Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman (1925-2008)

Paul Newman – one of the great Hollywood leading men of the last half-century – died yesterday of cancer. He was 83.

Newman was also a noted humanitarian and liberal activist. He spoke at a 1963 “freedom rally” in Chicago along with Dick Gregory, Dorothy Dandridge, Ralph Albernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Paul Newman was the only actor on President Nixon’s original “enemies list.” (As that infamous list grew, it would include Jane Fonda, Gregory Peck, Bill Cosby, Barbra Streisand, Carol Channing and Tony Randall.)

Newman was targeted by the Nixon White House because of “Radic-lib causes. Heavy [Eugene] McCarthy involvement ’68. Used effectively in nationwide T.V. commercials.” I can’t find online any video of Paul Newman in a political ad. Maybe those will emerge.

But there is on YouTube a cool Hollywood artifact: Newman together with James Dean in a 1955 screen test for “East of Eden.” It’s embedded below.

I’m also streaming an audio clip in honor of Mr. Newman. It’s his final courtroom speech in the 1982 film “The Verdict.” Written by David Mamet, this is a beautiful speech, beautifully acted. Click here to hear it.

“The Verdict” and “The Color of Money” are my favorite Paul Newman movies.

16 comments:

bklyn6 said...

What a handsome man!

Just finished reading this at Yahoo. I was a little surprised to hear the news. Oddly, one of the first thoughts I had was if he was Jewish; I've always thought it was.

R.I.P. Mr. Newman.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

One of my all-time favorite actors on whom I grew up. You know what's funny is that I just began a Paul Newman Sidney Lumet kick. Just watched Absence of Malice for the first time. Planned to watch the Lumet-Newman collaboration in The Verdict. With you, Dave, one of my favorite Newman flicks. You know another one? The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean and Buffalo Bill and the Indians. He KILLS in Hud, which I think was him at his best. Cool Hand Luke - well. When has he not been good? Even in that disaster trash, The Towering Inferno with my boy Steve McQueen. Fort Apache - The Bronx. Let me stop.

Waiting for TCM to do the marathon tribute.

Really admire his philanthropy and health-conscious business. Good model to emulate.

Andrew said...

I'll throw my love to one young Newman and one old Newman, The Hustler and Nobody's Fool.

Andrew said...

Oh and bklyn6, if we're to believe that Hannukah song Adam Sandler did on SNL all those years ago, then Paul Newman is half Jewish (Goldie Hawn's half too). I can't believe I still remember that song.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ "Put 'em both together, that's a good-looking Jew!"

bklyn6 said...

In the Yahoo article one fact that really stood out for me was that he "usually refused to sign autographs because he found the majesty of the act offensive, according to one friend."

I guess I never thought about it that way before, but I get it. I like his modesty.

dickster1961 said...

A few years ago, my father in law was introduced to Paul Newman. My father in law had a boat down in Florida and the manager of the marina recommended his boat to Newman for a chartered fishing trip. He ended up taking him out a couple of times.

To show what type of person Paul Newman was, in thanks for the fishing, he sent my in-laws a ham that we had for Easter dinner. Definitely a class act.

maria said...

time mag has some great shots, but i think this one has a misidentified black man. isn't this andrew young?

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1845175_1772957,00.html

maria said...

or misidentified person. don't know charles welhan was but why not ID young?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Congratulations, Maria! And thanks. You are, indeed, correct. And I can't find out who the heck Charles Welhan is supposed to be.

ExpatJane said...

RIP Paul Newman

maria said...

me, neither. he doesn't exist anywhere. doesn't time have fact checkers? how crazy.

intrepidideas said...

Wow, didn't know Newman had his hand so deep into the politics jar. Thanks for the info. I dug him in Hombre, Cool Hand Luke, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He will be missed!

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Just finished watching The Verdict again. I think it might've been Paul's finest moment. He played the cockey smart-ass, in a nuanced fashion, many times. But in The Verdict he was beaten down. And he was so convincing. Maybe he was the beaten down cockey smart ass. Re-watch that joint.

jjbrock said...

UBM, Newman was a great man from what I have been reading and seeing on TV. He was one of does people who was doing great works but you never heard about it until after death.

My understanding is he kept a very low profile. I didn't no that the monies from the sale of his salad dressing went to a charity he started. I was watching a special today and I was surprise with some of the information.

My favorite movies by Newman has to be the Sting and the Color of money. Why watching The Sting is when I really paid attention to Newman and his acting.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I just saw "The Sting" for the first time a couple of months ago on cable. And whenever I stumble upon "The Color of Money," I have to watch it to the end.

I need to catch up on his '60s movies.