Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman

    At 80 my mother could still talk about Errol Flynn with the same grin she surely did when she was a teenager and saw him for the first time. She had unabashed crushes on a variety of movie stars and was as smitten with movies in general as she was with anyone in them. Thanks to her I became film literate, being taught at a young age the joy of Bogart, Taylor and Hitchcock. And at the head of the pack there was Paul Newman, whose blue eyes could always make her grin her Errol-Flynn-grin.
    She was right, of course. Paul Newman had a relaxed class that shone through so many of his performances - he seemed like a guy you wanted to know and a guy you could look up to as well. Everything he did he did with the kind of ease that only comes from the hard work and devotion to craft.
    I don’t know how many times my mom and I watched “The Sting,” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” together; the Robert Redford/Paul Newman pairing in the 70’s was very much like the Brad Pitt/George Clooney pairing of today and my mom was charmed with both of them and with Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward, who matched his talent and earthiness. Thanks to my mom I got to know great films like “Cool Hand Luke,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and “Slap Shot,” which some might not see as in the same league, but which remains one of my all time favorite movies since my mom took me to see it in 1977.
    Paul Newman passed away yesterday, a sad, sad loss for the world which needs examples of class and commitment to quality more than ever. I’m glad I got to know his work and more grateful all the time that my mom loved to take me to the movies.

AP: Paul Newman, actor who personified cool, dies

Slap shot photo, above, film
GQ photo, top, from

No comments: