by Mark Mayer |
Paul Newman made cool movies. From "The Hustler," "Cool Hand Luke" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" to the cult classic hockey spoof "Slap Shot," Newman’s played over 50 years the serious and comedic roles to the hilt.
GT entertainment writer Monti Rock said Sunday of Newman, "He was not only a great actor, but a great man. He donated the profits of his Newman’s Own Food empire to charity, particularly to the Hole In The Wall Camps for seriously ill children. Although he was one of the biggest movie stars, he always tried to maintain his "regular guy" persona."
From a gambling angle, Newman made a lot of movies that humanized the sporting world and sometimes showed the lighter side. He played Eddie Felson the pool shark that lived to take down the great Minnesota Fats (played by Jackie Gleason) in the 1961 film "The Hustler." Newman reprised the Felson role a generation later as Tom Cruise’s mentor and adversary in "The Color Of Money" for which he won an Academy Award.
Newman showed boxing in a different light with his depiction of underdog Rocky Graziano in "Somebody Up There Likes Me." In "Slap Shot" he played an aging hockey star who coached a farm team of misfits. Newman also delved into the role of journalist in "Absence Of Malice." Maybe his greatest achievement was one done outside of the cinema when in 1995 he became the oldest driver on a winning team when participating in the 24 Hours Of Daytona endurance race in 1995.
Born in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Newman retired from the movie industry in 2007 and donated $10 million to Kenyon College, his alma mater. Newman was married to famed actress Joanne Woodward, who worked together in a number of movies. Newman’s job titles list as: director, producer, screenwriter, food company executive and professional race car driver.