Paul Newman, 1925-2008

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Paul Newman, 1925-2008

Sad news in the papers this morning. Paul Newman was that rare combination – a monumental movie icon, a brilliant character actor and – to the best of my knowledge – a thoroughly decent human being. This was, after all, a Hollywood A-Lister who remained happily married to the same woman for over 50 years. I always loved that line he used when a Playboy reporter asked him if he’d ever been tempted to stray. “Why go out for hamburger,” said Newman, “when you can have steak at home?”

Many of his films have become cinematic classics and many of his performances contain moments that have burned their way into several generations worth of collective imaginations. The egg-eating contest from Cool Hand Luke springs to mind, as does the beautiful, fatal freeze frame from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. My favourite Newman moment, though, comes from The Sting, which Philip French mentioned and, unless I’m mistaken, misquoted in this morning’s Observer. While sizing up an opponent, Redford’s Hooker turns to Newman’s Gondorff and says: “He’s not as tough as he thinks.”

Newman replies: “Neither are we.”


About the Author:

My name is Tom Lennon and I'm a freelance writer who specialises in humour at the geekier end of the pop culture spectrum. I'm based in Birmingham, UK, and my work has recently appeared in BuzzFeed and Time Out.

One Comment

  1. Rol September 29, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Let’s not forget The Towering Inferno!

    Oh, alright then.

    A sad loss.

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