Monday, September 29, 2008


Paul Newman

Paul Newman, legendary actor, race-car driver, and philanthropist, has passed away at the age of 83.

Newman was a rara avis in Hollywood circles, an actor who had a marriage (his second) that lasted half a century. His curriculum vitae was packed with enough accomplishments for two lifetimes.

Born to a Jewish father and a Catholic mother (a practicing Christian Scientist), Newman described himself as Jewish: more of a challenge, he would say. He must have enjoyed challenging himself. How else to explain someone who raced cars competitively into his eighties?

He and wife Joanne Woodward were long-time residents of Westport, Connecticut. Back in the 1988-90 timeframe when the Missus and I lived in Trumbull, we would occasionally shop at Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk. Newman and Woodward were frequently spotted there doing their grocery shopping (Newman was a serious cooking aficionado), but, alas, we never saw them.

He created his line of “Newman’s Own” food products (with friend A. E. Hotchner) and donated the after-tax profits to charity. The total is now somewhere north of $250 million. I always enjoyed reading the labels; they evidenced a sense of humor that was just a little off-kilter.

His epitaph could very well read “Paul Newman: Mensch.”

Alas, those beautiful blue eyes are now closed forever. To the new leader of the “Hole in the Ground Gang,” Godspeed.

An older Paul Newman

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