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Activist James Redford Known for His Documentaries Dies Age 58




According to his wife, Kyle, James Redford, 58, passed away on Oct. 16, 2020, resulting from bile duct cancer in his liver. He is known for his documentaries and activism.

In 1999, after waiting for a matching donor for six months, he wanted to communicate the need for organ and tissue donation. The James Redford Institute (JRI) for Transplant Awareness was his solution. The organization educates and promotes organ and tissue donation through its website and films.

“The Kindness of Strangers” is “a powerful yet sensitive look at the lives of those touched by organ donation and transplantation.” The documentary, produced by Redford and directed by Maro Chermayeff, debuted HBO on Sept. 23, 1999.

He and his father, Robert, co-founded The Redford Center in 2005. The center “harnesses the power of film, new media, and impact campaigns to move people to action through inspiring stories that galvanize environmental justice, solutions, and repair,” according to the nonprofit’s website.

James Redford’s Documentaries and Films

Redford’s filmography is extensive. Each of the films and documentaries listed below is an example of his diversity:

  • He wrote the original screenplay for “Cowboy Up,” starring Keifer Sutherland. The film was released in the United States on July 11, 2001.
  • James also wrote the critically acclaimed screenplay, based on a book by Tony Hillerman, “Skinwalkers,” a “PBS Mystery!” The made-for-TV movie was released on  Nov. 24, 2002.
  • “Spin,” written and directed by Redford, starred Stanley Tucci. The film was released on Nov. 8, 2004.
  • Redford wrote, directed, and produced a 9-minute short comedy called “Quality Time,” about raising teenagers was released on July 22, 2010.
  • “Mann V. Ford,” an HBO documentary exploring the Ford Motor Company dumping toxic waste on Native American lands. It was produced by James and first aired in 2011.
  • The documentary “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” was released Jan. 20, 2012. It was written by James, whose son, Dylan, struggled with dyslexia.
  • “Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West” is a 2012 documentary co-produced by Redford and Jill Tidman and narrated by the former.
  • The HBO original documentary “Toxic Hot Seat” about harmful flame retardant chemicals. It was initially released on Oct. 15, 2013. Redford served as a co-producer and co-director.
  • “Paper Tigers” is a documentary about a high school in Washington state overcoming tremendous odds of adverse childhood experiences. James wrote the story, co-produced, and co-directed the film, released on May 28, 2015.
  • “Resilience: The Biology of  Stress and The Science of Hope,” released on January 22, 2016. Redford directed this documentary that explores the link between heart disease to childhood experiences.
  • Redford produced “California Typewriter,” a 2016 documentary celebrating “artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse.” Tom Hanks, John Mayer, David McCullough, Sam Shepard,

James Redford’s Decades of Health Issues

RedfordThe 58-year-old died of liver cancer after years of health issues and two liver transplants. When he was 15, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which caused him to suffer extreme weight loss and other associated debilitating symptoms.

Redford was also diagnosed with sclerosis cholangitis, an autoimmune disease that damaged his liver. No official cause of death has been released at this time.

James was born on May 5, 1962, to Robert Redford and Lola Van Wagenen. He was one of four children — Scott, who preceded James in death, Shauna, and Amy.

Speaking on behalf of the senior Redford, Cindi Berger explained, “he is mourning with his family during this difficult time and asks for privacy,” according to People Magazine.

“The grief is immeasurable with the loss of a child,” says Berger. “Jamie was a loving son, husband, and father. His legacy lives on through his children, art, filmmaking, and devoted passion for conservation and the environment.”

James leaves behind Kyle, his wife of 32 years, and their two children — Dylan and Lena.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware


IMDb: James Redford; Biography

PEOPLE: Robert Redford Is Mourning His Son James’ Death with His Family: ‘The Grief Is Immeasurable;’ Alexia Fernandez and Liz McNeil

PEOPLE: Robert Redford’s Son James Redford, Filmmaker, and Activist Dies at 58 After Cancer Battle; Alexia Fernandez

Featured Image Courtesy of PunkToad’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Top Image Courtesy of University of Colorado Boulder Alumni’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Cathy Milne-Ware is a seasoned writer and editor. Her background: Journalism for online and print newspapers, new website content from the about page to blog posts, newsletters, book reviews, and social media content. She enjoys writing Health, Entertainment, and Political news stories.

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