Saturday, September 27, 2008

O, 'tis most sweet when in one line two crafts directly meet: Actor and Philanthropist Paul Newman

THE hunk of the 1950s and the man who most notably bridged the transition of movie actors from stiff recitative to full action emo, Paul Newman, has fallen to cancer. Where Cary Grant was affable and often adorable and Jimmy Stewart was iconic and lovable, Newman was HOT, HOT, HOT. When mixed with a writer like Tennessee Williams audiences of women erupted into flames. He was complex, vulnerable, angry, treacherous, gorgeous, wheedling one minute and sexually demanding the next and he found his perfect foil in JoAnne Woodward. If you haven't seen Long, Hot Summer in a while, go get it tonight in honor of Newman's passing. It sizzles.

You have to ask whether someone like Brad Pitt would even be possible if it weren't for Paul Newman. You could not take your eyes off him when he was on screen. He delved deeply into the psyche of his characters. Cool Hand Luke -- need we say more. It was impossible to eat a hard boiled egg for decades after seeing the flick. In the words of Franklin Roosevelt, he was "an asshole, but he's our asshole." And that's how we felt about Luke. God! How we cringed when he could not learn to look past his own ego and fell, time and time again, to the perdition of the sheriff. His spirit would not be broken and we clung to him for that, cheering him on and dying when he failed yet again.

His achievements as a philanthropist were quieter but no less effective. Famous for mixing up his own oil and vinegar salad dressing at home, friends persuaded him to market it. Now, hundreds of millions of dollars later, there are kids who can read because of him, places for them to play because of him, and the world, fragile and corrupt and weakened by greed, is stronger because of him.


The Coral Sands salutes a giant in Mr. Newman. We regret we were unable to find a single picture of Mr. Newman with his shirt on. ; )


David Stas said...

VERY nicely put.

Anonymous said...

Hot, Hot, Hot is right!!
Thank you Mr. Newman.xoDebra