This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman, 1925-2008, R.I.P. (Updated)

Due to the unfortunate subject of this post, the column I originally promised for today will have to wait until 3 p.m. Monday. Sorry.

A few minutes ago, I arrived home after going out for a ready-made cup of coffee. I opened a newly-arrived email from a friend, who informed me that actor Paul Newman had died.

Terrific. Another tribute column that I "needed" to write.

As I began this piece, I looked down at the coffee which I'd just bought from McDonald's, only to see Paul Newman himself staring up at me from my cup of "Newman's Own."

I've yet to decide if that's really spooky, or really cool.

Whenever I begin drafting one of these posts, I usually pull up an online obituary to make sure I don't forget to mention something I'd be embarrassed to have forgotten after publishing the post without it, if that makes any sense. So I read a relatively brief obit written by a guy who focused so much on Newman's physical appearance that it made me vaguely uncomfortable: "Graced with physical beauty, striking blue eyes and a sinewy masculinity, Newman proved time and again that he was more than just a handsome face," and "Newman seemingly had grown more relaxed in a face and body that, while still strikingly attractive, no longer looked as if they had been sculpted by Michelangelo."

There isn't much I need to say about Paul Newman. (I know, I know, usually when I write that, the tribute ends up being 47 paragraphs!) Among his many films, my personal favorites were "The Verdict" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." (In fact, I've included not one, but two stills of Newman from that film.) But I enjoyed seeing him in virtually anything.

Usually when I do these little tributes, I try to include an anecdote or two which you may not have already heard or read. I can only think of two.

1. When Tom Hanks won his second consecutive Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor (in "Forrest Gump"), he said something to the effect of how honored he felt having won, considering the other four, talented actors who'd also been nominated. He went on to name Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Nigel Hoffman... And then he hesitated. He couldn't think of the fourth actor. Suddenly, the final name occurred to him. Hanks' eyes opened wide and he slapped his head while exclaiming "Paul Newman!"

As if to say, "How could anyone have forgotten Paul Newman?"

How indeed.

2. Shortly after "The Color of Money" was released, I read part of an interview with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. She told how, during the filming of the scene where Newman's character accidently saw her character's nude reflection, the cameramen filmed Newman and Mastrantonio as they stared at one another... but Paul Newman gazed directly into her eyes for the entirety of the shot.

What a class act.

You were a better man than I am, Mr. Newman.

Thanks for your time.


  1. I was going to watch "The Verdict" on Flix one weekend. Now as I go to watch it, it's not there. If/When it goes on there again I'll make sure to watch it.

  2. I love the Newman's Own COFFEE!

    And I always liked the way he didn't mind them monkeying with his image on some of his products. You've got to love people who don't take themselves too seriously... especially in an egocentric job like acting.


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