September 28, 2008

Legendary Actor Paul Newman Dies

Legendary Actor Paul Newman Dies
WESTPORT, Conn. (Sept. 27) - Paul Newman,
the Oscar-winning superstar who
personified cool as the anti-hero of such
films as “Hud,” “Cool Hand Luke” and “The
Color of Money” — followed by a second act
as an activist, race car driver and popcorn
impresario — has died. He was 83.
Newman died Friday at his farmhouse near
Westport following a long battle with cancer,
publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was
surrounded by his family and close friends.
In May, Newman dropped plans to direct a
fall production of “Of Mice and Men” at
Connecticut’s Westport Country Playhouse,
citing unspecified health issues. The
following month, a friend disclosed that he
was being treated for cancer and Martha
Stewart, also a friend, posted photos on her
Web site of Newman looking gaunt at a
charity luncheon.
But true to his fiercely private nature, Newman
remained cagey about his condition,
reacting to reports that he had lung cancer
with a statement saying only that he was
“doing nicely.”
As an actor, Newman got his start in theater
and on television during the 1950s, and
went on to become one of the world’s most
enduring and popular film stars, a legend
held in awe by his peers. He was nominated
for Academy Awards 10 times, winning one
Oscar and two honorary ones, and had major
roles in more than 50 motion pictures,
including “Exodus,” “Butch Cassidy and the
Sundance Kid,” “The Verdict,” “The Sting”
and “Absence of Malice.”
Newman worked with some of the greatest
directors of the past half century, from Alfred
Hitchcock and John Huston to Robert
Altman, Martin Scorsese and the Coen
brothers. His co-stars included Elizabeth
Taylor, Lauren Bacall, Tom Cruise, Tom
Hanks and, most famously, Robert Redford,
his sidekick in “Butch Cassidy” and
“The Sting.”
“There is a point where feelings go beyond
words,” Redford said Saturday. “I have lost
a real friend. My life — and this country —
is better for his being in it.”
Newman sometimes teamed with his wife
and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward,
with whom he had one of
Hollywood’s rare long-term marriages. “I
have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?”
Newman told Playboy magazine
when asked if he was tempted to stray.
They wed in 1958, around the same time
they both appeared in “The Long Hot Summer.”
Newman also directed her in several
films, including “Rachel, Rachel” and “The
Glass Menagerie.”
With his strong, classically handsome face
and piercing blue eyes, Newman was a
heartthrob just as likely to play against his
looks, becoming a favorite with critics for
his convincing portrayals of rebels, tough
guys and losers. New York Times critic
Caryn James wrote after his turn as the
town curmudgeon in 1995’s “Nobody’s
Fool” that “you never stop to wonder how a
guy as good-looking as Paul Newman ended
up this way.”
“Sometimes God makes perfect people,”
fellow “Absence of Malice” star Sally Field
said, “and Paul Newman was one of them.”
Newman had a soft spot for underdogs in
real life, giving tens of millions to charities
through his food company and setting up
camps for severely ill children. Passionately
opposed to the Vietnam War, and in favor
of civil rights, he was so famously liberal
that he ended up on President Nixon’s “enemies
list,” one of the actor’s proudest
achievements, he liked to say.
A screen legend by his mid-40s, he waited a
long time for his first competitive Oscar,
winning in 1987 for “The Color of Money,”
a reprise of the role of pool shark “Fast Eddie”
Felson, whom Newman portrayed in
the 1961 film “The Hustler.”
In the earlier film, Newman delivered a
magnetic performance as the smooth-talking,
whiskey-chugging pool shark who
takes on Minnesota Fats — played by Jackie
Gleason — and becomes entangled with a
gambler played by George C. Scott. In the
sequel — directed by Scorsese — “Fast Eddie”
is no longer the high-stakes hustler he
once was, but an aging liquor salesman who
takes a young pool player (Cruise) under
his wing before making a comeback.
He won an honorary Oscar in 1986 “in
recognition of his many and memorable
compelling screen performances and for
his personal integrity and dedication to his
craft.” In 1994, he won a third Oscar, the
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for
his charitable work.
His most recent academy nod was a supporting
actor nomination for the 2002 film
“Road to Perdition.” One of Newman’s
nominations was as a producer; the other
nine were in acting categories. (Jack
Nicholson holds the record among actors
for Oscar nominations, with 12; actress
Meryl Streep has had 14.)
As he passed his 80th birthday, he remained
in demand, winning an Emmy and
a Golden Globe for the 2005 HBO drama
“Empire Falls” and providing the voice of a
crusty 1951 car in the 2006 Disney-Pixar
hit, “Cars.”
But in May 2007, he told ABC’s “Good
Morning America” he had given up acting,
though he intended to remain active in
charity projects. “I’m not able to work anymore
as an actor at the level I would want
to,” he said. “You start to lose your memory,
your confidence, your invention. So
that’s pretty much a closed book for me.”
Newman also turned to producing and directing.
In 1968, he directed “Rachel,
Rachel,” a film about a lonely spinster’s re-
birth. The movie received four Oscar nominations,
