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!

11 comments:

tut-tut said...

Hard to believe, isn't it?

deborah said...

I met Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Steve McQueen walking on Fisherman's Wharf when they were making Towering Inferno--I couldn't just let them walk by me, I said, "Hey aren't you on the President's enemy list?" and McQueen said, "Not me baby--them" (pointing to the Newman's).

They invited me to join them for lunch, but I had no money and was afraid I couldn't remain clever, so I passed.

Except for Joanne, they were all so much shorter and slimmer than in the movies.

I'll misss him too.

Love you Reya,

Merle Sneed said...

A sad day for us all.

lettuce said...

that is sad, i hadn't heard.

i've been meaning to watch Butch Cassidy with LG for some time - maybe this afternoon...

Val said...

sad day indeed. I loved Deborah's comment on meeting the newmans in NYC! an end of an era? Butch Cassidy was the coolest of course.

Angela said...

I saw Butch Cassidy and SK at a drive-in movie`s in Johannesburg 38 years ago - will never forget! Both so handsome. Couldn`t decide which one was cuter. Will miss you, Paul, you and your blue eyes!

Pauline said...

this is a wonderful tribute both in words and photo.

I met Paul Newman twice - once when I barreled into him at Lime Rock race track in Connecticut and fell flat on my keister. He reached a hand down and helped me up. Not until I saw those eyes grinning at me did I realize who he was. The second time he was attending a political rally in the town where I lived and I got to watch and listen as he spoke.

I always loved seeing the way he reached for his wife's hand when they were out in public. I imagine she will miss him even more than we will...

Reya Mellicker said...

Great stories!

Everyone who ever met him was so surprised that he was "only" 5'9".

Lots of actors are "short." (Is 5'9" short??) They do seem like they should all be very tall.

Ah Paul ... RIP

Washington Cube said...

Actors are usually smaller than you think. I remember once when they were in town, reading that the Mr. and Mrs. each had soup for lunch at the Mayflower. Even older, an actor has to maintain the discipline and watch the figure. I loved his philanthropy. No 747s in the driveway for him. Actors today just don't have that same star quality do they?

dennis said...

Dennis loves his Fig Newmans Too! and his peach salsa, and Royal Tea-- Dennis loves Slapshot and the Sting best

dennis said...

My human shot a public service tv spot with mr newman.