Saturday, September 27, 2008
Paul is Dead
Paul Newman? Dead?? OK ... he was old enough to die, definitely. And he was sick, and had stopped acting because his memory was fading. I shouldn't be surprised, but, well, Paul Newman has been an integral part of my cultural context, making movies and being a really good guy (and a beautiful guy, too) all my life. It's shocking, even though it shouldn't be.
He was always one of my favorites. I felt a kinship because he was an Aquarius (so is his wife Joanne Woodward). I loved his stable and long-lived marriage. Loved his salad dressing and fig newtons, and the fact that he gave so much money to institutions that needed it.
Here's a true story. I had a friend who, on a hot summer day in NYC, bumped into a man who was coming out of a corner grocery. She was in a bad mood, hot, and a bad-ass New Yorker, so she of course cursed the guy. "F you!" He looked at her for a second, then said, "You know what? F YOU!" There proceeded a perfect New York exchange of "Oh yeah? Well, F your mother" "F your father", etc. etc.
At some point in this exchange my friend realized the guy was Paul Newman! (Working on a film set in the Bronx). But being a New Yorker, she had to keep going, at least for a little while. Finally the exchange wound itself down. She marched off proudly, and never forgot that day.
Paul? You lived well. In a way you had a perfect life. You're now one of the Mighty Dead, it's hard to believe, but it's true. Rest easy out there beyond the veil! We will miss you. Hail and farewell!