The Color of Money was my favorite Paul Newman movie. Paul Newman was already an old man when he made it and one of the funny bits in the film is how he needs glasses before he can play great pool again.
I read somewhere that they wanted him to play one of the Old Men in Grumpy Old Men, but that he refused since he didn’t play ‘old.’ Even in the Road to Perdition he was only playing an older man, though he was clearly a much older man at the time. The last part I saw him play was as an old drunk in Empire Falls, where he finally got around to playing ‘old.’
Cary Grant famously stopped acting once he reached an age that he thought was too old. He wanted the world to always remember him as young and amazing. Doris Day also left her acting career behind while she was in her prime. Paul Newman kept acting, just never acted his age.
His name will live on with his vast line of Newman’s Own brands. We don’t have to watch movies, but we do have to eat. So we will keep seeing Paul Newman’s bright eyes and silly grin on bottles of salsa and boxes of popcorn. In an age where the modern movie star gives all their wealth to the local Rehab Center, Paul Newman’s generosity stands out even more. It is hard to imagine any of the current of crop of Hollywood superstars leaving much of a legacy at all.
Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid and The Sting were Paul Newman’s two great buddy movies with Robert Redford. These were great films and also among my favorite Paul Newman movies. Cool Hand Luke was wonderfully odd on countless levels. To be honest, I never saw Hud or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, or of I did it was so long ago they are totally forgotten.
Its always a bit sad when one of the Old Guard of Hollywood Legends dies, like the death of a relatives we only saw when they happen to be in town. Paul Newman was an old guy and old guys die. But few old guys got to live the kind of life that Paul Newman lived. Paul Newman was just a bit ahead of my time, I didn’t really fall for current movies until about 1980-so that everything before that mark I’ve seen on a small screen. So I never really saw any of Paul Newman’s great films in theaters-I don’t think I even saw his bad ones, like The Hudsucker Proxy or Road to Perdition in a theater.
If Paul Newman had made a few Sci Fi epics, I’m sure I would have seen those. I can picture Paul Newman circa 1982 standing in a Star Fleet Uniform as he watches The Enterprise go off to do battle with Khan. But of course, if Paul Newman wouldn’t play old, he certainly wouldn’t play silly.