On Friday, October 3, the theaters on Broadway dimmed their lights for one minute. Power failure? Hardly. As a final nod from the entertainment industry to one of its favorites, the lights were dimmed at 8:00pm to honor Paul Newman. Newman passed away on September 26, at the age of 83 from lung cancer, according to the BBC. While he is most known for his exceptional acting career, Newman also owned a food company (called Newman’s Own), drove racecars, and had one of Hollywood’s longest marriages; (he and his wife, Joanne Woodward, celebrated their Golden Anniversary this past January).
Although Newman only won one Oscar as an actor (for his performance in “The Color of Money”), his film resume is still quite impressive; in fact, imdb.com lists almost 100 appearances in movies and TV shows. For some, Newman will always be Butch Cassidy in 1969’s “Butch Cassidy” and “The Sundance Kid,” but Newman was so much more. He played the brooding hero, Ari Ben Canaan in “Exodus,” and just as easily, Newman played the colorful and crass coach in “Slapshot.” Even at 76, he was still in demand, playing the crime boss John Rooney in 2002’s “Road to Perdition.” In 2003, Newman was nominated for an Oscar (for “Road to Perdition” (2002)), a Tony (for “Our Town”), and an Emmy (for “Our Town” (2003)(TV))—all within a span of five months, according to imdb.com.
According AARP Magazine, Newman’s wife said that Newman fell in love with auto racing while costarring with her in the 1969 Indy-500 film “Winning.” However, his auto racing career was no act. He owned half of the Champ Car (Formula 1 racing) team Newman-Haas. Newman came in second place in the 1979 Le Mans race in a Porshe 935. He is also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest driver to win a professionally sanctioned race (the 1995 Daytona).
Newman had other interests beyond acting and racing: in 1982, Newman founded the food company Newman’s Own. According to imdb.com, the only way he could reconcile being a “whore” with his “face on the label” of Newman’s Own’s products, was to give away all the money he made through Newman’s Own. In 2005, Newman revealed in an interview with AARP Magazine, that Newman’s Own has donated $175 million in profits to charity. About selling food, Newman once remarked that “the embarrassing thing is that my salad dressing is out-grossing my films,” according to AARP Magazine.
Adam Sandler included Newman in the 1994 version of the “Chanukah Song (part 1)” when he sang “Paul Newman’s half-Jewish, Goldie Hawn’s half too / Put them together, what a fine-looking Jew.” Indeed, Newman was famous for his chiseled features and washboard abs. His irresistible good looks along with his trademark blue eyes made him a Hollywood heartthrob.
And although his looks and superstar status would have certainly let him sample Hollywood’s smorgasbord of extramarital delights (indeed, he said that during the filming of 1963’s “Hud,” women were literally breaking into his room according to imdb.com), he remained true to his (second) wife, Joanne Woodward, according to imdb.com. His now-famous line on why he never strayed from Woodward was “Why go out with a hamburger, when you have a steak at home?” Woodward on their marriage, said, “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh everyday, now that’s a real treat,” according to About.com.
According to AARP Magazine, Newman and Woodward met each other on the Broadway play “Picnic;” Newman had a part and Woodward was an understudy. Shortly after Newman’s divorce from Jackie Witte, Newman and Woodward were married, and together they had three daughters.
Paul Newman has joined the ranks of Hollywood’s greatest deceased actors, a list that includes men like his former friend, Charlton Heston, who passed on earlier this year, Jimmy Stewart, and Gary Cooper. These were all men who worked during a time when Hollywood took itself seriously. Goodbye Paul Newman.