One of my favorite film stars, Paul Newman, died of cancer Friday, at the age of 83. The LA Times has some great photos of Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward (whom he was married to for 50 years) here.
He was born Paul Leonard Newman on the 26th of January, 1925, in Shaker Heights, an affluent suburb of Cleveland. His father, Arthur, was Jewish and ran a profitable sports goods store. His mother, Theresa (nee Fetzer), was Catholic and helped out in the shop, while raising Paul and his brother Arthur (later a producer and production manager). Young Paul was bright and good at sports. He also showed an early interest in theatre, something that Theresa encouraged. He made his acting debut at 7, as the court jester in a school production of Robin Hood.
Paul graduated from Shaker Heights High School in 1943. He briefly attended Ohio University at Athens, but was expelled for (allegedly) crashing a keg of beer into the president's car. It was clear that young Newman was possessed of the same bravado and sense of mischief as one of his most famous characters - Lucas Jackson from Cool Hand Luke. For a while, he wandered, at one point selling Collier's Encyclopedias door-to-door.
With the war on, he now tried to enlist in the Naval Air Corps, keen to serve as a pilot. Quickly, though, tests showed that those famous blue eyes were in fact blind to color. Instead of gallantly strafing the foe, Newman had to be content as a radio operator on torpedo bombers in the South Pacific. Read the rest of his bio here.
I liked all of his films but especially enjoyed: Exodus (1960), Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969), Absence of Malice (1981), and The Verdict (1982).
Which is your favorite film? You can find a list of all his films here.