Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman 1925-2008

On Saturday morning I learned that one of my favorite actors, Academy Award winner Paul Newman, died on Friday at the age of 83 after a battle with cancer. Even though I knew through news reports about a month ago that it was unlikely that Paul would live to see 2009, his death still hit me. One of the things I liked about Paul's screen persona is that he had a nice balance of easygoing charm for the ladies to go along with a cool, rebellious nature that guys could appreciate too. Even though he had the physical looks that some might term "pretty boy", he never played it up to the point where guys in the audience wanted to punch his lights out.

Below are 5 of my favorite Paul Newman roles:

1. Lucas Jackson (Cool Hand Luke)
2. "Fast" Eddie Felson (The Hustler, The Color of Money)
3. Chance Wayne (The Sweet Bird of Youth)
4. Henry Gondorff (The Sting)
5. Donald J. "Sully" Sullivan (Nobody's Fool)

Besides liking Paul Newman the actor, I respected Paul Newman the man. Throughout his career, he remained active in both social causes (Paul was one of many celebrities to participate in the March on Washington in 1963), as well as charitable ones (according to the Newman's Own website, the franchise has given over $250 million in proceeds to charities worldwide). Along with his philanthropy, I also admired Paul Newman's stance on marriage. In an industry where couples sometimes are headed to divorce court before the ink is dry on their marriage certificate, Newman's 50 year union with his second wife (award-winning actress Joanne Woodward) was one of the most enduring in the world of entertainment. When asked about infidelity, Paul responded "Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?"

Once Turner Classic Movies announces their lineup change in order to pay tribute to Paul Newman, I'll post the information.

Below is a montage of scenes from Paul Newman's legendary film career:


pjazzypar said...

Aw Man! This guy was one of the classiest act that ever graced Hollywood and his résumé definitely speaks for itself. I had no idea he was ill. The last time I saw him was on television when he and Robert Redford did an episode of the Sundance network show "Iconoclast". He was still charming and charismatic, and still possessed the same twinkle in those blue eyes that he had in all of his films. He was an actor that continued to work in later years, at time when many veteran actors throw in the towel.

Among my favorite Newman films are "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof", "Somebody Up There Likes Me","Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid", "The Hustler", "The Color of Money" and of course "Cool Hand Luke". When Premiere Magazine does a list of 24 Great Performances from each year, they often ask the actors who their idols are. Newman has been the most frequently cited idol so far.

The guy was so versatile he also had a viable career as a race car driver. When I lived in Long Beach, California I actually witnessed him racing in the Long Beach Grand Prix.

In later years and to a younger, healthier generation he might be known for his line of salad dressings and organic foods.The company has made more than $100 million in profits over the years, all of which he has donated to various charities.

Interesting Factoid: In the 1970s, long before Brokeback Mountain (2005), he was thwarted by Hollywood in his desire to star in the movie version of the best-selling novel "The Front Runner", about the love affair between a male coach and a male star runner. The project remains unmade.

Candy Minx said...

I was so sad this morning when I heard this news. He really is wonderful.

Some of my favourite movies with Newman are...

Torn Curtain
Slap Shot (I put some clips on my blog this morning)
Nobody's Fool The Sting
Butch and Sundance
The Verdict
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

but I can't think of when he wasn't any good in a role despite the qualities of the movies.

I am looking forward to your listing for TCM this week. I also watched a couple of the reviews and memoriams on tv this morning...he really was an incredible person as well as actor. He seemed to really live life to the fullest.

Anonymous said...

Oh Man! I was so sad to learn about this today. What a legend.

We recently saw Winning, and I really enjoyed it. Chris loves Slapshot, but my favorites were The Sting and The Color of Money.

Anonymous said...

I almost forgot about that's Chris' real Paul Newman favorite. Have you seen that one?

The Gal Herself said...

I love your list. Those are terrific choices. Reggie Dunlap from Slap Shot and Hud Bannon must have been hard to pass over.

Poor Redford. First Sydney Pollack, now Paul Newman. It must be hard to see your best-known collaborators pass away.

MsMarvalus said...

They just don't make them like Paul Newman anymore...I am just saddened by his passing...I saw that Iconoclast with him and Redford and it was awesome!

I would still say that "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" is my favorite...he and Liz Taylor together were magnificent...

Malcolm said...

Pjazzy: Wow, I had never heard the story about "The Front Runner"! Now that would have turned Hollywood upside down. It would have been interesting to see what effect (if any) the movie might have had on his career.

Candy: You know, I have not seen "The Verdict" yet. I did catch part of it while channel surfing, but that doesn't really count.

Thriving Holly: ESPN made it a point to mention that Paul Newman made a lot of sports related movies. I saw "Blaze" years ago. Lolita Davidovich was a feast for the eyes. Is that why Chris liked it?

The Gal Herself: Yes, it was hard narrowing down the list of fave Paul Newman roles to five. I was thinking about Robert Redford just like you were. Speaking of Sydney Pollack... back when he died, I was looking up info about him and didn't realize he directed 8 films that starred Robert Redford.

Ms. Marvulus: I was watching Cat On A Hot Tin Roof a few months ago. I had forgotten that Jack Carson (one of my favorite character actors) played Paul Newman's brother. I'm looking forward to seeing it again during TCM's tribute to Newman.

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

Great tribute!

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe. But I think it was more the corrupt Louisiana politics and the Huey Long connection.

Malcolm said...

Bud Weiser: Thanks for stopping by.

Thriving Holly: Thanks for explaining. Speaking of corrupt politics... if you and Chris haven't seen it, I think you'd enjoy the original 1949 version of "All the King's Men". As you may know, the lead character is loosely based on Huey P. Long.

Holly Smith said...

We actually rented All the Kings Men (the recent one from maybe a few years ago)last year, and even though the acting was pretty bad, he did enjoy it. We totally need to rent the original. I'm sure it's much better!

Malcolm said...

Holly: I heard mixed reviews about the remake. Still, I want to see it.

In case you haven't already rented it, TCM is airing the orig. version of "All the King's Men" on Friday Oct. 10th at 4 pm EST. I'll be interested to hear what you and Chris think of it when you see it.

Patrick Roberts said...

it's hard not to admire Paul Newman for putting his money to work in such productive ways, such as his Newman's Own line--high quality stuff and the proceeds go to good causes... very smart.

Malcolm said...

Patrick: Thanks for stopping by. If Paul Newman had been just an actor, I don't think we would have seen nearly the amount of fans taking the time to pay their respects. There's no doubt that he was one of the all-time greats.

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