You know those childhood heroes who always remain the same to you as you grow old? Those people you admire for being themselves, people you’ve often wanted to be like, people who nevertheless the situation seem to have a solution for everything? People who always -and I mean always- look devastatingly cool doing whatever they please? Paul Newman is certainly one of those seemingly “larger than life” figures.
I still haven’t met anyone who claims to dislike Newman, women love him, guys love him, even children love him. His fifty year marriage to the lovely Joanne Woodward is one of the reasons we -the woman, the girls- adore him. To me, the romantic and dreamy quality in Paul and Joanne’s love story is not the fidelity, but the lasting marriage, the way they overcame their problems due to the love they felt for each other
Roles such as Luke (Cool Hand Luke) or Butch Cassidy, among many many others, helped to gain the audience’s respect throughout his career. His sparkling blue eyes and gravelly voice only made things better. His various personal projects, like car racing, directing and his work as a philanthropist made us wonder if he was, in fact, real.
My favourite characters played by Paul Newman are Henry Gondorff in The Sting (1973), Brick Pollitt in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958), Frank Galvin in The Veredict (1982) and Butch Cassidy in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969). Actually, the entire bicycle scene with Katharine Ross in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid is one of my all time favourite scenes in cinema, simply because it makes me smile to no end, and long for a Paul Newman double to come knocking at my door.
He’s one of the artists I’d like to remember and keep admiring when I’m an old lady with cats and grandchildren all around, since I know I will eventually leave a lot of them behind. To many, he was the epitome of the perfect man, to others the perfect actor. In his own words, “I’d like to be remembered as a guy who tried to be a part of his times, tried to help people to communicate with one another, tried to find some decency in his own life, tried to extend himself as a human being. Someone who isn’t complacent, who doesn’t cop out.”