How Robert Redford Faced Early Tragedy with Death of First-Born Infant Son

by Josh Lanier
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Parents should never outlive their children. Last year, Robert Redford suffered through that when his son James died last year at 58 from a form of liver cancer. A representative for the Hollywood icon said the family’s grief was “immeasurable.” But sadly, he had felt that grief before.

In 1959, Robert Redford was nursing his nascent career and a new family. He and his then-wife Lola Van Wagenen married a year earlier. That September, the couple gave birth to their first child, Scott Anthony Redford. By all accounts, he was a healthy baby boy. But two and a half months later he died unexpectedly on Nov. 1, 1959.

They buried him near the couple’s home in Provost, Utah. Doctors ruled the cause of death Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, better known as SIDS, The Mirror said. Medical experts still aren’t sure what causes SIDS, but it accounts for more than 3,000 infant deaths a year.

Robert Redford hasn’t spoken publicly about Scott’s death. He and Lola Van Wagenen stayed together and had three more children before divorcing in 1985.

The Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid star told a crowd at the Sundance Film Festival Utah Women’s Leadership Celebration in 2018 that his growing celebrity and the demands of being a writer, director, and actor put a strain on their marriage. He remarried in 2009.

Robert Redford Loses Second Son in 2020

James Redford, the second son of Robert Redford and Lola Van Wagenen died last year after battling liver cancer. He was 58.

A representative for Robert Redford said the family’s “grief is immeasurable,” but he was proud that his son, who was a documentary filmmaker, would live on through his work and good deeds.

“The grief is immeasurable with the loss of a child,” Redford’s rep told Page Six. “Jamie was a loving son, husband, and father. His legacy lives on through his children, art, filmmaking, and devoted passion to conservation and the environment.”

The statement concluded that Robert Redford “is mourning with his family during this difficult time and asks for privacy.”

James Redford’s wife broke the news of his death on Twitter. He had two children.

James Redford struggled with health problems most of his life, People reported. Doctors diagnosed him with a rare auto-immune disorder called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. The disease attacks the liver and James needed two liver transplants in 1993. After the liver transplants saved his life, James Redford dedicated his life to raising awareness of organ donation. He founded the James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness to help teach people about the

During the next 20 years, he remained in relatively good health. But, three years ago, doctors diagnosed him with bile-duct cancer, it was reported.

He died in October 2020.

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