Paul Leonard Newman was born on January 26, 1925, just outside the great city of Cleveland, Ohio (Shaker Heights). He made his Broadway theater debut in 1953, starring in William Inge’s Picnic. Newman had continued success on stage while appearing in small television productions like Tales of Tomorrow and Appointment with Adventure, before making his silver screen debut in The Silver Chalice (1954), which was a box office flop. However, the actor found acclaim with his performance as boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me just two years later.
His star continued to rise when he appeared opposite Elizabeth Taylor in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (1958), and earned his first Academy Award nomination for his performance. That same year, he starred alongside his future wife, Joanne Woodward, in The Long, Hot Summer. The pair would go on to star in 10 films together, including Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!, (1958), From the Terrace (1960), Paris Blues (1961), A New Kind of Love (1963), Winning (1969), WUSA (1970), The Drowning Pool (1975), Harry & Son (1984), and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990).
From 1960 until his last film in 2006 (Cars), Newman would star in multiple classics, establish himself as one of the greatest actors of
all time, and receive a total of nine Oscar nominations for acting. A few of his most notable films include Exodus (1960), The Hustler (1961; his second Oscar nomination), Hud (1963; his third Oscar nomination), Harper (1966), Hombre (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967; his fourth Oscar nomination), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), The Sting (1973), The Towering Inferno (1974), Slap Shot (1977), Absence of Malice (his fifth Oscar nomination), The Verdict (1982; his sixth Oscar nomination), The Color of Money (1986; his seventh Oscar nomination and first win), Nobody’s Fool (1994; his eighth Oscar nomination), and Road to Perdition (2002; his ninth Oscar nomination).
Newman also found success behind the camera, directing five feature films – Rachel, Rachel (1968; which received a Best Picture nomination, brining Newman a nod for Producing); Sometimes a Great Nation (1970), The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972), Harry and Son (1984), and The Glass Menagerie (1987).
Outside of film, Newman was a humanitarian and philanthropist, creating Newman’s Own, a line of food products where all proceeds would be donated to charity. He also founded the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp – named after the gang Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid led – which is a camp for seriously ill children and is free of charge.
On September 26th, 2008, at the age of 83, Paul Newman died from lung cancer.
My Circuit 3 for Paul Newman:
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
- Cool Hand Luke (1967)
- The Sting (1973)
What are your three favorite/best Paul Newman films? You can view his entire filmography here.
Tags: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, circuit 3, Cool Hand Luke, Hud, Paul Newman, The Color of Money, The Hustler