Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman


I was saddened to hear that the world lost a great man, on Friday. Actor, philanthropist, race car driver -- Paul Newman was quite an individual.

A story that my friend Chris Botta told me years ago comes to mind. She was running the paint shop for the Berkshire Theater Festival, where Joanne Woodward was working on production of Arsenic and Old Lace. On opening night, Paul Newman -- one of the most iconic actors in America, and Woodward's husband since 1958 -- played the role of the dead body of one of the many lonely old men done in by the spinster aunts. He and the other corpses all shared a bow at the end of the play. This apparently became a bit of a tradition, and he reprised this "role" at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, and the Westport County Playhouse which is run by Joanne Woodward. Chris told me that everyone who met him was charmed by his warmth, humor, and gracious personality.

Of course, his work with Newman's Own is well known. The natural-food company that Paul Newman and friend A. E Hotchner started as a bit of a lark, turned into a tremendous force for good, donating over two hundred fifty million dollars to charity.

What a man!


Anonymous said...

Yes! I just learned of this today. We live in Marlborough, CT and over 30 years ago, he was passing through town and wanted to eat at the Marlborough Tavern. It was reservation only and they didn't let him cut in the long line. He crossed the street and ate at Marlborough Pizza - then just a "little hole in the wall". They kept the chair that he sat in for years with his name on it. Everyone said he was a true gentleman.

Anonymous said...

There used to be a Hagen Daz ice cream shop in Westport and it was not uncommon to see Paul and Joanne around town. They were in the ice cream shop one day when my husband and kids were there. A lady came in and ordered an ice cream cone. She was obviously overwhelmed at being in their presence... staring at them widemouthed! She left the store and returned immediately. Very embarrassed, she admitted to the counter person that she forgot her cone. Paul leaned over and tugged her purse over her shoulder and said, "No, you didn't forget it, you put it in your purse!" And we all had a roaring laugh! Remember the good times!


Gothknits said...

I ran into him in the green room of the theatre-that-won't-be-named. I don't remember the show but I was there up until show time working. I ran upstairs for a caffeine fix and there he was eating popcorn. Very nice guy. If only more celebrities would adopt his sense of social responsibility.

Missmoon said...

I was also saddened by his death. There was something about him that went beyond looks and talent. He always seemed to me to be a gentleman of class and intelligence who didn't suffer fools well and had no time for the silliness of the Hollywood scene. I admire that.


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