Robert Redford talks about retirement—at 80

Film camera chalkboard and roll on wooden table

Image: Jag_cz/

In a 2015 interview, Robert Redford said, ‘You make the most of what you’ve been given—that’s how I see it.’

Then he added this thought about retirement. ‘And you keep pushing to make more of it. I don’t see any reason to stop. I think retirement can lead to death, and that’s not for me.’

In the interview, he talked about how busy his life is.

‘You know why I’m so busy?’ he asked with a laugh. ‘Because I said I wasn’t going to be so busy. About a year and a half ago, I said to myself, I’m going to slow down and kick back, and instead I kicked into high gear. So there’s some real perversity in that.’

Redford became a star back in the late 1960s in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Since then he has appeared in a whole range of roles in movies.

He’s also been recognized as an accomplished director and producer, and an inspiration as the founder of the Sundance Institute for independent films. He still has star power and is still making films that people want to see.

In a 2016 interview with his grandson Dylan, he did say that he was planning to retire from acting, though.

I’m getting tired of acting. I’m an impatient person, so it’s hard for me to sit around and do take after take after take. At this point in my life, age 80, [painting would] give me more satisfaction because I’m not dependent on anybody. It’s just me, just the way it used to be, and so going back to sketching—that’s sort of where my head is right now.’

He said he has committed to two more movies: Our Souls at Night, with Jane Fonda, a love story for older people who get a second chance in life, and Old Man with a Gun, a lighter piece with Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek.

‘Once they’re done then I’m going to say, “Okay, that’s goodbye to all that,” and then just focus on directing.’

But painting will also feature in his life. It’s an old passion. He’d left university and lived the artist’s life in France for a time.

Redford is one who found his niche in life and followed it through way past the 65-year retirement mark—because he could. There are obviously changes coming, but he will continue to do the things he wants to do.

You don’t have to be a star to do what you want to do in your retirement years, but you do have to know what it is. What is it for you?

Redford did retire in about 2019.

Bruce Manners: the author of Retirement Ready?, Refusing to Retire, and founder of


Category: Lifestyle, Working

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