My first awareness of this actor was at a fairly young age. My mom was a huge fan, and she's not the giggly, star-struck type, but Paul Newman was all that and a bag of chips to my mom. Of course I thought he was "OLD", but I was a kid, and had never seen any of his movies.
It wasn't until I was in my late teens that I saw him in one of his movies for the first time; "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof", with Elizabeth Taylor. I finally began to understand what all the fuss was about. When you first look at him, he looks like your typical good-looking all-American guy, but then you see the intensity inside of him.
January 29, 1958
But probably what impressed me more was the enduring marriage he had with Joanne Woodward. (Despite his rather insensitive comment "Why would I go out for a hamburger when [I] have steak at home?" he asked.) To be such a good-looking, successful actor and to stay married to his wife in such an ego-boosting, anything goes industry is remarkable. I don't know, maybe it's the romance novel reader in me, but maintaining such a lasting relationship totally earns my respect. I had seen them in "Long, Hot Summer" and "A New Kind of Love" and their chemistry is amazing.
And of course you cannot forget his incredible charitable works over the years, the company Paul Newman's Own, which has given away over $200 million to various groups, including Hole in the Wall Gang camps, which benefit gravely ill children.
He was a race car driver, still racing at age 80. He graduated Yale. He directed. The man lived an incredible life, and gave so much back. Though he wasn't really from my era, it's obvious that he was a remarkable person during my lifetime. Icons like him are few and far between.
Paul, you will be missed.
(1925 - 2008)
Labels: Paul Newman