We’ll miss you Mr Newman
He had to wait a long time to win an Academy Award (The Color of Money 1986) a source apparently of much good-humoured banter over the years between Paul Newman and his Oscar-winner wife Joanne Woodward. But oh how he deserved one for sheer masculine presence on the screen. Not only was he ridiculously good-looking … and didn’t he age well by the way … but he was also a screen natural, charismatic before we used the word to describe the special attraction some gifted individuals have for both men and women. I had a black and white poster of ‘Paul’ on my bedroom wall … just like every other young woman of a certain age back then. It had only one patch of colour – those blue, blue eyes. Remember that one?
Cursed early on in his career by comparison with James Dean, Newman unlike the tragic Dean went on to carve his own inimitable style up there. There seemed to be nothing ever remotely tragic about the Newman public persona, despite his losing of a child. That was private, and off limits like the rest of his exemplary family life. Regular guy … good bloke.
He had a good-humoured way about him that showed on and off screen; it undoubtedly belied his utter professionalism, like his strength in the face of disappointment and sorrow. No precious artiste was Newman, just a brilliant actor who seemed always on top of his game no matter the decade of his long life. And of course he paved the way for the celebrity as humanitarian and activist that we’ve come to take for granted from so many who’ve followed.
He died this morning aged 83 after what we might call a good innings, though I guess for Newman it would be more accurate to call it a great race. Bye Paul. I hope heaven has all the fast cars and beers you deserve. We’ll miss that championship breed that you represented so well.
Time Entertainment does a nice obituary here.