Robert Duvall is recognized by audiences and many film critics as one of the most versatile actors of this generation. He is known for portraying different characters in unique situations. Duval won the 1983 Academy award for best actor in the film Tender Mercies. He has also won four Golden Globe Awards and two Emmy awards.
Charitable Works of Robert Duvall
The Robert Duvall Children’s Fund (RDCF) is dedicated to further enhancing the lives of poverty stricken children in the US. This foundation also operates in India and South America. Through the activities of the RDCF, the lives of impoverished children in the places where it operates have improved, notably northern Argentina. In this country, the RDCF works with Todos Juntos, a local group.
Together they help children afflicted with Down’s syndrome. Their other activities include refurbishing private institutions, medical institutions and schools. Recently, the RDCF has been involved in restoring the homes of disabled people.
Duvall also supports Pro Mujer. This is an organization that supports impoverished women in South America. Pro Mujer gives these women the means to support themselves via business training and micro-lending. The group also provides healthcare support for these women.
In May 2009, Duvall voiced his opposition to Wal-Mart’s plan to construct a store not far from the Wilderness Battlefield national park. He was against it on the grounds of historic preservation. Two years later in 2011, he participated in a charity event in Houston, Texas. It was for the Texas Children’s Cancer Center and was able to raise $9 million.
The Politics of Robert Duvall
His politics are viewed as conservative but others see it as libertarian. He was given a personal invitation to the inauguration of President George W. Bush in 2001, a testament to his support for the latter. Duvall threw his support for Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani in 2007. He was at the 2008 national convention of the GOP. He also joined the John McCain-Sarah Palin rally in New Mexico in 2008.
Duvall was born in San Diego, California in 1931. His father William Howard Duvall was a U.S. Navy admiral. His mother Mildred Virginia was an actress. Being in a military family, the young Duvall spent much of his early life moving from place to place. After graduating from Principia College, he joined the Army and fought in Korea.
After his stint in the military in 1955 Duvall settled in New York to take up acting.
While studying at Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, he became friends with Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman who like him, were struggling actors at the time. He took part in many off-Broadway shows.
Duvall first appeared onscreen in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) as Boo Radley. He would become known for his ability to immerse himself in complex character roles. It was during the 1970s that his career took off. He played the role of Major Frank Burns in the film MASH. But it was his role in the Godfather films (1972 and 1974) that earned him critical acclaim.
Critics lauded the intensity of his portrayals and for making characters seem real. After working with Francis Ford Coppola in the Godfather films, they teamed up again in Apocalypse Now (1979). Duvall also earned critical praise for his role in the Network (1976).
He received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal as Lt Colonel “Bull” Meechum in the 1979 movie the Great Santini (1979). That same year he appeared in the TV series Ike as President Eisenhower. Two years before in 1977, Duvall appeared in the Broadway show American Buffalo. It remains to this day his final play on the stage.
The 1980s and 1990s
1983 saw him winning an Oscar for Best Actor. He also appeared in The Natural (1984), the television mini-series Lonesome Dove (1989) and Colors (1988). He also took part in The Apostle (1997) as an evangelical preacher. His other films during the 1990s include Convicts (1991), Stalin (1992), Falling Down in 1993, the Scarlet Letter in 1995 and Phenomenon in 1996. He also appeared in the 1998 film the Gingerbread Man. He was also in a Civil Action and Deep Impact that same year.
Duval has remained busy through the 2000s and beyond. Some of his memorable movies in the 2000s include The 6th Day, Gone in 60 Seconds, John Q, Thank You for Smoking and Assassination Tango. The latter he produced, wrote and directed. He was also in the movie The Road, Crazy Heart and 2008’s Four Christmases. Currently in post production are The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and Jayne Mansfield’s Car.
In 2005, Duvall married Luciana Pedraza. They met in Buenos Aires and have been together since 1997. Pedraza has been very supportive of the charitable works of Robert Duvall, particularly Pro Mujer and his other foundations.