R.I.P. Paul Newman

Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
w/Robert Redford

Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008) was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian and auto racing enthusiast. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, and an Emmy award, along with many honorary awards. He also won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing and his race teams won several championships in open wheel IndyCar racing.

Newman was a co-founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donated all profits and royalties to charity. As of May 2007, these donations had exceeded US$220 million.

On September 26, 2008, Newman died at his long-time home in Westport, Connecticut, of complications arising from cancer. Wikipedia

When asked why he's given so much to charity: Why not? I don't need it.

When he landed on Nixon's Enemies List: The single highest honour I've ever received.

I was terrorized by the emotional requirements of being an actor. Acting is like letting your pants down; you're exposed.

I wasn't driven to acting by any inner compulsion. I was running away from the sporting goods business.

The first time I remember women reacting to me was when we were filming Hud in Texas. Women were literally trying to climb through the transoms at the motel where I stayed. At first, it's flattering to the ego. At first. Then you realize that they're mixing me up with the roles I play — characters created by writers who have nothing to do with who I am.

I've been accused of being aloof. I'm not. I'm just wary.

I had no natural gift to be anything — not an athlete, not an actor, not a writer, not a director, a painter of garden porches — not anything. So I've worked really hard, because nothing ever came easily to me.

Building weapons that we don’t need, don’t work, and aren’t necessary, and have no mission — that’s not bad politics, that’s robbery.

I don't think there's anything exceptional or noble in being philanthropic. It's the other attitude that confuses me.

I cannot bear to look at a film that I made before 1990. Maybe 1985. There's no sense even trying to explain it. I really just can't watch myself. I see all the machinery at work and it just drives me nuts, so I don't look at anything.

When I realized I was going to have to be a whore, to put my face on the label, I decided that the only way I could do it was to give away all the money we make. Over the years, that ethical stance has given us a 30 per cent boost. One in three customers buys my products because all the profits go to good causes and the rest buy the stuff because it is good.

You can't be as old as I am without waking up with a surprised look on your face every morning: "Holy Christ, whaddya know — I'm still around!" It's absolutely amazing that I survived all the booze and smoking and the cars and the career.

Upon winning the 1986 Academy Award for Best Actor (in The Color of Money), after having been nominated seven times: It's like chasing a beautiful woman for 80 years. Finally, she relents and you say, "I am terribly sorry. I'm tired."

A man with no enemies is a man with no character.

If you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you.

"I think I get a very unfortunate view of the press. I think of what is written about me, about 5% of it is accurate. I'm not comfortable with them, they're not comfortable with me. I certainly am not comfortable with photographers.

Almost everything I learned about being an actor came from those early years at the Actor's Studio.

Acting isn't really a creative process, it's an interpretative one.

You can't stop being a citizen just because you have a Screen Actors' Guild card.

Ever since "Slapshot" I've been swearing more. I knew I had a problem one day when I turned to my daughter and said: 'Would you please pass the fucking salt?'.

When asked why he thinks he became so successful as an actor: I have a face that does not belong to a thief.

Speaking of a $10 million donation he made to his alma mater: "I owe Kenyon College a great deal. I even started my first business, a laundry service, there, and I depended on the extra $60 a week."

On Henry Fonda: If I can be like Henry Fonda, then I look forward to aging to sixty and beyond -- and not just because Hank finally won the Oscar he deserved. He was a good character actor and a good actor in the American tradition of playing variations on oneself.

It'd be lunatic to try to get into politics at my age. I don't think I'd have the stomach for it. I wish I felt a little more comfortable about the direction that we're going. It does not seem to be of the people, by the people and for the people. It seems to be about something else completely different. I think part of it is the media's fault for not being more aggressive and persistent and nasty and I think it's the people's fault for not paying attention. That's not a good combination. It allows people in government to do pretty much what they want.

Paul Newman's only son, Scott, died of an accidental drug-and-alcohol overdose in 1978. Of their relationship, Newman said, "I had lost the ability to help him ... we both backed away."

People Magazine

Paul Newman was sent to the Navy V-12 program at Ohio University, with hope of being accepted for pilot training, but this plan was foiled when it was discovered he was color blind.

After attending Ohio University for one year, he was expelled.

His first film, The Silver Chalice (1954), was nearly his last. He considered his performance in this costume epic to be so bad that he took out a full-page ad in a trade paper apologizing for it to anyone who might have seen it.

Said that he burned his tuxedo on his 75th birthday because he is through with formality.

He was the visual inspiration for the original illustrations of superhero Green Lantern/Hal Jordan.

His father was of Hungarian and Polish heritage and his mother was of Hungarian heritage.

Students at Princeton University have named 24 April Newman's Day. Students try to drink 24 beers over the 24 hours of the day. The tradition stems from a comment that Newman is alleged to have made; "24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not." The event is not officially sponsored by the university, and Newman has commented that he would "like to bring an end to the tradition".

Lee Strasberg, who trained Newman at the Actor's Studio, said that he would have been as great an actor as Marlon Brando if he hadn't been so handsome. According to Strasberg, Newman had the talent, but he too often relied on his good looks to coast through a role.

Early in his acting career, he was often mistaken for Marlon Brando. He claims to have signed around 500 autographs reading, "Best wishes, Marlon Brando."

Turned down the role of Quint in Jaws (1975).

The GI Bill got him through his first 3 months at Yale. To pay tuition for the rest of his time there, he sold Encyclopedia Britannica. He claims he was very good at it.

Godfather of Jake Gyllenhaal.

Prior to filming The Hustler (1961) , Newman lacked talent at playing pool. But after brushing up on it for the role, he felt very confident in his ability. So he bet co-star Jackie Gleason $50 on a game of pool. Being the excellent pool player he was, Gleason beat Newman. Instead of paying him in dollar bills, Newman dumped $50 worth of pennies on the table for Gleason to take.

One of the most sought after and valuable collectible Rolex watches, the early "Daytona" model, from the 1960's, is known unofficially and passionately world wide, as the Rolex "Paul Newman." "Paul Newmans" in steel fetch as much as $100,000 in auctions. This nickname was adopted as he sported one in film.

During the 1950s and 1960s he was a close friend of fellow Democrat and civil rights activist Charlton Heston. Later, in 1983, after Heston's political beliefs had moved to the Right, both actors took opposing sides in a television debate on President Ronald Reagan's Star Wars defense missile program. Heston, much better briefed and prepared than Newman, was judged to have won the debate easily. Some years later, when Newman learned that Heston was supposed to introduce him at an awards ceremony, Newman insisted that his one-time friend be replaced by the liberal Donald Sutherland.

Was offered the role of "Judah Ben-Hur" in Ben-Hur (1959) but turned it down because he said he didn't have the legs to wear a tunic.

Got two roles which were first offered to Elvis Presley but which were turned down by Presley's manager: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1962).

Longtime supporter of gun control, and a member of Handgun Control Inc.

In the 1970s, long before Brokeback Mountain (2005), he was thwarted by Hollywood in his desire to star in the movie version of the best-selling novel "The Front Runner", about the love affair between a male coach and a male star runner. The project remains unmade.

Turned down the role of Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry (1971) because he thought the screenplay was too right-wing, and recommended Clint Eastwood for the part instead.

After seven nominations and no Oscars, Newman took home an honorary Academy Award in 1986. A year later, he finally won Best Actor for The Color of Money – but wasn't present at the ceremony to accept the statuette himself.

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