Paul Newman Dies Friday, another Legend gone

September 28, 2008

Tributes have poured in from around the world for Hollywood legend Paul Newman, who has died of cancer at the age of 83.

Newman – whose brilliant blue eyes, good looks and talent made him one of Tinseltown’s top actors over six decades – died on Friday at his farmhouse near Westport, Connecticut, surrounded by his family and close friends.

He appeared in some 60 films – including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting – earning him nine Oscar nominations for acting and the best actor honour for 1986’s The Color of Money.

The movie heart-throb donated all profits and royalties from his Newman’s Own range of food products to thousands of charities.

Newman said: “I wanted to acknowledge luck; the chance and benevolence of it in my life, and the brutality of it in the lives of others, who might not be allowed the good fortune of a lifetime to correct it.”

Robert Redford, who starred alongside Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, said: “There is a point where feelings go beyond words. I have lost a real friend. My life – and this country – is better for his being in it.”

Oscar-winning British director Sam Mendes, who worked with Newman on the 2002 film Road to Perdition, said it had been “the highlight of my professional life”.

He added: “To say he was an extraordinary man would be an understatement.

“It seems to me to be one of the great 20th-century lives. He was famously generous, with his extraordinary and unstinting work for his charities; he was a passionate advocate for the adrenaline and danger of his beloved racing cars; he was a shining example of how to use global fame for the greater good; and most of all he was one of the great movie actors of this or any other age.”

British actor Daniel Craig, who appeared alongside Newman in Road to Perdition, said: “He was one of the greatest screen actors of all time and a beautiful man. I think an era just ended.”

Australian star Russell Crowe said Newman was an inspiration.

He said: “Earlier, I read a quote from him which I find to be really amusing. It speaks so much to who he is.

“He said that regardless of his status, he was always a character actor – he just looked like Little Red Riding Hood.”

Newman was born in the Cleveland, Ohio, suburb of Shaker Heights. He briefly attended Ohio University before joining the US Navy, where he served as a radio operator and gunner in torpedo bombers in World War II.

After the war, he returned to college and graduated in 1949, when he enrolled at Yale University to study acting and subsequently joined Lee Strasberg’s Actors’ Studio in New York City.

Newman made his debut on Broadway and starred in his first movie in 1954, playing boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me, later followed by Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor.

His films The Hustler, in 1961, Harper in 1966 and Cool Hand Luke in 1967 made him a global superstar.

Newman married twice. He wed Jackie Witte in 1949 and the marriage ended in 1958. The couple had a son and two daughters. In 1978, his son Scott died of a drug overdose and the star opened the Scott Newman Centre for drug rehabilitation.

In 1958, Newman married actress and fellow Oscar-winner Joanne Woodward and they had three daughters together.

The couple had one of Hollywood’s rare long-term marriages. Asked if he had ever been tempted to stray, Newman told Playboy magazine: “I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?”.

One comment

  1. Paul Newman is a legend for his work in movies, and he’s a stud for all his work outside of movies

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