Screen legend Paul Newman passed away last Friday. He was one of the best actors to ever grace the big screen.
By ALJEAN HARMETZ
Paul Newman, one of the last of the great 20th-century movie stars, died Friday at his home in Westport, Conn. He was 83.
The cause was cancer, said Jeff Sanderson of Chasen & Company, Mr. Newman’s publicists.
If Marlon Brando and James Dean defined the defiant American male as a sullen rebel, Paul Newman recreated him as a likable renegade, a strikingly handsome figure of animal high spirits and blue-eyed candor whose magnetism was almost impossible to resist, whether the character was Hud, Cool Hand Luke or Butch Cassidy.
He acted in more than 65 movies over more than 50 years, drawing on a physical grace, unassuming intelligence and good humor that made it all seem effortless.
Yet he was also an ambitious, intellectual actor and a passionate student of his craft, and he achieved what most of his peers find impossible: remaining a major star into a craggy, charismatic old age even as he redefined himself as more than Hollywood star. He raced cars, opened summer camps for ailing children and became a nonprofit entrepreneur with a line of foods that put his picture on supermarket shelves around the world.
Mr. Newman made his Hollywood debut in the 1954 costume film “The Silver Chalice.” Stardom arrived a year and a half later, when he inherited from James Dean the role of the boxer Rocky Graziano in “Somebody Up There Likes Me.” Mr. Dean had been killed in a car crash before the screenplay was finished.
It was a rapid rise for Mr. Newman, but being taken seriously as an actor took longer. He was almost undone by his star power, his classic good looks and, most of all, his brilliant blue eyes. “I picture my epitaph,” he once said. “Here lies Paul Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown.”
Mr. Newman’s filmography was a cavalcade of flawed heroes and winning antiheroes stretching over decades. In 1958 he was a drifting confidence man determined to marry a Southern belle in an adaptation of “The Long, Hot Summer.” In 1982, in “The Verdict,” he was a washed-up alcoholic lawyer who finds a chance to redeem himself in a medical malpractice case.
Paul Newman starred in many films including The Hustler, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, The Color of Money, Hud and The Long Hot Summer. Mr. Newman was nominated for eight Academy Awards for Best Actor and once for Best Supporting Actor. He won his only Oscar for his role in The Color of Money.
Besides acting Paul Newman was an avid race car driver. He also had his own multi million dollar business Newman’s Own selling salad dressing, popcorn and other foods. Profits from Newman’s Own were donated to charity.
Paul Newman’s survivors include his wife of 50 years, actress Joanne Woodward and their three daughters. He has two daughters and a son from his first marriage. His son Scott died in 1978 of an accidental drug overdose.
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RIP Paul Newman!!