Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Paul Newman - Another Cool Dude Gone

The first movie I saw Paul Newman in at the cinema was

“Exodus” way back in 1962. I didn’t see his earlier films

until they appeared on television, these being “The Long,

Hot Summer”; “The Left Handed Gun” and “Cat on a Hot

Tin Roof” (he was brilliant with Elizabeth Taylor).

These earlier films cemented Paul Newman’s persona into

my film going memory as I knew that a new Paul Newman

film was worth “keeping an eye out for” and mostly I wasn’t

wrong with my assessment. Naturally there were a few

“bad” films but these were far and few between.

All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on the photo.

Paul Leonard Newman, 83, the Hollywood icon with the

famous blue eyes and killer grin who seduced audiences with

six decades worth of rebels, rascals and moody romancers,

died on September 26, 2008, at his long-time home in

Westport, Connecticut, of complications after a battle with

lung cancer.

An early photo of Paul and in this attire he would of

no doubt won the hearts of many women.

He was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur,

humanitarian and auto racing enthusiast. He won numerous

awards, including an Academy Award, two Golden Globe

Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival

Award, an Emmy award, and many honorary awards. He also

won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car

Club of America road racing and his race teams won several

championships in open wheel Indy Car racing.

Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio (a suburb of

Cleveland) on 26th January 1925. Newman showed an early

interest in the theater, which his mother encouraged. At the

age of seven, he made his acting debut, playing the court jester

in a school production of Robin Hood.

Newman served in the Navy in World War II in the Pacific theater.

Newman was sent to the Navy V-12 program at Ohio University,

with hope of being accepted for pilot training, but this plan was

foiled when it was discovered he was color blind. He was sent

instead to boot camp and then on to further training as a radioman

and gunner. He qualified as a rear-seat radioman and gunner in

torpedo bombers, in 1944.

After the war, he completed his degree at Kenyon College,

graduating in 1949. Newman later studied acting at Yale University

and under Lee Strasberg at the Actors' Studio in New York City.

His first movie was “The Silver Chalice” (1954), followed by

acclaimed roles in “Somebody Up There Likes Me” (1956),

as boxer Rocky Graziano. This portrayal earned him

comparisons to Marlon Brando, another student of Strasberg.

Paul Newman’s first movie was “The Silver Chalice”. He was

apparently not happy of his performance. When the film was

broadcast on television in 1966, he took out an advertisement

in a Hollywood trade paper apologizing for his performance, and

requesting people not to watch the film. This backfired, and the

broadcast received unusually high ratings. The film is sometimes

referred to as Paul Newman and the Holy Grail. Newman allegedly

called the film "the worst motion picture produced during the 1950s".

This was followed by acclaimed roles in “Somebody Up There

Likes Me” as boxer Rocky Graziano. This portrayal earned him

comparisons to Marlon Brando, another student of Strasberg.

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958), opposite Elizabeth Taylor.

Paul and Elizabeth in

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

and “The Young Philadelphians”. He also starred in “Exodus”

“The Hustler”, “Hud”, “Harper”, “Hombre”, “Cool Hand Luke”

“The Towering Inferno”, “Slap Shot” and “The Verdict”.

He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford and director

George Roy Hill for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”

and “The Sting”. There were many more film, too many to

mention here, as he made over 60 films.

Newman was married twice. His first marriage was to Jackie

Witte and lasted from 1949 to 1958. Together they had a son,

Scott and two daughters, Susan Kendall and Stephanie.

Scott Newman died in November 1978 from an accidental drug

overdose. Newman started the Scott Newman Center for drug

abuse prevention in memory of his son.

Newman married actress Joanne Woodward on January 29, 1958.

They had three daughters: Elinor "Nell" Teresa, Melissa "Lissy"

Stewart, and Claire "Clea" Olivia. Newman sometimes teamed

with his wife and fellow Oscar winner Joanne Woodward. They

wed in 1958, around the time they both appeared in "The Long,

Hot Summer." Newman also directed her in several films, including

"Rachel, Rachel" and "The Glass Menagerie."

The long-lasting marriage of Paul Newman and Joanne

Woodward was one of the most famous marriages in

Hollywood. They celebrated their Golden Anniversary

in January 2008.

Newman's Own is a food company founded by Paul Newman

and his friend, author A. E. Hotchner, in 1982.

How this came about was every Christmas, Paul would sing

carols for his neighbors and give gifts of wine bottles filled

with homemade salad dressing tied with a ribbon.

By mid-January the neighbors evidently started requesting refills.

