01 October 2008

RIP: Paul Newman


Paul Newman in The Sting


Paul Leonard Newman
26 Jan 1925 – 26 Sep 2008


Part of the problem with having to use the library's computers is that I often run a few days behind on the news. By now, of course, it's almost old news that Paul Newman died last week.

ZUI this article from the New York Times:
Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as the anti-hero of such films as ''Hud,'' ''Cool Hand Luke'' and ''The Color of Money'' -- and as an activist, race car driver and popcorn impresario -- has died. He was 83.

Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.

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A screen legend by his mid-40s, he waited a long time for his first competitive Oscar, winning in 1987 for ''The Color of Money,'' a reprise of the role of pool shark ''Fast'' Eddie Felson, whom Newman portrayed in the 1961 film ''The Hustler.''

Newman delivered a magnetic performance in ''The Hustler,'' playing a smooth-talking, whiskey-chugging pool shark who takes on Minnesota Fats -- played by Jackie Gleason -- and becomes entangled with a gambler played by George C. Scott. In the sequel -- directed by Scorsese -- ''Fast Eddie'' is no longer the high-stakes hustler he once was, but rather an aging liquor salesman who takes a young pool player (Cruise) under his wing before making a comeback.

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Newman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the second of two boys of Arthur S. Newman, a partner in a sporting goods store, and Theresa Fetzer Newman.

He was raised in the affluent suburb of Shaker Heights, where he was encouraged him to pursue his interest in the arts by his mother and his uncle Joseph Newman, a well-known Ohio poet and journalist.

Following World War II service in the Navy, he enrolled at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he got a degree in English and was active in student productions.

He later studied at Yale University's School of Drama, then headed to New York to work in theater and television, his classmates at the famed Actor's Studio including Brando, James Dean and Karl Malden.

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Newman is survived by his wife, five children, two grandsons and his older brother Arthur.

Like Richard Boone, Newman was a gunner on torpedo bombers, serving as an Aviation Radioman with Torpedo Squadrons 98, 99 and 100. At the end of the war he was an ARM3/c with a VT-99 contingent aboard USS Hollandia (CVE 97).

Newman's listing at IMDb is here. It seems I've only seen four of his movies: Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting and The Towering Inferno (though I have a vague feeling that I might have seen at least part of The Hustler on telly). The Sting is definitely my favourite of the four.


Newman (right) and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

2 comments:

Cloudscome said...

When I was in HS in a suburb of Cleveland (right next to Shaker Hts.) my English teacher told us she was Paul Newman's sister. She was very convincing but I always wondered if she was telling us the truth. A rummer was going around about it and when we asked her she said she didn't usually tell people because no one believed her. She said she had a different name from him because he changed his name when he became an actor. It seems from his Obit that he only had a brother, however. My favorite movie of his is Butch Cassidy.

ds8848 said...

I also had an English teacher in the Warrensville School system (next to Shaker Hts.) that said she was Paul Newman's sister. I believe my teacher's name was Ms. or Mrs. Kushner. Did Paul Newman have a sister? Thanks.