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A great actor and an all-around decent human being, Newman was able to keep his fame and success in perspective and his ego in rein. This is a program bio he wrote for himself when he appeared in "Our Town" in Westport, Connecticut a few years ago:
"Paul Newman is probably best known for his spectacularly successful food conglomerate. In addition to giving the profits to charity he also ran Frank Sinatra out of the spaghetti sauce business. On the downside, the spaghetti sauce is outgrossing his films. He did graduate from Kenyon College magna cum lager and in the process begat a laundry business which was the only student-run enterprise on Main Street. Yale University later awarded him an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters for unknown reasons. He has won four Sports Car of America National Championships and is listed in the Guinness Book of World as the oldest driver (70) to win a professionally sanctioned race (24 hours of Daytona, 1995). He is married to the best actress on the planet, was number 19 on Nixon's enemy list, and purely by accident has done 51 films and four Broadway plays. He is generally considered by professionals to be the worst fisherman on the east coast."
I JUST got done watching The Color of Money, literally 5 minutes ago.
- but couldn't help myself just now when I read the news. A genuinely good guy, a talent that never stopped growing - those eyes that smile oh God that scene on the bicycle. Here's the one actor who could have won any political office he chose, but he had more class than to trade in on his laurels, and accomplished much more through private-citizen efforts.
If anyone still has an interest in defining "decent American," you might as well just say Paul Newman and let it go at that.
Going to pop up some Newman’s Own corn tonight, break out his salsa and settle down with any one of his titles in the house: Twilight, maybe, or Hudsucker Proxy - or Butch and Sundance, of course.
I won't put him in the same category as Brando, DeNiro, Bogie, etc., but he was a great actor who starred in a lot of good movies.
Although he won an Oscar for The Color of Money and although his most recent nomination was Best Supporting Actor for Road to Perdition, I can't say those are his best movies or performances. I'd have to go with Butch Cassidy, The Sting, and The Hudsucker Proxy, the latter of which is usually skipped over when critics compare Coen Bros. films but which I thought was actually a fun romp, with Newman being arguably the best thing about it.
I never saw Cool Hand Luke.
And when you do see it, I'll bet it finds a place on your Best of Newman List if not at the top of it.
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