"Paul Newman, 1925-2008
Posted by Shawn Levy September 27, 2008 06:09AM
Fast Eddie Felson. Hud Bannon. Cool Hand Luke. Butch Cassidy. The guy in the race car. The guy on the salad dressing bottle. The blue-eyed dreamboat. The committed public citizen. The husband of a half-century. The father of six.
According to press releases from his his charitable organizations, Newman's Own Foundation and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, Paul Newman died Friday at age 83 at his long-time home in Westport, Connecticut, and with his passing, more has been lost than just a good and fine man.
For a half-century, on screen and off, the actor Paul Newman embodied certain tendencies in the American male character: active and roguish and earnest and sly and determined and vulnerable and brave and humble and reliable and compassionate and fair. He was a man of his time, a part of his time, and that time ranged from World War II to the contemporary era of digitally animated feature films.
In such movies as "The Long Hot Summer," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "The Hustler," "Hud," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Sting," "Slap Shot," "The Verdict," and "The Color of Money" -- to name only the most famous of them -- Newman combined heartthrob looks, a dedicated and evolving Method Acting style, good taste in material and collaborators, and a real sense of the cultural climate. His career spanned eras, and he always seemed to be in step and in style.
My favorite Paul Newman flick?: The Verdict
You know, so much of the time we're lost. We say, 'Please, God, tell us what is right. Tell us what's true. There is no justice. The rich win, the poor are powerless...' We become tired of hearing people lie. After a time we become dead. A little dead. We start thinking of ourselves as victims. (pause) And we become victims. (pause) And we become weak...and doubt ourselves, and doubt our institutions...and doubt our beliefs...we say for example, 'The law is a sham...there is no law...I was a fool for having believed there was.' (beat) But today you are the law. You are the law...And not some book and not the lawyers, or the marble statues and the trappings of the court...all that they are is symbols. (beat) Of our desire to be just... (beat) All that they are, in effect, is a prayer...(beat) ... a fervent, and a frightened prayer. In my religion we say, `Act as if you had faith, and faith will be given to you.' (beat) If. If we would have faith in justice, we must only believe in ourselves. (beat) And act with justice. (beat) And I believe that there is justice in our hearts. (beat) Thank you."
R.I.P, Mr. Galvin.