Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman 1925 - 2008

With his strong, classically handsome face and piercing blue eyes, Newman was a heartthrob just as likely to play against his looks, becoming a favorite with critics for his convincing portrayals of rebels, tough guys and losers. "I was always a character actor," he once said. "I just looked like Little Red Riding Hood."

They had a famously durable marriage. Newman spoke about their relationship by noting how they decided to act in the comedy "A New Kind of Love" (1963).

He told Time magazine: "Joanne read it and said, 'Hey this could be fun to do together. Read it.' And I read it and said, 'Joanne, it's just a bunch of one-liners.'

"And she said, 'You [expletive], I've been carting your children around, taking care of them, taking care of you and your house.' And I said, 'That is what I said. It's a terrific script. I can't think of anything else I'd rather do.' This is what is known as a reciprocal trade agreement."

Newman had a soft spot for underdogs in real life, giving tens of millions to charities through his food company and setting up camps for severely ill children. Passionately opposed to the Vietnam War, and in favor of civil rights, he was so famously liberal that he ended up on President Nixon's "enemies list," one of the actor's proudest achievements, he liked to say.

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