Robert Redford Worked for Yosemite National Park Before Fame, Which Makes Him Even Cooler Than He Already Is

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

What would make actor Robert Redford so cool that Outsiders would show the actor respect? He worked at Yosemite National Park.

Now, this didn’t happen just yesterday, OK. Actually, Robert Redford worked at the Northern California park before the fame of movies arrived.

Let’s take a closer look at this part of his life through the lens of a 2016 article in Smithsonian Magazine.

Redford recalls the reasons behind his first visit to Yosemite as a young boy.

“It all started when I was about 11, growing up in Los Angeles,” he said. “I had a mild case of polio—not enough to put me in an iron lung, but enough to keep me bedridden for weeks.

Robert Redford Gained First Outdoors Experience At Yosemite

“As I came out of it, my mom wanted to do something for me,” Robert Redford said. “She realized that growing up in the city, I’d missed out on a lot of nature. So she drove me to Yosemite.”

He also remembered taking the journey from the direction of Fresno, Calif.

Redford said drivers go through a mile-long tunnel. “When we came out the other side, I was blown away,” he said. “We stopped to look at the view, and when I went to the edge—well, I said to myself, ‘I don’t want to look at this. I want to be in this.'”

Actor Went So Far As To Get A Job Within National Park

It gobbled up the future “All the President’s Men” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” actor.

Robert Redford also talked about getting a job in Yosemite National Park.

“I spent two summers working at Camp Curry and at Yosemite Lodge as a waiter,” he said. “It gave me a chance to really be there every day—to hike up to Vernal Falls or Nevada Falls. It just took me really deep into it. Yosemite claimed me.”

Now don’t think this experience disappeared from his conscience. Redford would take his time in Yosemite and use it as a springboard for being involved in conservation activities.

Career Has Included Lots Of Work On Television, In Movies

From that first excursion in 1949, Robert Redford continues to be a voice focused on saving spacious lands.

His acting career also included some television work while he lived in New York City. Catch this list: “Maverick,” “The Untouchables,” “Perry Mason,” “Route 66,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Dr. Kildare” and many more.

Movies besides the two referenced above also include “Ordinary People,” “Jeremiah Johnson,” “Barefoot in the Park,” “The Way We Were,” “The Natural,” and “The Horse Whisperer.”

Again, many more flicks in the Redford collection. He has had quite a diverse career. Redford has also won Golden Globe Awards, Academy Awards, and received the Presidental Medal of Freedom.