Friday, September 26, 2008

Rest in Peace to Paul Newman

I adore Paul Newman! Always have. When I saw my first Paul Newman movie on TCM as a kid, I was hooked for life. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is an all time fantastic film. I've seen it so many times at this point I now notice the interesting props in the background used to create their world. Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, Hud, The Long Hot Summer, The Hustler, Slap Shot, The Color of Money, The Sting, Nobody's Fool.......... I would be hard pressed to name another actor who has as many films that I actually like.

Not only did I admire him for his incredible acting ability and gorgeous, manly presence. I look up to his charity work! As he said, "A man can only be judged by his actions, and not by his good intentions or his beliefs." Paul Newman put his fame and tons of money to good use for others. I thought you might like to check out the amazing organization, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, he founded to lift the spirits of sick children ~

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married for 50 years! How long is that in Hollywood years? That doesn't happen often even outside of celebrity land. He famously said, "Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?"

A typical, self-effacing Paul Newman quote....... "I picture my epitaph: 'Here lies Paul Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown.'"

Back in June, Shawn Levy (who is writing a biography of Paul Newman) authored an amazing post about the man.

Going, Gently or Otherwise, into That Good Night
by Shawn Levy

So every day, between blogging and seeing movies and writing about movies and doing all the other things I do (and don't), I sit in a rented office in NW Portland and write a few (and sometimes more than a few) pages of a biography of Paul Newman. It's my fifth book, and it's the first that is about someone I can admire unqualifiedly. So even though it's a massive job of work (dude's been famous more than 50 years), it's a pleasure to share my brain space with him. Funny, upright, smart, brave, moral, talented, faithful, honest, manly, wise, humble: he's simply good people. A mensch, in fact and deed.

I have known for a while that Newman was very ill, probably with cancer, and today the internet is flooded with the news that it's lung cancer and that it's not good; there aren't very good sources on any of these stories, and nobody has any shocking exlusives, but given what I know I find every word of them credible (here's an example, for completeness's sake). He's 83, and his next birthday is in January, and we can only hope he'll make it. I suspect I'll be writing an obituary before I hold a copy of my book in my hand.

But, if my publishers can forgive the sentiment, my work seems very unimportant right now, and so, it seems to me, is a repetition of the man's amazing accomplishments on screen, on the race track, in the fields of food sales and philanthropy and as a family man, public citizen and friend. What matters is that a good -- and maybe a great -- man is passing from among us, and our world will be just that much smaller when he has gone.

So just this, then: Godspeed.

Photograph #1 ~ Close up of Paul Newman & those mesmerizing blue eyes

Photograph #2 ~ Beautiful black & white picture of Paul Newman (Brick) and Elizabeth Taylor (Maggie) from the film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


Anonymous said...

He was a wonderful actor. So sad to see this news. He and Elizabeth Taylor were fantastic in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I love that movie.

But I really like that movie he made with his wife, as the old couple. The title escapes me now, but the movie was really good.

Anonymous said...

What a loss. There aren't that many remaining actors in his league.

I'll never forget one time I had "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" playing on my TV. I was walking from the kitchen to the couch when I looked at the screen and literally froze in my tracks. It was a close-up of Paul, wearing a white dinner jacket, and his piercing blue eyes just popped.

May he rest in peace.