs, the Jennifer Lopez machine just kept on going.
And in January 2001, a historic first: "The Wedding Planner" opened at number one, just as her sophomore album, "J. Lo," nabbed the number one spot on Billboard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call it Jennifer Lopez week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then also coming up...
LOPEZ: The week of J. Lo.
PHILLIPS: What was also making headlines was her whirlwind relationship with Cris Judd, a backup dancer for the video "Love Don't Cost a Thing."
The buff Judd, it seemed, was anything but Puffy.
CASTRO: Cris Judd is from a town called Niceville in Florida. I mean I'm not making that up. You know it's like out of central casting.
PHILLIPS: Judd and J. Lo's romance was barely made public when wedding bells were ringing. The couple married just three months after meeting.
CASTRO: She needs just to be coddled and taken care of and that's what he was. And he fit the role perfectly.
PHILLIPS: Following the honeymoon, Mrs. Judd went back to business. She quickly signed on to play a female gangster in "Gigli," sharing the lead billing, fellow actor, Ben Affleck.
SUTTON: He was smitten with her immediately. I think as close as love at first sight as you can get.
PHILLIPS: It may have been love for Affleck, but a hurdle still remained in the form of Cris Judd. Mild flirtation between the two, including flowers sent by Affleck, was in evidence at the opening of J. Lo's new restaurant, Madre, on April 15, 2002.
Shortly after the opening she filed for divorce. J. Lo's marriage had lasted 108 days.
SUTTON: Once she broke up with her husband, he moved right in.
PHILLIPS: The new lovebirds made their relationship public before the ink had dried on the diva's divorce papers. And the media spotlight honed in on the sexy new power couple.
Things heated up even further when Jenny from the block began Jenny with the rock.
RAPOSA: So, apparently Ben is really a romantic. He had candles on the stairs and rose petals on the floor. And read Jennifer this letter, and then gave her a 6-carat pink diamond engagement ring from Harry Winston.
PHILLIPS: News of the engagement became fodder for late night talk shows and led to questions from the media. Would Ben and Jen crash and burn like so many other Hollywood romances?
ROZEN: I think a lot of people are laying bets on just how long will this last?
PHILLIPS: What followed was a radical transformation as Ben began a slave to fashion. For Jen, it was a makeover of a different sort, trying to change her diva-like image. Rumors had circulated about Lopez's demanding ways, claims were made about requirements concerning room temperature, bottles of Evian, white flowers, white dressing rooms, and 400-thred count bed sheets.
CASTRO: Well, you get demanding when you become a star and a celebrity. I'm sure Joey Lawrence on "Blossom" was demanding in his hay day.
PHILLIPS: But by August of 2003, the Bennifer union was beginning to show cracks. The much-hyped "Gigli" got trashed by critics and grossed just $3.8 million, which was nearly the budget for their September 14 wedding, a ceremony they cancelled, blaming excessive media attention. A brief break-up and quick reconciliation followed. But by mid January, the buzz began to build once more. Where was Jen's 6.1-carat engagement ring? Why was Ben alone in Paris? Why did J. Lo just last week spend an evening with old flame, Sean P. Diddy Combs?
On Thursday, it was the news heard round the globe, Jen and Ben officially no more. A brief comment came from the J. Lo camp. "Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck. At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy." Affleck's publicist declined to comment.
Seemingly, this love story did not have a Hollywood ending and yet, who really knows, this could be just another day in the life of Bennifer.
CASTRO: I wouldn't be surprised if they get married, get divorced, and get married again, you know? They're the new Liz and Dick, right?
ZAHN: Ben and J. Lo may be over in real life, but they'll live on in the movies. Hollywood's former it couple stars together once again in the upcoming movie, "Jersey Girl," which opens in March.
ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, he's the film legend who's become a champion of the independent film.
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REDFORD: There is no end game to Sundance. There's purposely no end game.
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ANNOUNCER: The guy who gives new chances to his Sundance kids. Robert Redford up next.
ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
Robert Redford seems to have been born to play the leading man. His looks, his presence, but Redford is what you might call a reluctant movie star. True, he's world famous. His Sundance Film Festival rivals Cannes in popularity and prestige. And for the first time, a movie starring Redford just premiered at Sundance. Well, despite all the hype and hustle, Redford remains intensively private. That lends an intriguing bit of mystery to this very powerful force in Hollywood and independent film. Here's Bill Hemmer.
PAUL NEWMAN, ACTOR: I'll jump first.
NEWMAN: Then you jump first.
REDFORD: No, I said.
NEWMAN: What's the matter with you? REDFORD: I can't swim.
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Robert Redford, to his legions of fans, he'll forever be known as the Sundance Kid. The 1968 classic made him a movie star, but it's what he's done with his fame that has made him a legend.
LARRY HACKETT, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: I don't think it's unfair to argue that Robert Redford could be seen as the single most important person in independent film.
MOORE: He's garnered a tremendous amount of respect for the independent producer.
HEMMER: Redford founded the Sundance Institute in 1981, a tranquil haven for filmmaking, nestled in the mountains of Utah. It boasts a who's who of famous alumni, and one of the most respected film festivals in the world.
REDFORD: There was no Hollywood in the beginning, no celebrities and certainly no fashion, and no press. And so, it was like a big nothing out there, but it was sure fun.
ROZEN: Two things come to mind when you think of Robert Redford. You think blonde, but you also think this is the guy more than almost anyone else in the industry has given back to the industry. This is a guy who doesn't just take from Hollywood.
HEMMER: Charles Robert Redford Jr. was born on August 18, 1937 in Santa Monica, California, the only child to Martha, a homemaker, and Charles Sr., a milkman.
JAMES SPADA, BIOGRAPHER: He was closer to his mother than he was to his father. His father was a very hard-working man, rarely around. His mother, he said, was a very loving woman, a woman who had a great capacity to enjoy life.
HEMMER: As a young boy, Redford loved the great outdoors. He also loved making up his own rules, and developed a habit for being late.
MOORE: He said he remembers exactly when it happened to him. He would go off riding his little tricycle, and his mother would say, "You be sure you be home before dark, you hurry home." And something in him just reared and said, "No. I won't hurry. I will not go home."
HEMMER: Following World War II, Charles Redford Sr. began work as an accountant and moved his family to the middle class suburb of Van Nuys, California. The move, however, did not solve growing family problems. Martha Redford was diagnosed with cancer. And a rebellious teenager soon emerged.
SPADA: He and his friends used to break into Hollywood studios, just broke a lot of stuff, just, you know, petty vandalism.
KNUDSON: He would always tell me he was going to die young. And when he was upset, he'd always drive so fast. It's amazing he never got killed, because we'd go over those Hollywood hills as fast as can be, and he'd always be in convertibles with the top down.
HEMMER: But the rebellious teen had an artistic side, too. He loved to write poetry and draw.
SPADA: He was a doodler and he would sketch a lot. And there are sketches in the yearbook that he did, which aren't really very good, but I'm sure he got better.
HEMMER: Redford was also passionate about sports. In 1955, he headed to the University of Colorado on a baseball scholarship.
REDFORD: Sports was a way, a kind of salvation for me during a troubled period when it was difficult to express my ambivalences and darker feelings.
HEMMER: But those dark feelings would only deepen. That same year, his mother, Martha, died of cancer. She was 41.
KNUDSON: He told me then that summer that his mother had died, and he was very sad. I felt badly, because I knew how much he loved her. I think Bob is a very private person, and I think he keeps a lot of his emotions to himself.
HEMMER: Following his mother's death, Redford turned to alcohol, skipping classes and baseball practice. He eventually lost his scholarship and dropped out.
KNUDSON: Bob was directionless. He just didn't know what he was doing, where he was going.
