“A Personal Request” – Bob interviews Redford

Bob Edwards and Robert Redford, New York City, June 17, 2009A couple of months ago, I received an email from the New York Media Relations Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Robert Redford, who has been an NRDC Trustee for over 30 years, is a longtime fan of Bob Edwards and has asked us to reach out to him with a special request.”

The actor wanted Bob to interview him in front of a live audience, a free public event hosted by the NRDC, to discuss how his career and environmentalism have intersected over the course of his career.

So on the evening of June 17th at the newly renovated Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York City, Bob (Edwards) interviewed Bob (Redford). I arrived early that afternoon to help our engineer Bruce Berenson set up the recording equipment (a special thanks to Bruce because I could not have coordinated that remote session without his know-how). The theater is beautiful, flanked by rich wood paneling. Backstage, two dressing rooms were assigned – Redford was to use Dressing Room A, and Bob, Dressing Room B. Dressing Room A, Bob (Edwards) quickly pointed out, was stocked with a selection of nice chocolates and nuts. Those treats were untouched by Bob (Redford) upon his arrival, however. Instead of hiding in his own dressing room, Redford stepped into Dressing Room B to chat with Bob (Edwards) and I about the interview which was about to begin. Redford seemed shy to talk about his acting career. Rather, he wanted to focus on the NRDC and the environmental work they have completed since 1975 (the year he became a trustee of the legal advocacy organization).

Once on stage, the conversation flowed nicely from film-making (and the arts) to the environment (and politics). John Adams is the founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and he’s been close to Redford since the actor joined the organization more than thirty years ago and has seen him talk many times. Following the event, Adams commented that he heard stories from Redford that he never had before. It’s nice to know, that even after interviewing Redford several times prior, Bob was able to elicit new tidbits from the actor.

My personal take on the evening: I not only was thrilled to meet Redford because of his obvious talent and legendary status in American culture – but it’s exciting to know that he really is just as nice, humble and down to earth as you would hope him to be. There were no airs about him, and my guess is that that quality (or lack thereof) at least partially accounts for his immeasurable success in life (and something I think the two Bobs actually have in common).

Redford regularly posts entries to the NRDC’s On Earth web site (http://www.onearth.org/author/robert-redford). It’s worth flagging that page, because just as he demonstrated during his interview on stage at the Lincoln Center, Redford is very knowledgeable and involved in the fight to protect the environment, and his blog posts convey that passion. What’s more, On Earth is a great resource in general – we have featured several of their contributors on The Bob Edwards Show in the past and certainly will do so again in the future. Now more than ever, the subject of protecting the earth is a priority, whether it’s a conversation with a Hollywood celebrity or a lesser-known environmental journalist. As you can see, the NRDC is a strong resource in that effort.

Happy listening (and, hopefully, learning),