TEEN YOUR ENTHUSIASM (15)
May 14, 2023
One in a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of heartthrobs from our adolescences). Series edited by Heather Quinlan.
My friends and I called him “Beautiful Bob.” While his tousled blond hair often looked windblown, his charismatic poise always lined up straight. He had the perfect blend of confidence and casualness that translated to the ultimate in boyish charm. In movies, he conveyed his point with a few well-chosen words even as his handsomeness took my breath away. So, of course, my friends and I all wanted to be Barbra Streisand, Redford’s lady love in The Way We Were. When I saw the film, it felt like the two leads were close to my age. I was a journalism major in college when the film was released, and Robert and Barbra are students in a writing class during the movie. The ending of The Way We Were, in which he tells her farewell, although their longing for each other remains evident, still pierces my heart on YouTube. During all the years I followed his career and watched his films, I never dreamed I would see him in person someday.
Yet, living in Utah, there was always the slightest chance we might catch sight of him. He owned Sundance Resort before it became a film festival, and his first wife, Lola Van Wagenen, was a Utah girl. For years, my friend and I watched the annual Pioneer Day parade in front of the Liahona Pre-School because he observed the festivities from the roof of a house across the street. He didn’t climb to the top of the roof. Instead, he sat on the edge like a self-assured gargoyle. I always thought it would be swoon-worthy if he winked at me from his perch. And there was the fairytale day when I saw him up close. My extended family was standing in line to enjoy brunch at the Tree Room Restaurant at Sundance. He walked past us with his casual yet confident gait. My sister and I dared each other to ask for his autograph. Gathering courage and holding our breath, we walked up to him and asked, “May we have your autograph?” While I’m sure he had a million commitments that day, he calmly sat down and signed his name with a flourish. He graciously replied when I said thank you, “You’re welcome.” Moments later, he headed off to his many famed commitments. Today, I’m honored to say that out of all the nearly 8 billion people on earth; I am one of a lucky few possessors of Beautiful Bob’s autograph.
One of my favorite bosses also loved him. We worked together as telephone reference librarians back then. Hovering nearby to encourage us to sound upbeat, she said, “Remember, the next caller could be Robert Redford.” We waited and hoped.
TEEN YOUR ENTHUSIASM: INTRODUCTION by Heather Quinlan | Adam McGovern on ANDY GIBB | Crockett Doob on DREW BARRYMORE | Kathy Biehl on THE MONKEES | Josh Glenn on SHAUN CASSIDY | Catherine Christman on ELI WALLACH | Carlo Rotella on VALERIE BERTINELLI | Miranda Mellis on EDDIE VAN HALEN | Paul Finnegan on KIM WILDE | Heather Quinlan on MIKE PATTON | Mariane Cara on NKOTB | Mimi Lipson on ARLO GUTHRIE | Gabriela Pedranti on GUSTAVO CERATI | Michele Carlo on MICHAEL JACKSON | Ingrid Schorr on PAUL McCARTNEY | Carolyn Campbell on ROBERT REDFORD | Erin M. Routson on JOHNNY KNOXVILLE | Amy Keyishian on JIM MORRISON | Fran Pado on TONY DEFRANCO | Krista Margies Kunkle on LUKE PERRY | Lucy Sante on FRANÇOISE HARDY | Lynn Peril on DANNY BONADUCE | Jack Silbert on CHERYL TIEGS | Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons on CHRISTIAN SLATER | Cynthia Scott on LEONARD WHITING | Elizabeth Foy Larsen on OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN.
JACK KIRBY PANELS | CAPTAIN KIRK SCENES | OLD-SCHOOL HIP HOP | TYPEFACES | NEW WAVE | SQUADS | PUNK | NEO-NOIR MOVIES | COMICS | SCI-FI MOVIES | SIDEKICKS | CARTOONS | TV DEATHS | COUNTRY | PROTO-PUNK | METAL | & more enthusiasms!