Sunday, September 28, 2008


The death of Paul Newman is a real loss. In addition to being an outstanding artist whose performances in many memorable films, spanning five decades, have assured him a seat among the immortals at the eternal banquet of the Hollywood pantheon, Paul Newman was also an outstanding human being; a liberal activist who walked the talk and who made a real difference in the lives of those whom his fame, his money, and his exemplary sense of charity could help.

Newman was the son of a small businessman, and despite the fact that his acting had long since made him a rich man, he and his partner, the writer A. E. Hotchner, founded a successful business in the basement of his home, donating the more than $220 million that this business brought in entirely to charity. A significant part of this went to the founding and subsequent support of a series of camps for sick children.

Although he was a movie star (whom my mother assures me was gorgeous), a race car driver, a flaming liberal, and a rich man possessed of an endless supply of charisma, Paul Newman remained married to fellow actor, Joanne Woodward throughout his life. And perhaps best of all, although he was born in the State of Ohio, he did not attend “the” Ohio State University.

Despite his impeccable credentials as a “Hollywood Liberal,” even the most basalt-hearted, mean-spirited, conservative naysayer would be hard put to find anything negative to report about this truly great American. May he rest in peace.