Monday, 29 September 2008

Paul Newman : RIP

Legendary screen actor Paul Newman passed away this weekend aged 83 at his home in Connecticut, after a long battle with cancer. Tributes have poured in from all corners of the film world to celebrate the contribution of an actor who worked across six decades of cinema.

Newman, who was a gunner in World War II, was instantly recognisable for his piercing blue eyes and, like contemporaries such as Marlon Brando and Steve McQueen he had a rebellious, outsider persona, with key performances in movies such as Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, The Hustler, and Hud.

He studied at the famous Actors Studio in New York, soon after appearing in religious drama The Silver Chalice. He was so embarrassed by his performance that the often self-deprecating actor took out an advert in Variety magazine to apologise for his performance.

Nominated for 10 Oscars, including one for directing his wife in Rachel Rachel. His 50 year marriage to his wife was a Hollywood rarity, and succeeded partly because he remained the outsider from world of movie celebrity, mirroring the unconforming nature of his performances. He eventually got his break playing boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956).

A famous humanitarian, he was such a supporter of liberal causes that he made it onto President Nixon's enemies list, claiming it was the single biggest honour he had received. Newman set up a food retail company, donating all profits to charity, which currently total approximately $250 million, as well as making considerable donations to various charities with with he was involved, including a $10 million donation to charity of which he was a member.

Newman worked on 60 movies, alongside such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Lauren Bacall, Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Redford, finally winning his Oscar in 1986 for The Color Of Money.

late in his career he continued to gain distinction for his performance in 2002's Road To Perdition. Of his contribution, director Sam Mendes said, "“To say he was an extraordinary man would be an understatement.

“For me personally, working with him was the highlight of my professional life. He saw himself as a working actor, not a movie star, and insisted that everyone else did the same. There was no ego, no entourage, no hangers on. Only Paul, his script and his incredible spirit. One can say this about very few people, but he was a truly great man.”

1 comment:

bioman said...

"who was a gunner in World War II"... incorrect, he was a third class radioman on the back of a torpedo plane because his dream of becoming a pilot was shot down when he found out he was suffering from color blindness.