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Paul Newman (1925)

Paul Leonard Newman

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  Summary  

Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008) was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in the 1986 Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money and eight other nominations, three Golden Globe Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy award, and many honorary awards. He also won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing, and his race teams won several championships in open wheel IndyCar racing.

Newman was a co-founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity. As of July 2011, these donations exceeded $300 million.

  Biography  

 early life
Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio . He was the son of Theresa (née Fetzer or Fetsko; ) and Arthur Sigmund Newman, who ran a profitable sporting goods store. His father was Jewish (Paul's paternal grandparents, Simon Newman and Hannah Cohn, were immigrants from Hungary and Poland). His mother, who practiced Christian Science, was born to a Slovak Roman Catholic family at Humenné, Ptičie in the former Kingdom of Hungary, Austria–Hungary (now Humenné in Slovakia). Newman had no religion as an adult, but described himself as a Jew, stating that "it's more of a challenge". Newman's mother worked in his father's store, while raising Paul and his brother, Arthur, who later became a producer and production manager.

Newman showed an early interest in the theater, which his mother encouraged. At the age of seven, he made his acting debut, playing the court jester in a school production of Robin Hood. Graduating from Shaker Heights High School in 1943, he briefly attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he was initiated into the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.

 Military service

Newman served in the United States Navy in World War II in the Pacific theater. Newman enrolled in the Navy V-12 program at Ohio University, hoping to be accepted for pilot training, but was dropped when it was discovered he was color blind. He was sent instead to boot camp and then received further training as a radioman and gunner. Qualifying as a rear-seat radioman and gunner in torpedo bombers, in 1944, Aviation Radioman Third Class Newman was sent to Barber's Point, Hawaii. He was subsequently assigned to Pacific-based replacement torpedo squadrons (VT-98, VT-99, and VT-100). These torpedo squadrons were responsible primarily for training replacement pilots and combat air crewmen, placing particular importance on carrier landings.

He later flew from aircraft carriers as a turret gunner in an Avenger torpedo bomber. As a radioman-gunner, he served aboard the USS Bunker Hill during the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. He was ordered to the ship with a draft of replacements shortly before the Okinawa campaign, but his life was spared because he was held back after his pilot developed an ear infection. The men who remained in his detail were killed in action.

After the war, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Speech at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio in 1949. Newman later attended the Yale School of Drama for one year before moving to New York City to study under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.

Oscar Levant wrote that Newman initially was hesitant to leave New York for Hollywood: "Too close to the cake," he reported him saying, "Also, no place to study."

 career
 Early work and mainstream success
Newman arrived in New York City in 1951 with his first wife Jackie Witte, taking up residence in the St. George section of Staten Island. He made his Broadway theater debut in the original production of William Inge's Picnic with Kim Stanley in 1953 and appeared in the original Broadway production of The Desperate Hours in 1955. In 1959, he was in the original Broadway production of Sweet Bird of Youth with Geraldine Page and three years later starred with Page in the film version.

During this time Newman started acting in television. He had his first credited TV or film appearance with a small but notable part in a 1952 episode of the science fiction TV series Tales of Tomorrow entitled "Ice from Space". In the mid-1950s, he appeared twice on CBS's Appointment with Adventure anthology series.

In February 1954, Newman appeared in a screen test with James Dean, directed by Gjon Mili, for East of Eden . Newman was testing for the role of Aron Trask, Dean for the role of Aron's fraternal twin brother Cal. Dean won his part, but Newman lost out to Richard Davalos. In the same year, Newman co-starred with Eva Marie Saint and Frank Sinatra in a live —and color —television broadcast of Our Town, a musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder's stage play. Newman was a last-minute replacement for James Dean. In 2003, Newman acted in a remake of Our Town, this time in the role of the stage manager.

His first movie for Hollywood was The Silver Chalice . The film was a box office failure and the actor would later acknowledge his disdain for it. In 1956, Newman garnered much attention and acclaim with Somebody Up There Likes Me as boxer Rocky Graziano. By 1958, he was one of the hottest new stars in Hollywood. Later that year, he starred in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof , opposite Elizabeth Taylor. The film was a box office smash and Newman garnered his first Academy Award nomination. Also in 1958, Newman starred in The Long, Hot Summer with Joanne Woodward, whom he met on the set. He won best actor at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival for this film.

 Major films
Newman was one of the few actors who successfully made the transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s. His rebellious persona translated well to a subsequent generation. Newman starred in Exodus , The Hustler , Hud , Harper , Hombre , Cool Hand Luke , The Towering Inferno , Slap Shot , and The Verdict . He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford and director George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting .

He appeared with his wife, Joanne Woodward, in the feature films The Long, Hot Summer , Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!, , From the Terrace , Paris Blues , A New Kind of Love , Winning , WUSA , The Drowning Pool , Harry & Son , and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge . They both also starred in the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, but did not have any scenes together.

In addition to starring in and directing Harry & Son, Newman also directed four feature films starring Woodward. They were Rachel, Rachel , based on Margaret Laurence's A Jest of God, the screen version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds , the television screen version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Shadow Box , and a screen version of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie .

Twenty-five years after The Hustler, Newman reprised his role of "Fast" Eddie Felson in the Martin Scorsese-directed The Color of Money , for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He told a television interviewer that winning an Oscar at the age of 62 deprived him of his fantasy of formally being presented with it in extreme old age.

 Last works
In 2003, he appeared in a Broadway revival of Wilder's Our Town, receiving his first Tony Award nomination for his performance. PBS and the cable network Showtime aired a taping of the production, and Newman was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie.

His last screen appearance was as a conflicted mob boss in the 2002 film Road to Perdition opposite Tom Hanks, although he continued to provide voice work for films.

In 2005 at age 80, Newman was profiled alongside Robert Redford as part of the Sundance Channel's TV series Iconoclasts.

In 2006, in keeping with his strong interest in car racing, he provided the voice of Doc Hudson, a retired anthropomorphic race car in Disney/Pixar's Cars - this was his final performance for a major feature film.

Similarly, he served as narrator for the 2007 film Dale, about the life of the legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, which turned out to be Newman's final film performance in any form. Newman also provided the narration for the film documentary The Meerkats, which was released in 2008.

 Retirement from acting
Newman announced that he would entirely retire from acting on May 25, 2007. He stated that he did not feel he could continue acting at the level he wanted to. "You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that's pretty much a closed book for me."

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Paul Newman", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.