Paul Newman, RIP


Say farewell to the salad dressing mogul, Nation underwriter, and star of such fine films as The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy, The Sting, The Verdict, and this:

In each of those seven movies—probably my favorites in his filmography—Paul Newman plays either a rebel loner or a lovable loser. Is that enough to declare him an honorary libertarian?

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  1. He’s was one of the few people who could be described as a great actor and a decent human being.

    I hope this is true about him: he told a story that when he was filming “Torn Curtain” with Alfred Hitchcock, he asked the director “what’s my motivation for this scene?” Hitchcock replied “Your salary.”

    A penny for anyone who can tell give the name of the bowl game his character from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” played in.

  2. I’d stick with “a nice guy,” since he — like most of Hollywood — was a lefty and not a libertarian.

  3. My personal favorite Newman film is Absense of Malice. Since he gets revenge on a crooked politician and a dirty DA in it, that film should get some libertarian cred, too.

  4. In each of those seven movies — probably my favorites in his filmography — Paul Newman plays either a rebel loner or a lovable loser. Is that enough to declare him an honorary libertarian?

    While his philanthropic interests and donations were wide-ranging, he was especially committed to the thousands of children with life-threatening conditions served by the Hole in the Wall Camps, which he helped start over 20 years ago. He saw the Camps as places where kids could escape the fear, pain and isolation of their conditions, kick back, and raise a little hell. Today, there are 11 Camps around the world, with additional programs in Africa and Vietnam. Through the Camps, well over 135,000 children have had the chance to experience what childhood was meant to be.

    Yeah. He made a shitload in a business venture and gave it away. I’m certain some went to causes I don’t like (he was Hollywood after all) but it was his money.

    Rest in peace, Paul. You were a class act.

  5. Great actor. Tasty damn dressing. He will be missed.

  6. A Slapshot clip on Hit & Run? If it weren’t because of the sad circumstances, I would be ecstatic. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, my first exposure to Paul Newman was as a kid on hockey road trips watching SlapShot on the team bus. It was only R rated movie that the coaches let us watch, and hence the only movie we ever watched. It was basically us reciting the lines as the movie played.

    I make a point of buying Newman’s Own spaghetti sauces, primarily because they’re fantastically good. If some of that money goes to charity, great, what a bonus.

  7. David Mamet (who wrote the Verdict) in his last book, called Paul Newman, “the most beautiful man ever to grace the screen”.

    He was one of the greats.

  8. Aside from being one hell of an actor, he was one of the few Hollywood activist types who always came across as sincere and never got tiresome or obnoxious about his politics. As Dennis Miller said, Newman always played it with a truly “cool hand.” R.I.P.

  9. A penny for anyone who can tell give the name of the bowl game his character from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” played in.

    “Why don’t you go up there and drink with Brick if the conquerin’ hero hasn’t passed out already? He may have to pass up the Sugar Bowl this year, or was it the Rose Bowl he made his famous run in?”

    “It was the punch bowl, honey, the cut-glass punch bowl.”

  10. He starred in the film version of Ken Kesey’s “Sometimes A Great Notion,” one of the most explicitly libertarian movies ever made.

  11. JohnL: He directed that one, too. I haven’t seen it myself, but it’s been on my to-watch list for a while. How well do you think it stacks up to the book?

  12. Newman was a total leftist but a decent leftist. He advocated and didn’t tear his oponents down and put his money where his mouth was. He was everything that current Hollywood leftists aren’t.

    Next to Steve McQueen, he was the coolest actor of my lifetime.

  13. Jesse,
    Obviously glossed over a lot of the book, but it was still breathtaking to hear/see those general ideas in a major Hollywood picture.

  14. Newman opened his Hole In the Wall Gang Camp in the town I grew up in. It was not uncommon to see him at the nearby stores and whatnot, or to say “hi, Paul”.

    The guy was a damn good actor. Not a favorite of mine but he had my respect.

  15. Don’t forget ‘Cars’. Kids’ movies that actually teach worthwhile lessons to the kids are all too rare these days, and he did a classy job of it as Doc Hudson.

  16. Newman was the best thing about the Hudsucker Proxy which was a great film on its own merits.

    Ditto what John said too. Rather than preach and condescend to, Newman actually did what he thought was right and made money doing it.