That experience planted the seed of a small salad-dressing

enterprise, and Newman recruited a friend, writer A.E. Hotchner,

to join the entrepreneurial adventure. Various challenges

cropped up, including finding a local bottler willing to take a

bet on the unlikely pair.The two persisted and were gaining

momentum until they hit a roadblock over what should be on

the label. Newman refused to put his face on the label, but

his associates were adamant, insisting that was the only way

the bottles would sell. Newman relented under one condition:

All profits after taxes would go to charity. The compromise

created one of the most aggressively socially responsible

companies in the country.

Mr. Newman explained, "When the face came on the bottle,

I knew that the profits would have to go to charity. To make

money off that would be so tacky. From this came the

concept of circular exploitation. I allow my celebrity status

to be exploited in order to sell stuff from which I then in

turn channel the proceeds into good causes, hence the

slogan of our company: 'Shameless exploitation for the

common good.'"

The brand started with salad dressing, and has expanded

to include pasta sauce, lemonade, popcorn, and salsa, and

wine among other things.

Newman declared that all profits and royalties to be donated

to charity. As of May 2007 the donations have exceeded

US$250 million (of which over AUST$12 million has also been

donated to Australian charities) and these donations has

contributed to more than 1,000 charitable causes globally.

Newman was an avid auto racing enthusiast, and first became interested in motorsports while training for and

filming “Winning”. Newman's first professional event was

in 1972, in Thompson, Connecticut, and he was a common

competitor in Sports Car Club of America events for the

rest of the decade, eventually winning several championships.

He later drove in the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans in Dick

Barbour's Porsche 935 and finished the race in second place.

Nominations that Paul Newman received.

Nominated for Actor 1958 : CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF

Nominated for Actor 1961 : THE HUSTLER

Nominated for Actor 1963 : HUD

Nominated for Actor 1967 : COOL HAND LUKE

Nominated for Best Picture 1968 : RACHEL, RACHEL, Producer

Nominated for Actor 1981 : ABSENCE OF MALICE

Nominated for Actor 1982 : THE VERDICT

Actor 1986 : THE COLOR OF MONEY (Academy Award)

Paul Newman and Melvyn Douglas in a scene from "Hud"

Hud: He's devastating as a selfish, sexy, callous, and cruel

modern cowboy watching his youth and capacity for human

decency disappear in the dust of a present-day Texas ranch.

After audiences watched him shatter the lives of both his

aging father, Melvyn Douglas and the only woman he ever

cared about, Patricia Neal (a very underrated actress who

played one of the best roles of her career).

........................The Beautiful Patricia Neal.

Both her and Melvyn Douglas won an academy award.

Paul Newman was nominated but lost out to

Sidney Poitier for “Lilies of the Field.”

SLAPSHOT: One of Newman's favorites, George Roy Hill's

genially foulmouthed, cynical recession-era comedy about

a sinking minor-league hockey team whose members decide

to fight dirty when they learn they're about to be disbanded

drew some criticism at the time for its nonstop cursing and

jockey attitude toward violence on the ice.

In “Cool Hand Luke” George Kennedy as Dragline in one of his

finest achievement received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Paul Newman was nominated for an Academy Awards as Best

Actor but lost out to Rod Steiger for “In the Heat of the Night”.

It is also fascinating to find so many familiar faces among the

inmates - actors such as Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton,

Joe Don Baker, Ralph Waite, Wayne Rogers and Anthony Zerbe.

Who can not remember this scene from “Cool Hand Luke”

Luke: I can eat fifty eggs.

Dragline: Nobody can eat fifty eggs.

Society Red: You just said he could eat anything.

Dragline: Did you ever eat fifty eggs?

Luke: Nobody ever eat fifty eggs.

Prisoner: Hey, Babalugats. We got a bet here.

Dragline: My boy says he can eat fifty eggs, he can eat fifty eggs.

Loudmouth Steve: Yeah, but in how long?

Luke: A hour.

Society Red: Well, I believe I'll take part of that wager.

Paul Newman with Susan Sarandon from "Twilight"

TWILIGHT: Rumors that Newman was soon to retire began

with the release of this quiet, autumnal detective drama —

a sort of valedictory sequel to “Harper” and “The Drowning

Pool” in every detail but the name of the gumshoe he plays.

In this Paul is surrounded by one of his best casts (including

Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon, James Garner,

Reese Witherspoon, and Stockard Channing).

Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman from "The Hustler"

THE COLOR OF MONEY: Fast Eddie Felson returns, 25 years

older and, perhaps, wiser. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio:

''If you're too old to cut the mustard, you can still lick the

jar, right?'' Newman, smiling calmly: ''Nobody ever asked me

for a refund, honey.'' Martin Scorsese's polished sequel to

“The Hustler”.

Tom Cruise and Paul Newman from "The Color of Money"

THE VERDICT: Newman's indelible portrait of a used-up,

worn-out alcoholic Boston lawyer grabbing at one last chance

to save his soul in a long-shot malpractice case against an

archdiocese hospital may be the greatest performance of his

later career; it's certainly his most fearless. Looking desperate

and ashen, his voice a gravelly wreck, his neck bent in defeat,

Newman's Frank Galvin seems to be the sad punch line to all

the outsiders that the actor had played 20 years earlier.