HEMMER: Until 1957, when he met Lola Van Wagenen, a college student from Utah, who lived in his Los Angeles apartment building. Persuading her new beau to stop drinking and continue as an artist, Redford moved to New York City and enrolled in the Pratt Institute to study scenic design. But his good looks would soon get in the way of an art career.
SPADA: A friend of his suggested, well, if you're going to design sets for the theater, why don't you take some acting classes?
HEMMER: Encouraged and content, Redford married his 18-year-old sweetheart on September 12, 1958. One year later, the couple welcomed a baby boy, Scott. But this joyous occasion was soon met with sorrow, when the infant died suddenly of crib death.
In 1959, people started talking about Redford the actor, when he debuted on Broadway in the comedy, "Tall Story." More offers followed, including David Merrick's "Sunday in New York." The television industry had also taken notice. A televised play of the week, "The Iceman Cometh," brought Redford front and center.
REDFORD: Oh, I get you. But, hell, I'm just about broke.
HEMMER: Followed by a memorable episode of "The Twilight Zone." REDFORD: I've been shot.
SPADA: You realize that this woman is about to die and that this policeman is really death in disguise, and she's let death into her.
REDFORD: Mother, give me your hand.
SPADA: I'm getting goose bumps just talking about it because it was a very effective half-hour. And he was terrific in it.
HEMMER: Coming up, Hollywood anoints Redford their golden boy, an image that angers and frustrates the reluctant superstar.
SYDNEY POLLACK, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: A fan passed him on the street once and said, "Are you Robert Redford?" And he said, without any hesitation, "Only when I'm alone."
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
HEMMER (voice-over): In 1961, 24-year-old Robert Redford made his big screen debut in the low budget film, "War Hunt."
REDFORD: How do you kill a man with a knife?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It takes knowledge and practice.
HEMMER: It was on this set that Redford met a young actor by the name of Sydney Pollack. Their friendship would span 40 years.
POLLACK: I didn't know who to talk to. I was slightly uncomfortable. And the only other guy on the set that was as quiet as I was was Redford.
HEMMER: Following "War Hunt," Redford headed back to Broadway, appearing for 11 months in the hit Neil Simon comedy, "Barefoot in the Park." His role as an uptight honeymooner gave him enough exposure to land bigger roles in Hollywood, including a controversial one, "Inside Daisy Clover," opposite Natalie Wood.
REDFORD: All right. I'll play along. I'm cynical. I'm irresponsible to your heart. I stop at nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you're just insecure like most doctors.
ROZEN: It's really quite an interesting role. He plays her closeted, bisexual husband, and, you know, it was kind of a questionable role to take at that time. You're looking at the mid-'60s when not every actor was running around begging to play gay roles.
HEMMER: Controversial or not, in 1967, Robert Redford became a household name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These footprints lead to the happiest motion picture in many, many, many a year.
HEMMER: "Barefoot in the Park" went to the big screen, and it was a hit. Reprising his Broadway role, this time opposite Jane Fonda, Redford became a movie star and sex symbol.
JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: Wait a minute, Paul.
SPADA: And at this point in Redford's career, it's all up hill. It's all a graph that goes up because it seems like every movie he made after that just established him as a bigger and bigger star.
ROZEN: He had passed on a couple of other roles. He passed on "The Graduate." He passed on "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," because he felt those were sort of more in the conventional, pretty boy mold. And that was not what he was looking for.
HEMMER: Redford was looking for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," but with his buttoned-up image, producers hesitated.
ROZEN: He had to audition, I believe, repeatedly for "Butch Cassidy."
SPADA: They wanted Marlon Brando to play the Sundance Kid. They would go down the line, well, who do you want -- Brando, Brando, Brando. And George Roy Hill would say, "Redford."
HEMMER: Director George Roy Hill eventually got his wish, and the Newman/Redford chemistry was explosive.
HEMMER: Following the success of "Butch Cassidy," a reluctant superstar emerged. His image was everywhere.
