Sundance and my chat with Robert Redford

Robert RedfordEvery Sundance season reminds me of my own one-on-one with Robert Redford. I had eight perfect words, exactly when I needed them.

We’re in the thick of Sundance season here in Utah this week, and the internationally recognized film festival is close to home. In fact, one of the film screening sites is literally a four-block walk from where I live (going to see a film this week!), and I love seeing the Sundance banners boldly waving on street signs throughout Ogden’s downtown.

They bring me back to my encounter with the film festival’s founder.

I was a full-time flight attendant at the time, greeting passengers in SLC as they boarded our flight to LAX. The gate agent came to me, whispering giddily we’d have a VIP on this flight. I’d met a few celebrities working my flights, but never before went into the fits of girlish squeals of some of my co-workers. I wasn’t one to ask for autographs or to take pictures. But when a living legend took a seat in 1A, I was giddy as could be.

Robert Redford!!??

From head to toe, he wore white: white hat, white jacket over a white t-shirt and white pants. They matched his teeth. And he could pull it off in a I’m-Robert-Redford-and-this-outfit-was-custom-designed-for-me kind of way. He carried only a brown briefcase. The lines of his aging face surprised me, as well as how attractive a man could be in his seventies. That chiseled jaw wasn’t quite as sharp as his Butch Cassidy days, but still there. So was the squinty-eyed, ravishing smile. I remember hanging his jacket in the First Class closet and putting his briefcase below it before take-off.

As I served First Class, I must have been the smiling-est flight attendant taking orders in the sky that day. I brought him the requested hot drink (from my recollection he had hot tea…or was it coffee with Baileys?) and a snack basket to choose from. I got out his suitcase and he worked on papers throughout the hour and a half in the sky. He was courteous, but not wanting to rally a lot of attention. Although my fellow flight attendant and I would peek at him from the front galley, I respected his space beyond the typical flight attendant-passenger interaction and tried not to look as starstruck as I felt. At one point, he engaged a conversation with me:

RR: Have you ever been to Sundance resort?
Me: Yes, it’s sure beautiful up there. I’m glad you’re preserving that area.
RR: Hmm, well, you look familiar to me. (Here comes my big line, people. No hesitation.)

Me: You look familiar to me too, Mr. Redford.

He smiled that heart-stopping smile and even laughed a bit at my comment. (Robert Redford thought I was funny!) That gave me the courage to ask for his autograph, which holds a special spot in my journal:

Robert Redford signature

And those were my words with the one and only Robert Redford. Share with me: How were your celebrity encounters? And what about your Sundance experiences?

Robert Redford picture via  The Marquee Blog on CNN.com


7 Comments


  1. Crystalee – I’m so glad you shared this story! What a gem! And those are the PERFECT words, you’re hilarious!

  2. Darn, wish you would have asked him about my mom… My mom knew him/dated him… I will never forget when I was skiing up with her when I was a teenager at Park City. We get off the ski lift and my mom sees Robert Redford. She hides and says, “oh no, there is Robert Redford.” I was wondering why she was freaking out. Then I see Robert Redford walking up to us and he looks at my mom and says, “Betty Sue, Betty Sue, is that you?” I just sat there staring wondering what on earth was going on….My mom still hasn’t told me all of the specifics on her time with Robert Redford, as at that time, (as a teenager) I had NO IDEA she even personally knew him!!

    • Katie, that is an awesome story! Interesting that she would hide from him…and crazy she dated one of the world’s most-known heartthrobs! I wish I knew your mom and could ask her all kinds of questions about that.

  3. Oh thank you for sharing, gave me a great smile. It sounded so Crystalee! :)

  4. Christi - Lady Makes It

    This is so funny and awesome. I can totally hear you talking to him and saying it too.

    Randomly enough a cousin of mine worked as his personal assistant for years. my family met him once when we ate lunch at one of the resort restaurants he wasn’t interested in talking much but his son stopped by and was VERY personable.

    Love reading your posts!

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