Paul Newman was more than just an actor, or even a star; he was a legend. A great man, a great humanitarian, and a great artist, he will be missed.
Above: Paul Newman with Robert Redford in October 2004. Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images.
Paul Newman was more than just an actor, or even a star; he was a legend. In today’s increasingly here today, forgotten tomorrow era of celebrity, being a legend is extremely rare, and Hollywood has lost one its remaining few.
More than just a great actor and artist, Newman was also a humanitarian and a genuinely good person. All that money from Newman’s Own went to charity. He started camps and charity funds for terminally ill children. He was married to Joanne Woodward for 50 years — something almost unheard of, Hollywood or anywhere else.
A few years ago, Robert Redford sponsored this thing for Sundance called “Iconoclasts”, where celebrities interview people they consider icons or personal heroes. Redford interviewed Newman, and I remember watching that program and walking way with even more respect for both men.
George Roy Hill (who would direct Newman in both The Sting and Slap Shot) directed my favorite Newman film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I first saw “Butch Cassidy” in high school, and it resonated with me in a way few films have. The parallels between Butch and Sundance’s realization that their way of life is ending and the turbulence and end of idealism of the 1960s remains one of the more subtle, and I think powerful, messages in all of cinema.
Paul Newman owned that role. He owned every role he every played. Whether it was Brick, the alcoholic and tortured (and tortuous) husband in Richard Brooks’ adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, or his roles as anti-heroes in Cool Hand Luke and The Color of Money and The Hustler, Newman made roles his own.
And the man was funny! In addition to “Slap Shots,” Newman was brilliant in The Hudsucker Proxy, you know, “for kids.”
My cousin’s son LOVED him in Cars — the last film he did any major press for.
Just looking at his filmography, it is clear that the man was just flat out good.
Still, it was his personal contributions to help children, the sick and the poor that really stand out. He was on Nixon’s Enemies List — something of which he was very, very proud, and was never embarrassed to be labeled “a liberal.” If more people like Paul Newman would embrace the liberal label today, we might be able to fight back from the stigma assholes like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly try to attach to that ideology.
Paul Newman was a legend, IS a legend, and his presence will be missed.
Rest in Peace.
Paul Newman: 1925 — 2008
3 people have left comments
Ken Carpenter said:
You must rent “The Verdict” and “The Hustler.” Those two films are perfect bookends for his career.
york pa roofing said:
Yea he was a real legend. His charitiable contributions are amazing too. Great guy!