Saturday, September 27, 2008
RIP Paul Newman
Add one more name to the list that makes 2008 the saddest years for Hollywood deaths in recent memory. Paul Newman, film legend since the mid-50's, has passed away after a battle with cancer. Not only was he a 10 time Academy Award nominee (8 for Best Actor, 1 for Best Supporting Actor and 1 for Best Picture) and a sex symbol long into his 60's, but he was also a huge humanitarian, donating all of the proceeds from his line of salad dressings and other foods to charity, among other things. He was a very great man and will be sorely missed.
Paul Newman was a very important figure in my appreciation of classic films. One of my first memories of him was watching Cat on a Hot Tin Roof when I was getting started with my film obsession. I was about 15 and happened to catch it on PBS late one night and I instantly fell in love. His chemistry with Elizabeth Taylor was electric and they drew things out of each other that I had never seen before. If this was acting back then, I wanted to see more of it. I think his best performance was as the desperate pool shark in The Hustler three years later and his Oscar loss that year is one of the biggest travesties in their long, sordid history.