Paul Newman; Film Icon, Race Car Driver/Owner, Humanitarian and Political Animal


We've lost another film legend this weekend; Paul Newman, who acted in more than 65 movies over more than 50 years, died on Sept 26. He was 83. He finally lost his battle with lung cancer and died at his home in Westport, Connecticut yesterday.

He retired from acting in 2007. Newman began his Hollywood career in the 1950s in theater and television - over the course of his career he was nominated for 10 Oscars and won 3. He appeared in such classic films as Cool Hand Luke, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hud, and achieved star status for his appearances in The Hustler, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and of course, The Sting (one of my all time favorite movies). Newman worked with some of the greatest directors of the past half century, from Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston to Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese and the Coen brothers. His co-stars included Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall, Tom Cruise, his wife Joanne Woodward, Tom Hanks and, most famously, Robert Redford.

After filming Winning, a movie filmed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he caught the racing bug. After his own racing career wound down in the 70's (though he still raced and won well into the 90's) he formed his own Indy Car team of Newman/Haas Racing, Mario and Michael Andretti were the most famous of his drivers. Every month of May for two decades, he was an Indy 500 fixture until the infamous Indy Car / CART split. A heartbroken Newman vowed never to return. This last year, sanity prevailed and the Indy Racing League absorbed CART. Newman joyfully returned last May for what was to be his final trip to the Speedway. In an undated interview with WISH TV 8 broadcast 9/27/08, he admitted he had long since lost his love for making movies, simply using the money he made to invest back into his racing team.

In 1994, he won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for his charitable work, primarily with his Newman's Own line.

He was the last of the great movie stars, a product of the studio system, yet forged a new career for himself by leading the way along with Steve McQueen as a new kind of male actor and star in the 60's and 70's.

If you're a member of Netflix, you can stream several of his films instantly.

The New York Times created a wonderful audio slide show of his career called A Late, Great Movie Star, narrated by Manohla Dargis. Be sure to check it out.

There's a great video tribute with clips from some of his films here. It's worth a look.

No comments:

Post a Comment