At odds with his public image, Redford retreated with wife Lola and now three children back to Utah. There, he purchased 3,000 acres of land, and named the property Sundance. He also formed his own production company, Wildwood Enterprises, which produced a series of films starting in 1969, with "Downhill Racer," and in 1972, "The Candidate."
REDFORD: This country cannot house its houseless, feed its foodless.
HACKETT: "Downhill Racer" and "The Candidate," these were movies he wanted to make, and in some cases he made on his own as independent pictures.
REDFORD: And I say there's got to be a better way!
HEMMER: An indie filmmaker ahead of his time and on a date with destiny. But what Redford did not reckon upon was 1973, the year he would make two mainstream films catapulting him from mere superstar to icon. POLLACK: When I first read "The Way We Were," I couldn't -- I just couldn't see anybody else. I knew I was going to have trouble, and I did, when I sent it to Bob. He kept saying, there's nothing to play here. There's just a guy who's just an object. He's just a pretty boy.
I kept promising him that we'd try to fix if and I kept holding out, holding out, holding out, and finally, out of exhaustion, really, just -- he looked like a guy who had been running a marathon -- he didn't want to do it, but he said, "OK, OK, I'll do it."
HEMMER: The on-screen pairing of Redford and Barbara Streisand was electric. Their star-crossed characters going down in history as one of the greatest love stories of all time.
Following "The Way We Were," an even bigger success. Reteaming with Paul Newman, 1973's "The Sting" garnered seven Academy Awards, and an Oscar nomination as well for the 36-year-old. The Newman/Redford duo was back, which begs the question, will they ever reunite again?
REDFORD: We'd do a film together if somebody came up with an idea that wasn't a remake or a repeat or a sequel. That's the part that neither one of us wanted to do, a sequel to either "Butch Cassidy" or "The Sting." So come up with something else, before it's too late.
HEMMER: Coming up, the Sundance Institute is born, and Hollywood scratches its head as Redford emerges as a director.
MOORE: I would just rear back and say to myself, "It's Robert Redford and he's listening to you."
ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
HEMMER (voice-over): By the mid-1970s, Robert Redford was the biggest movie star in Hollywood, but following "The Sting" a flop.
ROZEN: "Great Gatsby" is one of the great movie failures.
REDFORD: Shall we have some tea?
ROZEN: There was enormous publicity before they made it. Then the movie comes out, and it is like this -- it just lies on the screen like a big lox.
HEMMER: While "Gatsby" was not so great, its failure could not diminish his star power.
And in 1976, yet another box office classic. REDFORD: Hi. I'm Bob Woodward of "The Washington Post."
HEMMER: In "All the President's Men," Redford and Dustin Hoffman took on the Watergate scandal, portraying real-life reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The film was a labor of love for Redford, who had bought rights to the story and pushed Hollywood for years to make the film.
DUSTIN HOFFMAN, ACTOR: He got that project before it was written. He heard about it. He sought it out. No one in the studio wanted to make that movie, because they said it's a political movie. The public's not interested in it. We know how it's going to end.
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HEMMER: Redford's hard work paid off. The film took home four Academy Awards in 1977.
HOFFMAN: He is as bright as they come and he is as passionate about work as they come, and he's an extremely good-looking man and I hate his guts.
HEMMER: After reteaming with Jane Fonda in 1979's "Electric Horseman," the actor was tired. After 21 films in two decades, it was time for a change.
MOORE: A lot of people scoffed when it was announced that he was going to direct, because, you know, who is this? He was thought of as a pretty boy. And he announces he wants to make this intimate little family drama.
HEMMER: The film was "Ordinary People," and if Redford's decision to direct had shocked some, the woman he cast as the film's repressed mother, Beth Jarrett, stunned the rest.
MOORE: French toast. It's your favorite.
MOORE: We both lived on Malibu Beach for a time, and he said after watching the show, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and seeing me on the beach, he was curious about the dark side of Mary Tyler Moore, for which I will be forever grateful, because it was one of the best roles I've ever done.
HEMMER: It was a role Redford knew well.
