For a man who exudes sex appeal, Paul Newman was remarkably appalled when his wife, Joanne Woodward says in an interview on Biography: "We weren't married when we made the Long, Hot Summer. That led to some interesting situations in hotel rooms, etc." "There was no need to mention THAT," Newman replies.
That's just one aspect of this interesting profile of Paul Newman, a man of infinite contradictions: a somewhat remote person who brings tremendous emotion to his work, a family man who looks like a rogue, a great humanitarian who doesn't give autographs or lower his sunglasses to show off his blue eyes, and one who enjoys race car driving; a huge movie star who takes his work very seriously and himself not seriously.
Newman is often compared or put up against Brando. The two entered films around the same time, both were antiheroes, both were method actors and students of the great Stella Adler. But Brando had an easier road to stardom than Newman and given roles that Newman would have loved an opportunity to play; instead, he was stuck with "The Silver Chalice." His first real chance came with the role of Rocky Graziano in "Somebody Up There Likes Me," a film intended for James Dean. In the long run, Newman was harder working and in this writer's opinion, more versatile, exhibiting an ability to do comedy as well as drama. There is also something much more Everyman about Newman - while I can't quite picture Brando as Hud, I can sure picture Newman as Terry in "On the Waterfront." This is in no way to downplay Brando's greatness or his magnificent screen portrayals. Each man should be allowed his special place in film.
This bio focuses on Newman's twisted road to stardom and his original intentions to teach at Kenyon University to support his family; meeting Joanne Woodward while they were both in Picnic on Broadway; their eventual marriage; Newman's evolution as a star, actor, and humanitarian. Old friends and coworkers such as Tom Bosley, Eva Marie Saint, and Angela Lansbury speak of him in glowing terms. He is seen in early television roles and also a screen test for "East of Eden" with James Dean. "Kiss me?" Dean asks, improvising. "Not here," Newman says with a grin. His life has been made up of family, hard work and challenges - he seems to excel at everything he does. Though he can exude a certain coldness, when children from one of his charities walked on stage at the Kennedy Center Tribute to honor him and Joanne, he was wiping away tears. An actor of tremendous emotional power, any biography of Paul Newman will leave you appreciating him even more.
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