Paul Newman (1925-2008)

September 27, 2008

One of my first introductions to Bob Hope as a kid was one of his old movies, “My Favorite Brunette,” I believe. My mother said, “You see that twinkle in his eye? He always had that.” She was right. Up until his last few years, Bob Hope had that signature smile and that trademark spark in his eye. You could tell he liked what he did and that he wanted to invite you to share the fun.

I start off with this because when I first saw Paul Newman in “The Hustler,” (1961) I noticed that look of serene confidence in his eyes as well. Sure, he was good-looking, but it was more than that. Paul Newman, for me, was a man who always looked like he wanted a challenge, because he was sure he would be up to it. Newman’s role in “The Hustler” was one of his first movies, and one of his most famous characters, “Fast Eddie” Felson. It’s one of his best performances, and you should see it if you haven’t.

Newman’s career was a list of popular and intelligent movies. Even when they weren’t great movies (see “Torn Curtain”), his presence and charisma made them watchable. He worked hard at his craft and always seemed to want to do better. When he felt he was finished, he stopped making movies entirely and focused on his personal life rather than fade away. His best work remains in DVD form, with movies such as “The Sting” and “Hud.” He will be missed.

[Gayle: And don’t forget “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” [a film on which Sean and I disagree, but not on Paul Newman’s performance].  And in terms of how to remember Paul Newman, I like to think about how he once spoke of his wife and their fifty-year marriage:  “Why would you go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?”.  Class act.  100%.]


One comment

  1. Here, here! Much respect to Paul Newman and long live The Hustler.

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