It’s a crappy day. The earth no longer has Paul Newman. Damn shame, that.
Newman had the looks, talent, humor, compassion, empathy, faithfulness, fearlessness and boundless energy we all crave. He was also generous and caring, helping unfortunate kids by donating millions in profits from the sales of his various food products.
As an artist, he owned every scene he appeared in, not by chewing scenery but by being in the moment, enveloping his character in the story and occupying the human condition completely. Maybe that’s why everyone was able to relate to Paul Newman. He may have been better looking than us, but he was one of us.
Newman led a rich life. He fought in WW II, studied ‘the method’ with Lee Strasberg, did Broadway, burnished himself into pop culture through a series of unforgettable roles in classic films like “Hud”, “Cool Hand Luke”, “The Hustler”, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “The Verdict” and many more. He fathered six children from two marriages (staying married to Joanne Woodward for over 50 years), lost his only son to a drug overdose, raced cars and was good enough to win, was politically active enough to make Richard Nixon’s enemy’s list (in some very good company), directed plays and movies, led workshops and throughout it all was generous and philanthropic.
The man is gone but fortunately he left us pieces of himself to enjoy and explore. He also left us a spirit and joy to emulate.