Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hollywood Icon Paul Newman Dies

Hollywood icon and philanthropist Paul Newman died yesterday of lung cancer at the age of 83.

He knew the end was near last month and he chose to leave the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York to be near bis wife and children at their farmhouse near Westport.

Newman married actress Joanne Woodward in 1958, his second marriage, and they have three daughters together.

Newman is a Hollywood legend, starring in over 70 films and tv shows in his career.  He broke on the scene with beautiful blue eyes and a soulful quality, then continued making films up until a few years ago showing acting chops that transcended nearly all his contemporaries.

Do yourself a favor and have a dvd film festival at your house and watch "Cool Hand Luke" next to "The Verdict", then "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" next to "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" just to get a taste of his range.

After being in the Navy for three years, Newman was educated at the famed Yale Drama School then the New York Actors Studio (alumns include James Baldwin, Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, Ellen Burstyn, Anne Bancroft, Robert De Niro, James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Steve McQueen, Al Pacino and his wife Woodward).

He made his Broadway debut in my favorite playwright - William Inge's "Picnic" (brilliant play, still relevant). 

The gay character he did play on screen was Brick in out-playwright Tennessee William's CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

Because of studio concern and meddling, the true reason that Brick was ignoring his cat-ish wife and dwelling on his track buddy was squelched.  

He started his Newman's Own in 1982 and and was once quoted as saying, "The embarrassing thing is that the salad dressing is outgrossing my films." He has given over $200 million dollars to charity through his Newman's Own label.

He also directed several film and tv projects including "The Glass Mengerie" and "Rachel, Rachel" starring his wife Joanne, and "Harry & Son", "The Effect of Gamma Rays on the Man in the Moon Marigolds" and the tv version of one of my other favorite plays, "The Shadow Box" (also starring Woodward, and another of my fav all time actors Sylvia Sidney).

To get a good taste of the scope of his work, check out: "Hud", "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "Fort Apache, The Bronx", "The Sting", "The Hustler", "Exodus" and "The Verdict".  Just to get a taste of the range of his talent.


Anonymous said...

Those younger photos of him are hilarious. He definitely knew what a good looking guy he was, and how to work it; what with all his posing and protruding pouty lips.


Anonymous said...

thank you mr. Newman for so much art and beauty