Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paul Newman's death the end of an era

The death of Paul Newman today at the age of 83 brings back memories for me of a more innocent, uncomplicated and PC free world.

I remember seeing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on the TV as a young boy and thinking at the time, why couldn't my Dad be more like him?

Onscreen Paul Newman often played the hero or gruff outsider. The irascible chief in Towering Inferno, the irrepressible conman in The Sting, or the reprise of his role as "Fast Eddie" Felson in The Hustler in 1961 and all those years latter in the 1986 film The Color of Money.

I grew up watching all Newman's movies and tried not to miss anything he was in. 

To me his on screen persona was the epitome of cool wrapped in an American flag.
I most identified with the independent, "outsider" characters that he often played.

As a watcher of his movies I also knew little of his personal life, his star seemed to shine from the screen through his performances and talent rather than what foibles he might have had in is private one.

Only when I got older did one hear snippets of what he achieved behind the cameras and in one of his last interviews on the David Letterman Show the twinkle in his eyes was still apparent.

Paul Newman was a devoted husband to Joanne Woodward and his children for 50 years, not only long in Hollywood but long for any marriage and a selfless charitable individual who raised millions through his Newman's Own brand of salad dressing and oils.

He did this all under the radar, with humility, care, kindness and an obvious love for his profession and those close to him.

An answer to the question of why wasn't he attracted to the beautiful woman he often starred alongside really sums Paul Newman up for me:

"Why go out for a hamburger when you can have steak at home".

His old fashioned sensibility, manners, talent and sense of loyalty are sadly lacking, in Hollywood especially, but also in the wider community(some of our politicians in New Zealand could learn a thing or two from him, especially about honesty) and his passing, sadly seems to leave alot of those positive characteristics dead with him with some notable Hollywood exceptions.

He was above all a gentleman.

He will be sadly missed by millions and one big fan of his down in New Zealand.

Related Link

VIDEO-Coolhand Luke Famous egg eating scene

c Political Animal 2008


  1. Paul Newman's acting was matched by his private life.

    He was without peer.

  2. I will have to get down to the Video store and pull out the Color of Money.

    One of his best parts.

  3. The Sting was a favorite for me Darren. Those blue eyes could just look right through you.

  4. I prefer Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid from his 1970's stuff but The Sting was a goody too.


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