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.