Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Paul Newman, RIP

One summer night in the mid-70's, my soon to be step-father, Bryan, brought his kids, Brad, Kevin and Janae to the Inwood Theatre along with my sister Laurie and I to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Up until then I don't recall ever being cognisant of the late, great Paul Newman, but he certainly had what I now know is "screen presence".  As the years have passed I've seen most of the movies in which he starred; The Sting, Cool Hand Luke and Absence of Malice, but the movie that put the hook in me was Hud!  Perhaps it's because the scenery and a few a the character remind me of the time I spent with my Grandfather on his farm during the mid/late 60's or maybe I was drawn to the complex character that Paul Newman played, but it became and still is one of my favorite movies.  
What I feel set Paul Newman apart from what I perceive to be the typical movie star is that he was the person he wanted to be, not what was popular or fashionable.  He began to competitively drive race cars in his mid-40's, started a food company that made wonderful products and gave the profits to charity, was married to the same woman for over 50 years and founded the "Hole in the Wall" camps for seriously ill children. On a sadder note, his son died from alcohol and drug overdose in 1978.  I don't know how he dealt with the pain of losing a child, but he responded in what appears to be his typical "modus operandi" and founded the Scott Newman drug and alcohol abuse center. 
If a person was attempting to "model" themselves after another human, Mr. Newman should certainly be on the one of the contenders in my opinion.  He will be missed, but not forgotten.

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