Something more important that a $700,000,000,000 bailout, a Presidential debate, a race for the pennant, or college football took over the minds of Americans yesterday. It was the death of Paul Newman.
The 83 year old actor died in his Connecticut after losing the war with lung cancer. The American public seemed to halt what they were doing or thinking to process the information.
Newman had been out of the spot light for a while. A year or so ago he claimed that he was retiring from acting. He claimed to be too old for good roles. Then rumors started to surface that he was ill.
His acting career spanned over 50 years in which he was nominated 10 times for an Oscar as well as many other prestigious awards.
Why were we so entranced by the man?
It would be hard to say anything bad about Newman.
On the outside, with those blazing blue eyes, he could charm a grizzly bear.
On the inside was a person who focused on helping other people.
To many, Newman will be remembered for his charity work, which he continued until the end.
In 1982, Newman founded Newman’s Own, from which Newman donated all profits and royalties to charity.The embarrassing thing is that the salad dressing is out-grossing my films,” Newman once wryly noted.
To date, the company — which donates all profits to charities such as Newman’s Hole in the Wall camps — has given away more than $200 million. Newman established the camp to benefit gravely ill children.
The star set up the Scott Newman Center for drug abuse prevention following the death of his only son Scott from an accidental drug overdose in 1978.
His second marriage to Joanne Woodward lasted 50 years. A phenomena in Hollywood terms.
A statement released by his daughters on Saturday, immediately after the news of his passing was confirmed to the press, reads:
“Our father played many unforgettable roles. But the ones for which he was proudest never had top billing.
“He was a devoted husband, a loving father, an adoring grandfather and a dedicated philanthropist.
“Our father was a rare symbol of selfless humility, the last to acknowledge what he was doing was special. Intensely private, he quietly succeeded beyond measure in impacting the lives of so many with his generosity.
“Always and to the end, Dad was incredibly grateful for his good fortune. He will be profoundly missed… but he leaves us with extraordinary inspiration to draw upon.
“During this difficult time, we ask for privacy for our family.”
“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.”
“Every time I get a script it’s a matter of trying to know what I could do with it. I see colors, imagery. It has to have a smell. It’s like falling in love. You can’t give a reason why. “
” If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character. “
“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. “
“Who’s to say who’s an expert? “