It's a pretty candid biography. Newman grows from a good-looking, aimless kid, into a popular and professional icon, then ages and hangs on to those things he can still do without making a fool of himself.
The episode, like almost all episodes in this series, comes perilously close to the tabloid in its narration. ("Little did they know tragedy lay just around the corner.") Yet, if Newman hits a clunker, the narration is honest about it. And it applauds Newman for his genuine hits and for his charities. All of the profits from the "Newman's Own" brand go to treatment centers and recreation areas for seriously ill children here and abroad, and the profits are generous.
It's too bad the writers didn't describe Newman's original inspiration for selling his homemade salad dressing. As recounted by his friend, the writer Aaron Hotchner, Newman concocted a huge pot of it and was ready to bottle it and take it around to local stores. Hotchner informed him that the Food and Drug Administration and the Board of Health might have something to say about it. Newman was stunned and indignant.
Newman is gone, now, of course, but the films that "Biography" identifies as among his more outstanding are choices that I agree with. It's hard to imagine anyone but Newman being so effective in "The Hustler", "Cool Hand Luke", and "The Verdict." They're among the best performances ever put on the screen.
He may have been born with good looks but he instrumentalized them and used them to extraordinarily constructive ends. The guy lived a full life.
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