including Newman, for producer
of a best motion picture; and Woodward,
for best actress. The film earned Newman
the best director award from the New York
Film Critics Circle.
In the 1970s, Newman, admittedly bored
with acting, became fascinated with auto
racing, a sport he studied when he starred
in the 1969 film, “Winning.” After turning
professional in 1977, Newman and his driving
team made strong showings in several
major races, including fifth place in Daytona
in 1977 and second place in the Le
Mans in 1979.
“Racing is the best way I know to get away
from all the rubbish of Hollywood,” he told
People magazine in 1979.
Newman later became a car owner and
formed a partnership with Carl Haas, starting
Newman/Haas Racing in 1983 and
joining the CART series. Hiring Mario Andretti
as its first driver, the team was an instant
success, and throughout the last 26
years, the team — now known as
Newman/Haas/Lanigan and part of the IndyCar
Series — has won 107 races and eight
series championships.
“Paul and I have been partners for 26 years
and I have come to know his passion, humor
and, above all, his generosity,” Haas
said. “His support of the team’s drivers,
crew and the racing industry is legendary.
His pure joy at winning a pole position or
winning a race exemplified the spirit he
brought to his life and to all those that knew
Despite his love of race cars, Newman continued
to make movies and continued to
pile up Oscar nominations, his looks remarkably
intact and his acting becoming
more subtle — nothing like the mannered
method performances of his early years,
when he was sometimes dismissed as a
Brando imitator.
Newman, who shunned Hollywood life,
was reluctant to give interviews and usually
refused to sign autographs because he
found the majesty of the act offensive. He
also claimed that he never read reviews of
his movies.
“If they’re good you get a fat head and if
they’re bad you’re depressed for three
weeks,” he said.
In 1982, Newman and his Westport neighbor,
writer A.E. Hotchner, started a company
to market Newman’s original oil-andvinegar
dressing. Newman’s Own, which
began as a joke, grew into a multimilliondollar
business selling popcorn, salad
dressing, spaghetti sauce and other foods.
All of the company’s profits are donated to
charities. By 2007, the company had donated
more than $175 million, according to its
Web site.
“We will miss our friend Paul Newman, but
are lucky ourselves to have known such a
remarkable person,” Robert Forrester, vice
chairman of Newman’s Own Foundation,
said in a statement.
In 1988, Newman founded a camp in
northeastern Connecticut for children with
cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
He went on to establish similar camps in
several other states and in Europe.
He and Woodward bought an 18th century
farmhouse in Westport, where they raised
their three daughters, Elinor “Nell,” Melissa
and Clea.
Newman had two daughters, Susan and
Stephanie, and a son, Scott, from a previous
marriage to Jacqueline Witte. Scott
died in 1978 of an accidental overdose of alcohol
and Valium. After his only son’s
death, Newman established the Scott Newman
Foundation to finance the production
of anti-drug films for children.
“Our father was a rare symbol of selfless
humility, the last to acknowledge what he
was doing was special,” his daughters said
in a written statement. “Intensely private,
he quietly succeeded beyond measure in
impacting the lives of so many with his generosity.”
Newman was born in Cleveland, the second
of two boys of Arthur S. Newman, a partner
in a sporting goods store, and Theresa Fetzer
Newman. He was raised in the affluent
suburb of Shaker Heights, where he was
encouraged him to pursue his interest in
the arts by his mother and his uncle Joseph
Newman, a well-known Ohio poet and
Following World War II service in the
Navy, he enrolled at Kenyon College in
Gambier, Ohio, where he got a degree in
English and was active in student productions.
He later studied at Yale University’s School
of Drama, then headed to work in theater
and television in New York, where his classmates
at the famed Actor’s Studio included
Brando, James Dean and Karl Malden.
Newman’s breakthrough was enabled by
tragedy: Dean, scheduled to star as the disfigured
boxer in a television adaptation of
Ernest Hemingway’s “The Battler,” died in
a car crash in 1955. His role was taken by
Newman, then a little-known performer.
Newman started in movies the year before,
in “The Silver Chalice,” a costume film he
so despised that he took out an ad in Variety
to apologize. By 1958, he had won the
best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival
for the shiftless Ben Quick in “The Long
Hot Summer.”
In December 1994, about a month before
his 70th birthday, he told Newsweek magazine
he had changed little with age.
“I’m not mellower, I’m not less angry, I’m
not less self-critical, I’m not less tenacious,”
he said. “Maybe the best part is that your
liver can’t handle those beers at noon anymore,”
he said.
Newman is survived by his wife, five children,
two grandsons and his older brother
Associated Press writers Hillel Italie in
New York and Josh Dickey, Greg Risling
and Susan Katz in Los Angeles contributed
to this story.

1 comment:

AGirlNexDoorCreation said...

I have always liked Paul Newman..hope you have a great week...Hugs,TerryAnn