9.27.2008

Paul Newman 1925-2008

“What we have here, is failure to communicate”

Those words were uttered by actor Strother Martin, but he said it in one of my favorite Paul Newman movies, Cool Hand Luke. The year was 1967. George Kennedy went on to win the Oscar for best supporting actor. Newman was nominated for best actor, but he didn’t win until years later for Color of Money as the pool player Fast Eddie Felson, a role he actually played twice in two different movies.

Newman died late Friday, while the rest of us were paying attention to the presidential debates. Since he was in a public battle with cancer, his death was expected. He was one of those guys you hoped could live forever. He was one of the truly good guys.

Newman was one of the actors who could get me to watch simply upon reading that he was in it. His movies weren’t super big blockbusters by today’s standards. But his acting kept your attention. It didn’t hurt that he was absolutely gorgeous.

I especially liked when he worked with his wife, Joanne Woodward as in The Long Hot Summer, based on the story by William Faulkner, or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, my favorite playwright. In the later he worked with Elizabeth Taylor and Burl Ives as Big Daddy. I’ve seen both those movies so many times that I can almost quote the dialogue word for word. Ben Quick...Brick Politt....

I remember him in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Robert Redford. They also teamed up again in The Sting. His filmography reads like the list of my favorite movies. I’ve seen them all and can watch them over and over again.

In that respect, he will live on...
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