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RIP Paul Newman ..dead at 83


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A great quote from the NYTimes obit:


“When a role is right for him, he’s peerless,” the film critic Pauline Kael wrote in 1977. “Newman is most comfortable in a role when it isn’t scaled heroically; even when he plays a bastard, he’s not a big bastard — only a callow, selfish one, like Hud. He can play what he’s not — a dumb lout. But you don’t believe it when he plays someone perverse or vicious, and the older he gets and the better you know him, the less you believe it. His likableness is infectious; nobody should ever be asked not to like Paul Newman.”

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Here is a lovely tribute, written by Slate's Dahlia Lathwick (who worked at his Hole in the Wall Gang camp for very sick kids, here in CT) that focuses on his philanthropic endeavors, rather than his storied movie career. I love this passage:


Each summer of the four I spent at Newman's flagship Connecticut camp was a living lesson in how one man can change everything. Terrified parents would deliver their wan, weary kid at the start of the session with warnings and cautions and lists of things not to be attempted. They'd return 10 days later to find the same kid, tanned and bruisey, halfway up a tree or cannon-balling into the deep end of the pool. Their wigs or prosthetic arms?props of years spent trying to fit in?were forgotten in the duffel under the bed. Shame, stigma, fear, worry, all vaporized by a few days of being ordinary. In an era in which nearly everyone feels entitled to celebrity and fortune, Newman was always suspicious of both. He used his fame to give away his fortune, and he did that from some unspoken Zen-like conviction that neither had ever really belonged to him in the first place.


My wife used to see him once in a while coming in and out of the state building where she worked, and she said he was always very polite and cheerful, and above all, completely ordinary. He looked and acted like a friendly old geezer and nothing more.


He was one of the good ones.

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Damn. He was a man of great integrity. Gonna watch Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in his honor.


I was torn between watching that or The Hustler and will likely end up watching both. I still need to pick up the Blu-ray release of Cool Hand Luke come to think of it.


Sad to see him go since he did so much outside of film work. It's a truly awesome body of work to his name though, one that (along with his lifestyle) could teach a great many in modern Hollywood a lesson or two.

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