Saturday, September 27, 2008


The real "Old Blue Eyes", Paul Newman, has passed away in Connecticut at the age of 83 after battling cancer.

He's best known as a true movie star, one of the last of the legends who straddled the transition of Hollywood from the old stuido system, one of those who should get the full front page treatment of The Daily News. (That's my personal standard for what marks greatness when someone dies.)

Some of his best known pics were "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid", "The Sting", "Cool Hand Luke", "The Verdict", "Absence Of Malice", "The Towering Inferno", and the "H" movies - "Hud", "Hondo", "Harper". He finally won the Oscar for Best Actor with "The Color Of Money", a year after getting a lifetime achievement award.

He was also a race car driver and did a lot of good with his charity organizations, especially through the sale of his popcorn and salad dressings under the label "Newman's Own".

But Paul Newman also made his mark in Toobworld when he first started out, returning to it near the end of his career. He starred in two different productions of my favorite play, "Our Town" at both ends of the spectrum: in the fifties he played young George Gibbs, and then in the 21st Century, he appeared as the Stage Manager.

Here's a look back at his career on television:
Empire Falls (2005) (TV) .... Max Roby

Our Town (2003) (TV) .... Stage Manager

"Freedom: A History of Us"
- Democracy and Struggles (2003) TV episode .... Justice Earl Warren
- Safe for Democracy (2003) TV episode .... Woodrow Wilson

"Playhouse 90" .... Christian Darling
- The 80 Yard Run (1958)

"The Kaiser Aluminum Hour"
- The Rag Jungle (1956) .... Charlie Correlli
- The Army Game (1956) .... Danny Scott

"The United States Steel Hour"
- Bang the Drum Slowly (1956) .... Henry Wiggen
- The Five Fathers of Pepi (1956) .... Giorgio
- The Rise and Fall of Silas Lapham (1954) .... Tom Corey

"Playwrights '56" .... The Battler
- The Battler (1955)

"Producers' Showcase" .... George Gibbs
- Our Town (1955)

"The Philco Television Playhouse" .... Billy the Kid
- The Death of Billy the Kid (1955)

"Appointment with Adventure"
- Honeymoon in Spain (1955)
- Five in Judgment (1955) .... Mack

- Knife in the Dark (1954)

"Armstrong Circle Theatre"
- The Contender (1954)

"Goodyear Television Playhouse"
- Thunder of Silence (1954)
- Guilty Is the Stranger (1954)

"The Mask"
- The Party Night (1954)

"The Joe Palooka Story" .... Fight Spectator
- The Big Blow-Off (1954)

"The Web" .... Alex
- The Leech (1953)
- One for the Road (1953)
- The Bells of Damon (1953)
- Deadlock (1952)

"You Are There"
- The Fate of Nathan Hale (September 22, 1776) (1953) .... Nathan Hale
- The Death of Socrates (399 B.C.) (1953) .... Plato
- The Assassination of Julius Caesar (March 15, 44 B.C.) - Brutus

"The Aldrich Family" (1949) .... Occasional Cast Member (1952-53)

"Suspense" .... Capt. Radetski
- Woman in Love (1952)

"Tales of Tomorrow" .... Sergeant Wilson
- Ice from Space (1952)

I saw the "You Are There" episode at the Museum of Television and Radio (now the Paley Center for Media). The most interesting aspect of it was that it addressed a rumor that I never heard brought up before, not in my history books from school or in Shakespeare's play - that Brutus was the illegitimate son of Julius Caesar. (It also starred Robert Culp as Cassius and Milton Selzer as Caesar.)

There were news reports that Newman was ailing for a year now, at least. But even so, it's hard to believe that a man who seemed so alive in his movies, with clear blue eyes so blazingly bright, could have left us.

Rest in peace, Mr. Newman.....

Toby O'B

1 comment:

Mercurie said...

Newman was truly one of the greats. I was often surprised by his versatility...I mean he played both Butch Cassidy and Judge Roy Bean...