    If there’s anything more libertarian than that, I’d like to hear it.

  17. bac:

    “It was the Cotton Bowl, Sister Woman.”

    You get the penny for quoting that line, too.

  18. A truly great man and an enemy of market fundamentalism.

    Newman’s work in the movie business and his great philanthropic success using his name and likeness on food products are both well known. Less publicized was his long-standing involvement with Democratic political causes, from his strong support for 1968 presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy (which earned him a spot on President Richard Nixon’s infamous “enemies list”) to his early activism in the civil rights movement.

    Newman and Woodward gave nearly $500,000 to federal candidates and committees, according to Federal Election Commission and IRS records.

    Their beneficiaries were almost entirely Democrats, many on the left end of the party’s spectrum, from well-established liberal icons like Paul Simon, Paul Wellstone, Paul Tsongas and Gary Hart to entertainment industry-linked longshots, such as writer Gore Vidal, who got $2,000 from the couple for his 1982 Senate run, actor Ralph Waite (John Walton Sr. from CBS’s The Waltons), who got $3,000 for his two failed congressional runs, and George Clooney’s father, Nick, who got $2,000 for his 2004 congressional bid.

    Newman and Woodward gave more than $200,000 to the national Democratic party committees and $14,000 more to the state Democratic parties in New York and North Carolina.

    The couple heavily funded Democratic candidates from around New York City and Connecticut, where they maintained homes.

  19. Ignore me, Jesse, you stupid fuck!

  20. I’ll take ‘Absence of Malice’ over ‘The Verdict’. He made Cruise look good in ‘The Color of Money’.

    A couple of others worth mentioning, ‘The Long Hot Summer’, ‘The Young Philadelphians’, and ‘The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean’. The latter from which I’ve taken the following advice “A man has two loves: an unattainable goddess…and a mortal woman. And he loves the mortal woman twice as much for having worshipped the goddess”

  21. “the life and times of judge roy bean”directed by john huston and written by john milius is really underrated and features a very strange paul newman performance.

    also love “hud”, the fast eddie felson movies “hustler” and “color of money”, “the verdict”, “harry and son” and others.

  22. A class act indeed.

    A genuine goody twoshoes, faithful to his wife (how quaint) and devoted to his family and a dogooder he managed to pull it off with any of the obnoxious public smarmy selfrighteousness of the breed.

    How well do you think it stacks up to the book?

    I found the film excellent. Like so many others, the book is on my “to-read” list.

    Newman was the kind of liberal that confuses most libertarians. He had a genuine belief that the programs promised by the beneficiaries of his contributions would enhance the lives of individuals and leave them with a huge measure of personal liberty. It’s a worthy goal but sadly it rarely seems to turn out that way.

  23. I wonder how he felt about plagiarism.

    Blockquotes or italics and links (or addresses) are the moral thing to do on the tubes. When called out on it, rather than a humble mea culpa, Leftiti responds with

    Ignore me, Jesse, you stupid fuck!

    Way to stay classy Leftiti. You have once again confirmed my opinion of you.

  24. Lefiti? Bah! (waves hand dismissively) The new Edward.

  25. Mr. Sadow! How went Operation Badass?

  26. Hudsucker Proxy, one of the most underrated movies of all time, was a Newman romp. Memorable guy, though, in all his flicks. Not just because he looked like my dad.

  27. He’ll always be Butch Cassidy to me: “I’ve got vision, but the rest of the world’s wearing bifocals.”

    His life goes to show that ones character is usually more important than ones politics. RIP.

  28. Lefiti? Bah! (waves hand dismissively) The new Edward.

    and apparently, the old Edward as well.

  29. Also, he could eat 50 eggs.

  30. Now, don’t be too hard on this’hea Lefiti boy. Obviously, what we have heah, is a failure to commun’cate

  31. He was smiling… That’s right. You know, that, that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face right to the very end. Hell, if they didn’t know it ‘fore, they could tell right then that they weren’t a-gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy. Cool Hand Luke. Hell, he’s a natural-born world-shaker.

  32. “faithful to his wife (how quaint)”

    I love how believe believe such things about strangers unquestioningly because they read it a few times…

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