There is no need to mention anything about “Butch Cassidy

and The Sundance Kid” The photos say it all.

Katherine Ross, Robert Redford
and Paul
Newman from "Butch
Cassidy and the
Sundance Kid"

The end of the film was the frozen still of Butch and

Sundance as they emerged from the building where they

had been held up. The pair discuss where they will be going

next, realizing that their time is up (Butch suggests Australia,

where at least they speak English). They dash out of the

house in a futile attempt to get to their horses. The image

freezes and slowly turns to a sepia tone while a voice is

heard ordering, "Fire” followed by the sound of hundreds of

rifles being fired in three consecutive volleys.

For those who enjoyed seeing the “Raindrops Keep Fallin’

On My Head” film clip then just click on this video below and

you will be able to see the entire sequence with Paul,

Katherine and the bicycle ride.

THE STING is a caper film set in September 1936 and revolving

around a complicated plot by two professional drifters Paul

Newman and Robert Redford to con a mob boss Robert Shaw.

Robert Shaw, Robert Redford and Paul Newman from 'The Sting"

(Here’s another fine actor who left the world of film long before

his time – just a little bit of info on Robert Shaw who died of a

heart attack in Ireland while filming “Avalanche Express”, on

August 28, 1978. He was driving home with his wife, Virginia,

and his youngest son, Thomas, after golfing with friends during

a break in filming. After feeling chest pains, he stopped the car

and told Virginia he would get out and walk them off. After

taking four or five steps he collapsed by the side of the road

and was pronounced dead by the paramedic team which arrived

fifteen minutes later – he was only 51 years old).

The film was a major box office success in 1973, taking in more

than US$160 million. The film won seven Academy Awards,

including Best Picture and Best Director.

The drifters, then dressed
up for the Sting

ROAD TO PERDITION: The role of John Rooney, a

Depression-era Chicago organized-crime boss composed

of equal portions of Irish charm and menace, was,

Newman said at the time, ''a marvelous part...of a size that

was appropriate for a gentleman of my age.''

He's not on screen for long, under Sam Mende's skilled

direction the Newman reveals a few new tricks, most

prominently a mesmerizing, frigid stillness he brings to

the moments in which Rooney weighs his remaining

humanity against his vast capacity for evil without ever

tipping his hand to the audience. He's particularly riveting

in the scenes he shares with Tom Hanks, as the enforcer

who's almost like a son to him, and Daniel Craig, as the

vicious brute he actually fathered. This was Newman's

last big-screen appearance, and the occasion for his ninth

Oscar nomination for acting.

Paul Newman and Tom Hanks from "Road to Perdition"

CARS: As he passed his 80th birthday, Newman spoke

longingly of taking one last acting job — perhaps something

that would pair him with Robert Redford again. But this lively,

funny voiceover performance in the Pixar smash turned out

to be his final role — an appropriate swan song since it allowed

the actor and one of his great passions, automobiles, to merge

into one. He provided the voice of Doc Hudson, a retired race car

in Disney/Pixar's 2006 film "Cars." In May 2007, Newman

announced his retirement, citing a loss of confidence and

invention that prevented him from working ''at the level I would

want to...so that's pretty much a closed book for me.''

He went out on top: Cars was the highest-grossing film of his

career (which is a bit weird that this is an animated film in which

Paul doesn't appear as only his voice is heard).

And a final word: "There is a point where feelings go beyond

words. I have lost a real friend. My life - and this country -

is better for his being in it," said actor Robert Redford,

Newman's friend and co-star in "Butch Cassidy" and "The Sting."

Paul Newman has aged gracefully, still with those piercing,

sparkling blue eyes. After 50 years in the film industry and

with 60 films “under his belt” his legacy will live on for

generations to come to watch, enjoy and marvel at his

acting skill. He made it look so easy. Although he had

retired from acting, he will still be missed by family and

the film going audience alike.

Cool Hand Luke and Paul Newman were both cool dudes.


Peter said...

Mr Cool described and paid the due tributes by Mr Obituary, Wazza.
A sad loss of yet another of the legends of the screen.

Merle said...

Dear Warren ~~ Great tribute to Paul Newman who was a favourite of mine. He was a terrific actor, and a great man who gave so much to charities all over the world. Thank you for compiling this
He sure was a very popular guy.
Take care, Love, Merle.

Hale McKay said...


I bow before the master! Warren you ARE Mister Biography.

I finally made it over hear to see if you had compiled a tribute to Paul Newman.

My post of the same can only serve as a preview to this excellent piece.

A tip of the hat and a Benny Salute to you.