MOORE: Beth was his father. And Beth was my father. So I had no trouble understanding her.
HEMMER: In 1980, "Ordinary People" opened to glowing reviews, garnering four Academy Awards, including one for the first-time director.
REDFORD: I felt pretty great when we finished the movie, and nobody talked or thought about Oscars or the Academy Award either before, during or after. So this is an added pleasure.
HEMMER: Respected by peers and no longer just a pretty face, the Oscar gave the 44-year-old an opportunity to get away from the spotlight.
SPADA: It's not a surprise that Redford would start a film institute and a film festival, because he had always felt that Hollywood didn't live up to its responsibilities.
HEMMER: In 1981, the Sundance Institute was born.
REDFORD: It was meant to give a voice to people who weren't able to have one because the mainstream, which I'm certainly a part of, was too focused on what was commercial.
POLLACK: It was rough the first year, because there wasn't any money. But he was really determined and he was committed to it in a way that was very impressive.
HEMMER: With his attention focused on the institute's labs and the birth of the Sundance Film Festival in 1985, Redford appeared in just four films in the 1980s, two of which hit home runs, "The Natural" and "Out of Africa," directed by Sydney Pollack.
REDFORD: We prayeth well. We loveth well.
HEMMER: That same year, however, a surprising announcement. Redford's 27-year marriage was ending.
HACKETT: He's never, ever said a bad thing about her, nor she about him. He is not the kind of guy who there have been stories about when he was married, so it seems like a marriage that painfully had run its course and was ending.
HEMMER: But a new relationship was beginning, between indy filmmakers and Robert Redford.
MICHELLE SATTER, FEATURE FILM DIRECTOR, SUNDANCE INSTITUTE: It's quite meaningful for him to be there for the filmmakers, not only because he has so much to give them and so much to share in terms of the craft of filmmaking, but because this was his passion, his heart and soul and his vision.
REDFORD: I also believe that we're never too old to learn something. We can never get too fat and successful not to appreciate that we don't know everything. And sometimes you can learn from babes, you know, and so the young people come and challenge us and push us. That's terrific. It kind of keeps me alive.
HEMMER: The film festival, which had started so small in 1985, grew quickly with some 20,000 making the present-day trek to Park City every January. It would be the launching pad for such directors as Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino and Kimberly Pierce, whose script, "Boys Don't Cry," had been selected as a 1997 lab project.
KIMBERLY PIERCE, DIRECTOR, "BOYS DON'T CRY": I thought like most independent films it might show in one theater, and I thought if it worked, that would be great. The idea that it would be showing all over the country, all over the world, I mean, certainly it was kind of a latent dream.
REDFORD: There is no end game to Sundance. There is purposely no end game. It is meant to be open-ended, because it's meant to be an organization that thrives with change.
HEMMER: In 2001, at the age of 64, Redford the movie star emerged yet again, opposite Brad Pitt in the box office thriller, "Spy Game."
ROZEN: It was good, but you really had the sense that he was deferring in some of his scenes to Redford. He was kind of learning from the master.
HEMMER: A 40-year Hollywood vet, who is indeed by now a master. And although it's hard to predict Redford's legacy, be it film star or Sundance founder, one suspects either way he will have no regrets.
PIERCE: But I think the wonderful thing, and I don't think it takes anything away from Sundance, is that people love him.
POLLACK: He is probably the closest we have in this country, you know, to royalty.
HACKETT: This is a guy who really was an outsider. No matter how successful he was, he saw himself and acted as an outsider.
MOORE: Oh, I think his legacy is going to be myriad. He's a good human being, you know?
ZAHN: Robert Redford's new film, "The Clearing," is a thriller. And according to reports, he had to persuaded to show the film at Sundance. Redford apparently feared that the showing would detract from the festival's easy spirit.
That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next week, the royal family rocked by scandal and haunted by tragedy. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us. I hope you'll be back with us next week.
ANNOUNCER: For more celebrity news, pick up a copy of "People" magazine this week.
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