Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman Dies of Cancer

Paul Newman Dies of Cancer
for 24-Hours of Propaganda

"I think transitions are never that noticeable, but they are always on their way. It has to do with distance and accessibility. People call it mellowing, but I think it's how available you are toward other people, or how much you distance yourself."

Paul Newman, known for his piercing blue eyes, boyish good looks and stellar performances in scores of hit Hollywood movies, has died, his foundation said Saturday. He was 83.

"It seems to me that the older I get, the more running around I do with less satisfaction, just spinning my wheels..."

Newman, who had been battling cancer, passed away on Friday, Newman's Own Foundation said in a statement from Westport, Connecticut.

"Paul Newman's craft was acting. His passion was racing. His love was his family and friends. And his heart and soul were dedicated to helping make the world a better place for all," Foundation Vice-Chairman Robert Forrester said.

"I begin to understand the romance of business.. the allure of being the biggest fish in the pond and the juice you get from beating out your competitors..."

Newman played youthful rebels, charming rogues, golden-hearted drunks and amoral opportunists in a career that encompassed more than 50 movies. He was one of the most popular and consistently bankable Hollywood stars in the second half of the 20th century.

"I am confounded at the stinginess of some institutions and some people. I'm bewildered by it. You can only put away so much stuff in your closet."

If Marlon Brando and James Dean defined the defiant American male as a sullen rebel, Paul Newman recreated him as a likable renegade, a strikingly handsome figure of animal high spirits and blue-eyed candor whose magnetism was almost impossible to resist.

"I have taken roads that I wished I had not traveled on. And I'm traveling on some pretty exciting ones, too."

Two of his most popular movies included "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969) and "The Sting" (1973), in which he co-starred with an equally popular and handsome actor, Robert Redford.

"Whenever I'm in the dumps, I come up here and it reaffirms everything that I think is really good and generous about this country."

Newman was also a philanthropist, a health food mogul -- he once quipped that his salad dressing was making more money than his movies -- a race car enthusiast and a leftist political activist.

"Why not, really, go to the fullest length, and the silliest length, in exploiting yourself and turn the proceeds back to the community?"

Many however will remember him for his good looks: in 1990 People Magazine chose him as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World, and in 1995 Britain's Empire Magazine picked him as one of the 100 sexiest stars in film history.

"I respect generosity in people, and I respect it in companies too, I don’t look at it as philanthropy; I see it as an investment in the community."

He earned nine Oscar nominations for acting and won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1987, late in his career, for his role as a pool shark named 'Fast Eddie' in "The Color of Money," co-starring with Tom Cruise. Many critics at the time said he was really being awarded the Oscar belatedly for his original performance of the same smarmy character in the 1961 movie "The Hustler."

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”

“When a role is right for him, he’s peerless,” film critic Pauline Kael wrote in 1977. “Newman is most comfortable in a role when it isn’t scaled heroically; even when he plays a bastard, he’s not a big bastard — only a callow, selfish one, like Hud. He can play what he’s not — a dumb lout. But you don’t believe it when he plays someone perverse or vicious, and the older he gets and the better you know him, the less you believe it. His likableness is infectious; nobody should ever be asked not to like Paul Newman.”

"If you don't have enemies, you don't have character.”

Born Paul Leonard Newman on January 26, 1925 in Shaker Heights, Ohio into a well-off middle class family -- his father ran a successful sporting goods chain -- Newman acted in school plays as a youth.

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

He joined the navy in World War II wanting to be a pilot, but tests showed that he was colorblind. Instead he served as a rear-seat radioman and tail gunner aboard Avenger torpedo bombers in the Pacific theater.

"You only grow when you are alone.”

After the war, he went to Kenyon College in Ohio on a football scholarship but took up acting after being cut from the team because of a barroom brawl. He enrolled in the Yale drama school, and moved to New York where he acted in plays. That job eventually landed him television roles, and then in the movies.

Newman's film career almost ended with his first movie -- he considered his performance in the sword-and-sandal 1954 drama "The Chalice" so mediocre he paid for a page-size ad in a Hollywood trade publication to apologize.

Newman redeemed himself in his next movie, "Somebody Up There Likes Me" (1956), a portrayal of boxer Rocky Graziano, and by 1958 was nominated for an Oscar as an alcoholic ex-football player in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," starring alongside Elizabeth Taylor.

Hit movies rolled on from there, including "Exodus" (1960), "The Hustler" (1961), "Hud" (1963), "Cool Hand Luke" (1967), "The Towering Inferno" (1974) and "Slap Shot" (1977).

A committed liberal , Newman openly campaigned for several Democratic Party candidates -- which got him onto Republican president Richard Nixon's famous list of enemies in the 1970s. Newman was a Eugene McCarthy delegate to the 1968 Democratic convention and appointed by President Jimmy Carter to a United Nations General Assembly session on disarmament.

"Being on president Nixon's enemies list was the highest single honor I've ever received," Newman said in a 2006 interview. "Who knows who's listening to me now and what government list I'm on?"

In the 1980s Newman participated in televised debates with conservative Charlton Heston on nuclear issues, and contributed money and an occasional article to The Nation, a prominent leftist magazine.

Later Newman film roles include "Fort Apache, the Bronx" (1981), "The Verdict" (1982), "Nobody's Fool" (1994), "The Road to Perdition" (2002), and as the voice of a vintage Hudson in the animated "Cars" (2006).

"People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked.”

Newman had six children, three from an early marriage that ended in divorce and three with actress Joanne Woodward, whom he married in 1958. He had five daughters and one son, Scott, who died of a drug overdose in 1978.

What was the secret to his long marriage? That question was repeated so often that in one interview he simply responded: "I don't know what she puts in my food."

To supermarket shoppers, Newman may be better known as the smiling face on the successful "Newman's Own" brand of salad dressings and organic food.

"It's all been a bad joke that just ran out of control," Newman said in a 2003 interview. "I got into food for fun but the business got a mind of its own." The "Newman's Own Foundation," takes profits from that company and sponsored numerous charitable organizations.

Newman also founded his "Hole in the Wall" Camps, which provided fun summer breaks for children around the world suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

Newman became interested in auto racing while filming the movie "Winning" in 1968, and quickly became a race car enthusiast. Over the years he won four Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) championships, won the GTS class in the 1995 24 hour race at Daytona, and sponsored race teams.

"Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser.”

In January 2005 Newman, then 79, escaped from his burning race car after it spun on track at the Daytona Beach circuit. He was not injured in the accident.

"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.”

Newman retired from movie acting in 2007, at the age of 82. Mr. Newman’s last screen credit was as the narrator of Bill Haney’s documentary “The Price of Sugar,” released this year. By then he had all but announced that he was through with acting. "You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that's pretty much a closed book for me," Newman said in an interview.

“We are such spendthrifts with our lives,” Mr. Newman once told a reporter. “The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.”

"To be an actor you have to be a child”