James Redford Dies: Filmmaker, Activist & Son Of Robert Redford Was 58

James Redford, documentary filmmaker, activist and the son of Robert Redford, has died of complications from bile-duct cancer, his wife Kyle Redford told The Salt Lake Tribune. James Redford died Friday at his home in Marin County, CA. He was 58.

In a Twitter post Friday, Kyle Redford wrote “Jamie died today. We’re heartbroken. He lived a beautiful, impactful life & was loved by many. He will be deeply missed. As his wife of 32 [years], I’m most grateful for the two spectacular children we raised together. I don’t know what we would’ve done [without] them over the past 2 [years].”

James Redford had been diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, a rare auto-immune disease affecting the liver and received two liver transplants in 1993. According to his bio on IMDB, the near-fatal ordeal inspired him to found the James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness, where he produced The Kindness Of Strangers, a documentary film which examined the sacrifices made by organ donor families. The film premiered at Telluride International Film Festival and aired on HBO in 1999.

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As filmmaker, James Redford’s work focused mainly on documentaries about the environment and health. His 2012 documentary, The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia, was inspired by his son, Dylan, and his struggles with dyslexia in high school.

That same year, The Redford Center produced Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West, a film that brought together several non-profits in a successful bid to raise 10 million dollars in restoration funds for the Colorado River Delta.

In his 2013 film Toxic Hot Seat, Redford chronicled the health problems caused by exposure to flame-retardant chemicals used in furniture. Kyle Redford told the Salt Lake Tribune that the film prompted a change in California law that barred use of the chemicals, a ban which eventually spread nationwide. She said the film also was behind a change in heath care benefits for California firefighters who were diagnosed with cancer caused by exposure to the flame-retardant chemicals while fighting house fires.

He later teamed with Karen Pritzker on two documentary films highlighting the biological harm posed to children by physical and emotional abuse — Paper Tigers in 2104 and 2016’s Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope. In 2017 Redford starred in and directed The Redford Center’s Happening: a Clean Energy Revolution, a co-production with HBO which examines the rise of the clean energy economy and culture.

Aside from his documentary work, James Redford penned the screenplay for Cowboy Up starring Kiefer Sutherland and Darryl Hannah and directed Showtime’s Spin, starring Stanley Tucci and Dana Delaney. He also wrote the critically acclaimed screenplay for Skinwalkers, which premiered on the PBS mystery series.

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