Paul Newman's Own Way

30-Sep-08 5:06 PM by
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By now, we've all heard that Paul Newman passed away this weekend at age 83. Everyone has their own memories of this great actor; these are mine.

Paul NewmanMy own exposure to Mr. Newman's work is limited. The first I'd heard of him was when the pilot episode of Cheers dubbed Cool Hand Luke the "Sweatiest Movie Ever". Elsewhere, I'd hear that some men just get better with age — like Paul Newman. It wasn't until the 1994 film Nobody's Fool that I actually saw the 70-year-old actor, though I found this particular film forgettable.

Far more memorable were the classics for which he was best known, such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. For the past few years, I've heard reports that Mr. Newman wanted to collaborate one last time with Robert Redford, his sidekick from those films, but the timing and script never seemed right. I'm sorry he didn't get that chance to work again with his old friend.

Just as important as Mr. Newman's acting resume was his humanitarianism. His philanthropy involved more than donating a portion of proceeds from his salad dressing sales. He was also a political activist who donated generously of both his time and money. TIME, in commemorating the recently departed, put right in their headline that he was a "humanitarian and actor". The order of those titles is no accident.

I'll close this brief remembrance with the words of Bill Corbett: "It’s not a tragedy when an 83-year-old man dies, but it’s a mournful occasion for family, friends, and — where applicable — admirers. And it’s certainly an appropriate time to remember the life lived."

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