Paul Newman 1925-2008


Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008) 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.

Newman was a co-founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity. On September 26, 2008, Newman died at his long-time home in Westport, Connecticut, of complications arising from lung cancer.

Early life
Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland), the son of Theresa (née Fetzer or Fetsko and Arthur S. Newman, who ran a profitable sporting goods store. His father was Jewish and his mother was born to a Slovak Catholic family at Ptičie (formerly Peticse) in the former Kingdom of Hungary, now in Slovaki and converted to Christian Science when Paul was five. Newman had described himself as Jewish, stating that, "it's more of a challenge".

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, hoping to being accepted for pilot training, but this failed when it was discovered he was color blind. 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

Film career
Newman made his Broadway theater debut in the original production of William Inge's Picnic, with Kim Stanley. He later appeared in the original Broadway productions of The Desperate Hours and Sweet Bird of Youth with Geraldine Page. He would later star in the film version of Sweet Bird of Youth, which also starred Page.

Major films
Newman was one of the few actors who successfully made the transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s. His rebellious persona translated well to a subsequent generation. Newman starred in Exodus (1960), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966), Hombre (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Towering Inferno (1974), Slap Shot (1977) and The Verdict (1982). He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford and director George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973).

He appeared with his wife, Joanne Woodward, in the feature films The Long, Hot Summer (1958), Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!, (1958), From the Terrace (1960), Paris Blues (1961), A New Kind of Love (1963), Winning (1969), WUSA (1970), The Drowning Pool (1975), Harry & Son (1984) and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990).

Retirement from acting
Newman announced that he would entirely retire from acting on May 25, 2007. He told US broadcaster ABC that he didn't feel he could continue acting on the level that he would want to. "You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that's pretty much a closed book for me."


Paul Newman at an announcement for a new Hole in the Wall Camp in Carnation, Washington in 2007With writer A.E. Hotchner, Newman founded Newman's Own, a line of food products, in 1982. Newman established a policy that all proceeds from the sale of Newman's Own products, after taxes, would be donated to charity. Among other awards, Newman's Own co-sponsors the PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award, a $25,000 reward designed to recognize those who protect the First Amendment as it applies to the written word.

One beneficiary of his philanthropy is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp for seriously ill children, which is located in Ashford, Connecticut. Newman cofounded the camp in 1988; it was named after the gang in his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

Marriages and family

Newman was married twice. His first marriage was to Jackie Witte and lasted from 1949to 1958. Together they had a son, Scott (1950), and two daughters, Susan Kendall (1953) and Stephanie.[ Scott Newman, who died in November 1978 from an accidental drug overdose,
Newman lived away from the Hollywood environment. He made his home quietly in Westport, Connecticut, and was devoted to his wife and family. When asked about infidelity, he quipped, "Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?"

Political activism
For his strong support of Eugene McCarthy in 1968 (and effective use of television commercials in California), Newman was 19th on Richard Nixon's enemies list.

Consistent with his work for liberal causes, Newman publicly supported Ned Lamont's candidacy in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic Primary against Senator Joe Lieberman, and was even rumored as a candidate himself until Lamont emerged as a credible alternative. He had donated to Chris Dodd's presidential campaign.

If anybody made a differnce it was Paul Newman.


Sky said...

i never saw a newman movie i didn't like! i laughed over the weekend reading that he had taken out a rather large ad in the local newspaper apologizing to everyone when one of his early films was being aired on television. he thought it was horrible!

i guess my favorites were hud, the color of money, absence of malice, the verdict, torn curtain, the sting and, of course, butch cassidy and the sundance kid. i am eager to see "our town," which i missed when the production aired on television and did not see on broadway either. i think it brought him an emmy.

i knew a few months back when i saw a photograph of him in nyc following treatment that this day was not too far off, but i was so sad to wake on saturday to this news. :((

Lee said...

Yes, quite a character, quite a presence.

I do find it strange that the media has been so coy about his death. He died of lung cancer but they seem reluctant to publicise this fact.

NoVA Dad said...

What an outstanding actor; he'll definitely be missed. I think one of his finest performances was in "Road to Perdition," and I'll always love "The Sting."