Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Cool Hand Paul
News often reach me a bit late, because I'm often away from news - somewhere in Nigeria, or Zimbabwe or in Korea! And when I discover something that actually means something to me, I feel robbed, as if it happened while I wasn't around.
This happened to me when I found out that Paul Newman passed away. He was 84 and his second wife, Joan Woodward held his hand as he stepped over into eternity. She gave up her acting to let him pursue his acting career. She made a few movies but mainly raised the family.
The first movie I saw Paul in was 'Hombre'. He played the part of an Apache scout. Although he did not have many lines to deliver, his piercing blue eyes stare, captivated my attention. It made me feel that I too would like to act one day. Then I saw 'Somebody up there likes me' that told the Rocky Marciano story. Steve McQueen also had a small part in it. And then I tried to see as many of Paul's movies as I could: Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,The Sting, The Color of Money, Hustler, The Mackintosh Man and several others. His non-chalance way of actor's studio way of acting as the anti-hero really made me like the roles he played. But he liked motor racing most of all. It excited him. He played in a movie about a motor car racing ace, but I can't remember the name of it. All I remember is how he turned around and hit the guy that was messing with his wife. And I remember the way he slept, with his arm over his eyes.
I've read that he doesn't like to watch his own movies and that he shaves in the shower so as not to look into the mirror. His family says he was down to earth and likeable, just like the roles he played.
He had his share of troubles, lost his son through a drug overdose, but he managed to stay married for many years to the same lady. They lived away from the Hollywood glits and glamour.
With his salad dressing he made $200 million and gave it all away to charity!
Robert Redfort that starred with him in probably two of the best ever buddy movies (Butch and Sting)said,'I've lost a friend'. He died because of cancer. The doctors said that he could probably live longer if he used certain medicine, but Paul and his wife Joanne decided together to 'let it go'.
How short this life span is. It is a hand's width. Today you are here and tomorrow you are gone. Paul Newman was definitely one of the actors that inspired me to act and now he is gone. All that remains is a memory and the movies he had made.
It is an era that closed with him. The Steve McQueens and Paul Newmans are now off the center stage and new young actors step forward...but, alas, its only for a while.
Yet, if someone made you feel good, it was a life well lived. Paul always made feel good movies, mostly.
Somebody up there loves me, made you feel taller as you walked out of the cinema.
Cool Hand Luke made you realise you can have fun - even in prison!
Butch Cassidy gave you a sense of the joy of living - even in a Western!
The Sting almost convinced you to bet on horse races because him and Robert Redford had such fun in their wheeling and dealing!
Thanks Paul, God rest your soul, if a movie was ever made about your life I think it should be called Cool Hand Paul!